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Entertaining People With Early- to Late-Stage Alzheimer’s

At the early stage of Alzheimer’s you can often entertain patients by engaging them in whatever fun activities they 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 (see below for a source of these). 

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.”

Some people with Alzheimer’s cannot be reached by any means, but try experimenting with the ideas mentioned here.

Note: You can find puzzles designed especially for Alzheimer’s patients at Max Wallack’s website, www.Puzzles to Remember. They come in various sizes and number of pieces to accommodate the skills of early or middle stage patient and they have scenes that are appealing to people with Alzheimer’s.


Do any of you have any other methods for entertaining people with early- to mid-stage Alzheimer’s?

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3 Responses to “Entertaining People With Early- to Late-Stage Alzheimer’s”

  1. Cheryl from Kansas City says:

    Where my dad lives they have a ping pong game you can set up on a rectangular dinner table. (It is a group home so they have a fairly large rectangular dinner table). It might also work to put two square tables together.

    They also have a golf game where they can practice putting a golf ball to a particular target.

    Sometimes they have a beach ball they toss around. They also have some flexible foam sticks (like 2 ft long) they use to hit balloons back and forth.

    They have a bowling game they can set up in the dining area.

    They regularly do dancing and singing together.

    They have a lady who regularly brings a certified therapy dog. The residents love that dog.

    My dad is mid-level now and I would appreciate any ideas for things he can do. He was a businessman all his life and enjoyed carving wood figurines but that started to hurt his hands too much. He was a carpenter in the Army and liked when he had something to make with wood and tools, but now tools like a hammer are difficult (and somewhat dangerous) for him to handle. I suggested to the caregivers if they something simple that they are fixing they invite him to “help” but I don’t know if that is very practical.


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  2. Puck from Ontario says:

    I find that taking him for a ride in the country to look at the scenery is enjoyable. However, the minute we are home he’s forgotten where he went or even that he went out at all…..

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  3. Jewell from Kansas says:

    Yes, they do forget – however, if you take pictures and show them often, sometimes it brings back a memory. Also, even though they forget, YOU know you created a happy time for your loved one and that is the purpose of your visit and excursion. Doesn’t it make YOU feel great to see him happy even if for a short period of time?

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