10 Fun Activities for Moms with Alzheimer’s

Elder Depot's List of Activities for Mother's Day for those with AlzheimersMother’s Day is about honoring and celebrating mothers.  When you have an elderly mother or grandmother with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, Mother’s Day shouldn’t just be about purchasing and dropping off a gift; but rather creating lasting memories that you can remember and cherish with your mother.  Elder Depot wanted to share our list of simple, easy things that you can do to bring some happiness to your mother’s life on this special day and create a wonderful memory.  The good news is that most of these suggestions are free and only require sharing a little of your time!

Activities can vary depending on the stage of Alzheimer’s, so we tried to create a variety of common and simple things that you can both enjoy.  The most important thing to remember is that you will one day cherish and be thankful for all of the moments that you spent with your mother – taking the time to show you cared.

10 Things To Do on Mother’s Day

  1. Have lunch or dinner together.
    If mom is in a nursing or assisted living home and unable to leave, cook up a quick meal or pick up a pre-made meal and sit with her while eating so you can enjoy the moment together
  2. Celebrate as if it were her birthday.
    Put a single candle in a cupcake or piece of cake and sing her “Happy Mother’s Day”
  3. Take a walk or sit outside together.
    If the weather permits, bring your mom outside for a walk or just some fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D) and bring up some old memories! If mom is in a facility and physically able, ask to borrow a wheelchair or transport chair to wheel her outside for a short time.
  4. Have an old fashioned beauty day.
    How about a nice pedicure! Paint mom’s nails or put some curls in her hair and show her how good she looks in the mirror!
  5. Look over some old photos.
    Conjure up some memories of familiar faces or times by showing an old photo album or memorable photos. Maybe even do a little Scrapbooking.
  6. Sing some old church hymns or familiar songs.
    If your singing skills are not up to the task, listen to some old familiar tunes together. Encourage mom to sing along and you might get a surprising response!
  7. Put together a simple puzzle.
    Puzzles with larger pieces are easier to see and handle and those with brighter colors may draw more interest.
  8. Bring the family dog for a visit.
    If your family dog is friendly and calm enough for mom to be comfortable around, bring the dog over for some one-on-one contact. If mom is in a facility that will not allow pets, see if you can take the dog to her in the lobby or bring your mom outside to spend some time with the dog – animals can be very therapeutic!
  9. Watch an old movie together.
    Pop in an old favorite movie, like the Sound of Music!
  10. Enjoy some gardening.
    If your mom used to enjoy gardening, let her sit outside with you and watch you do some of the gardening. If she is in a facility or this is not possible, bring in some flowers from your garden and cut the stems and organize the vase with your mom and she’ll have a beautiful home-made bouquet.

We hope this list provides you with some useful suggestions to make your Mother’s Day special. The most important thing to remember is to spend some quality time with your mother on Mother’s Day. Its not about the best gifts, but about the memories you will have for years to come.

From all of us at Elder Depot, we wish you and your family a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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The Power of a Valentine

Research conducted over the course of two decades by the Swedish Karolinska Institute found that married aging adults were half as likely to develop dementia as their single counterparts. The scientists behind the research believe that the intense social interaction of living with another person may be the reason behind this resistance. The research was based on a study of almost 1,500 people over the course of 21 years.

Crossword Puzzles still a good mental workout.

On December 21st, 1913 the New York World published Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first Crossword puzzle. 97 years later, the Crossword has become an established part of many people’s mental workout and is one of the most popular kinds of puzzle in the world.

More and more research is showing what many Seniors have known for years, that challenging mental activities like the daily Crossword can help slow cognitive decline due to the aging and “may” even improve the brain function of dementia sufferers.

“Crossword puzzles are a perfect way to stay mentally fit. They come in every ability level and are fun, engaging and intellectually stimulating.” ~Stanley Newman

Free Monthly Large Print Crossword for Download or Printing

Free Daily Online Crossword Puzzle from Plus50LifeStyles

The Long List of Dementia Prevention “Mays”

It seems like I’m always reading an article about a new study proclaiming that something “may” help prevent dementia. It’s hard to know how to take this news? Is this the slow march of science finally nearing useful results? Do the studies offer only false hope, placebos at best? I don’t have an answer but I thought I’d compile a list of all the dementia preventing “mays” that I’ve come across.

