More ideas of what to bring when visiting a loved one with dementia
In Part I of this article, I gave ideas of “Things to Bring” when paying a visit to someone with dementia. One of the suggestions was a photo album or photos that are large enough for a senior resident to see. The photos should be labeled with the names of the people in them, their ages (if they are children) and some context about the occasion at which the picture was taken.
Part II of the article will offer suggestions for more “Things to Bring.”
Bring activities that are calming. You’d be amazed at the activities that can have a calming effect. Here are some ideas recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association that you can do with your loved one:
- Clip coupons
- String beads
- Color pictures
- Count trading cards
- Sort objects by shape and color
- Fold laundry
- Bake cookies
- Rake leaves
- Toss a beach ball to one another
- Plant seeds inside or out
- Make a family tree poster
- Blow bubbles
- Bring a stuffed animal.
“Several studies have shown that interactions with a stuffed animal increase happiness and provide a calming effect,” says Frances Dickson, who along with her sister Bettina Dickson Rusher, created Memorable Pets, while caring for their mother who had Alzheimer’s. The animals are based on the most popular cat and dog breeds. Dickson adds that Memorable Pets are, “…a great way to allow patients, who often have to rely on everyone else for care, to be able to care for something themselves.
Whatever you decide to bring, says Susan L. Garbett, author of “Susie and Me Days,” “Remember that you are the architect of this visit. Bring props or anything that you can use as ‘starter’ topics for conversation or to engage them. Be creative, but realize with all your good intentions and planning, the person may not be interested in anything that you brought or do on that particular day. Take your cues from them and try not to get discouraged.”