January 2021 is upon us, the weather can be described as grey (at best) and everywhere is still closed in Lockdown 3. I know it’s having a rotten effect on our clients and their families. Lack of stimulation and interaction (as well as a break from each other) is making dementia symptoms worse as well as causing depression, anxiety and frustration in the carers.
So, as well as listening to music in various forms, (as researched in my previous blog) there are some other simple things you can do to stave off the boredom.
Art and Mindfulness in Dementia
- Painting or colouring. Mindfulness Colouring has been around for a while now…..with intricate mandalas taking our minds off what’s going on in the big wide World for hours. However, I thought if I introduced this to any of our clients I’d be setting them up to fail. That was until I found this book….
It contains over 40 images of botanical paintings next to clear line drawings of the same image. I have found with different clients that some are able to replicate the detail, while others can get pleasure from the mere process of putting colour onto paper. Obviously it’s not for everyone, but worth a try perhaps. It is also something you can do side by side with both of you getting a real sense of achievement as well as, possibly, a bit of Mindfulness going on. Don’t expect your loved one/ patient/ service user to paint for long initially, but once they have done it a few times you will find they should be able to focus for longer.
Audio and Dementia
2. Audio books or radio shows. I have recently rediscovered my eclectic collection of CDs. Instead of putting the radio on or using the wonderful websites mentioned in Part 1, we have started listening to our favourite old shows. One of my clients used to be a Nursery Nurse and so I was ecstatic when I unearthed my Joyce Grenfall CD! We listen to it over breakfast and into the morning and we have both learned when the iconic “George…..Don’t do that” phrase drops into the monologue. Sometimes we get a smile, sometimes we get a laugh and sometimes we even join in!
Another favourite is Yes Minister! There must be something about the rhythm of the screen play but listening to past episodes makes us relax and feel all fuzzy about the good old days of 70’s and 80’s comedy.
Puzzles and Dementia
3. Simple puzzles. Now don’t throw your hands in the air in despair thinking ‘she doesn’t know what she’s talking about’…..bear with me. Puzzles don’t need to be the 1000 piece picture of sky (always so much sky!) and Cotswold villages. A company called Relish (used to be Active Minds) makes age appropriate 13 piece puzzles and all sorts of activities to use to reminisce, engage and occupy people with dementia and their carers. They are not cheap though so it doesn’t hurt to spend a bit of time making your own!
This is the time you can take up any offers of help that you haven’t known what to do with! Grandchildren, friends…… even neighbours could print pictures of themselves, stick them on cardboard and cut into an appropriate number of pieces maybe? What about a matching card game with photos of familiar items or people? Again, get the Grandchildren involved with creating an ‘odd one out’ picture or game.
Hopefully that has got you thinking about a few new things to keep you and yours occupied while indoors. Part 3 is coming next, and have another look at Part 1 while you’re here.