  • Coffee – In a 21 year long study, Swedish and Danish researchers found that subjects who drank three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 percent less likely to develop dementia, compared with those who drank two cups or less.
  • Tea – According to a study by the University of Singapore, individuals who drink two to three cups of black tea daily are half as likely to show early signs of dementia as those who rarely drink it.
  • Vitamin D – Researchers in the United Kingdom found that the risk of cognitive impairment was 42 percent higher in individuals who were deficient in vitamin D, and 394 percent higher in those with severe vitamin D deficiency.
  • Curry – Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles believe that turmeric may play a role in slowing down the progression of the neurodegenerative disease.
  • Newspapers – The Mayo Clinic has conducted research indicating that reading magazines and newspapers can help protect against failing memory in old age.
  • Significant Other – Swedish research found that marriage or having a partner halved the risk of developing dementia.
  • Sleeping Habits – Prolonged sleep duration may be associated with an increased risk of dementia.
  • Discipline – Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago may have discovered a connection between leading a conscientious life and reduced risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Juice – US researchers found the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was 76% lower for those who drank juice more than three times a week, compared with those who drank it less than once a week.
  • Marijuana – Researchers at Madrid’s Complutense University and the Cajal Institute showed that a synthetic version of the active ingredient in Marijuana may reduce inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s and thus help to prevent mental decline.
  • Statins – Scientists have found further evidence that taking commonly used cholesterol-lowering statins may protect against dementia and memory loss.
  • Slimming Down – A US study of more than 700 adults showed that being overweight is associated with smaller brain volume, a factor linked with dementia.
  • Hormone Replacement Treatment – A study by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London found that Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may protect post-menopausal women against memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Low Blood Pressure – Finnish Scientists have found that individuals with high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels have a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age.
  • Avoiding Soy – A Loughborough University study has found that consuming high levels of some soy products, including tofu, may increase the risk of memory loss.
  • Vitamin E – Japanese Scientists found that a daily vitamin E supplement protects the brain of mice preventing the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Nicotine – Researchers from the Scripps Research Institute in California, US believe that Nicotine may reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.
  • Big Head – An American Scientist has claimed that individuals with small heads have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids – UCLA researchers believe that Omega-3 Fatty Acids, such as those found in fish oils, may delay or prevent Alzheimer’s.
  • Alcohol – According to a study by the University of Bari in Italy, individuals who drink alcohol moderately develop dementia at a slower rate than those who drink little. The study also indicated that individuals who drink excessively develop dementia more quickly than moderate drinkers or teetotalers.
  • Video Games – Studies of patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia or attention deficit disorder have found that those who play games have better speech and brain function.
  • Exercise – A Massachusetts-based study found that people who performed moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had a 40 per cent lower risk of developing dementia.
  • Walnuts – A study by the New York State Institute has found that mice who eat walnuts regularly were less likely to develop dementia.
  • Sense of Fulfillment – In a study conducted by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, researchers found that participants with high scores on the life purpose test were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared with those who had the lowest scores. (Added July 13th)

All of that shared, keep in mind that there is no conclusive evidence that lifestyle changes will prevent dementia. If I missed a “may” please post it in the comments and I’ll add it to the list.

What do you think of all these “mays”? Are they all part of a larger tread? Do only a few of them have merit? Are all of them a waste of time and effort? Let us know what you think, you might help another reader make up their own mind.

Elegy for Rose

She is a metal forged by love

too volatile, too fiery thin

so that her substance will be lost

as sudden lightning or as wind.

And yet the ghost of her remains

reflected with the metal gone,

a shadow as of shifting leaves

at moonrise or at early dawn.

A kind of rapture never quite

possessed again, however long

the heart lays siege upon a ghost

recaptured in a web of song.

~Tennessee Williams

Originally written by the author of A Streetcar Named Desire for his institutionalized sister, I feel that these poignant words have strong resonance for those of us who have family members afflicted by dementia. It captures the heartbreak of a loved one so close and yet so far.