At the early stage you can often share in whatever fun activities the person enjoyed before developing Alzheimer’s. Some games may need to be adjusted, however, to accommodate your loved one’s diminishing mental capacity. For example, you may need to play a child’s card game instead of bridge; checkers instead of chess. Or, if the person previously enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, you may need to find ones with fewer and larger pieces.
At the mid stage of the disease, people with Alzheimer’s may have more or less the mental and social skills of a toddler. While it’s excellent to do the standbys – things like looking at old pictures or watching movies together, those are somewhat passive.
With a little thought you can find more active ways to spend time together, such as giving your loved one toys or other “props” that the two of you play with together. The key words here are “play” and “together.” If you find some item the person really likes, you can use your imagination to invent simple games to play together with it.
Some people with Alzheimer’s cannot be reached by any means, but try experimenting with the ideas mentioned here. You may be amazed to find your loved one can suddenly function at a higher level and become happier when involved in these types of activities. And that can bring joy to both of you.
Note: You can find puzzles designed especially for Alzheimer’s patients at Puzzles to Remember. They come in various sizes and number of pieces to accommodate the skills of early or middle stage patient. Other sources for entertainment can be found at Best Alzheimer’s Products, an online store that features games for those with Alzheimer’s.