More Tips for Families Visiting Dementia Residents

Posted by Dr. El - May 5, 2010 - Dementia, Tips for gifts, visits - 4 Comments

In Finding Activities for Parents with Memory Loss, Dr. Cynthia Green (a psychologist!) and her readers provide excellent ideas to improve the quality of visits to nursing home residents with dementia. It’s worthwhile to read the post and comments on the New York Times’ New Old Age blog, but here’s a summary that’s a welcome addition to my June 2009 post, Tips for Families Visiting Dementia Residents.
Dr. Green suggests simplifying previously enjoyed activities to the point where they’re manageable, but not childish. Using a calm approach in a quiet setting, and shifting activities if your relative becomes frustrated will lead to better results. New Old Age readers added the following suggestions:


  • Doing jigsaw and crossword puzzles for puzzle enthusiasts, especially personalized ones such as a crossword about favorite subjects or events, or a jigsaw made from a family photo



  • Sorting through Grandmother’s button collection, letting her describe each button and the memories it triggers



  • Winding or sorting skeins of yarn for knitters and crocheters



  • Being in calm and silent companionship rather than finding the need to fill the space



  • Reviewing and discussing garden catalogs for former gardeners



  • Reading Erma Bombeck columns



  • Positive reminiscing, steering clear of painful memories and otherwise going with the flow



    • Singing the first line of a well-known song and lettting the resident come up with the next line (New York, New York, a helluva town)