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Sheltering in place? Here’s 38 ways to spend time with a person living with Alzheimer's

Sheltering in place? Here’s 38 ways to spend time with a person living with Alzheimer's
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March 25, 2020
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The coronavirus (COVID-19) is requiring many adjustments in people’s lifestyles. For the 256,000 Coloradans providing care for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, the need to observe appropriate social distancing means that many of the day-to-day activities they might participate in with their loved ones – the 76,000 Coloradans living with the disease – must be adapted for the time being.

Until conditions allow for more travel outside the home, the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado offers 38 meaningful and fun ways to spend time with a family member or friend in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s. The first tip: take your cue from the person.
  • What do they like to do?
  • What are they able to do?
  • What are they in the mood for today?
It doesn’t matter if the activity needs to be done or if it is done well. If it doesn’t work, you can always try something else. Be patient and you will figure out what works. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Do something inside
  • Listen to the person’s favorite music
  • Look at family photo albums
  • Prepare afternoon tea
  • Model with play dough
  • Play checkers or dominos
  • Name the presidents
  • Look at photos in a photography book or magazine
  • Identify states on a U.S. map
  • Complete a puzzle together
  • Read from one of their favorite books
  • Watch a favorite movie or sitcom
  • Ask the person about his or her childhood, siblings, school, pets or first car
  • Read the newspaper together or read it to them
  • Play a card game
Do something outside
  • Take a walk
  • Plant flowers
  • Water plants
  • Feed the birds
  • Rake leaves
  • Go to the park
  • Sit on a bench or a swing
  • Watch dogs at a dog park
  • Play catch or toss a ball
  • Play horseshoes
  • Sweep the porch or patio
  • Set up a picnic on the lawn or in the backyard
  • Sit on the porch and drink coffee, hot chocolate or lemonade
Do something personal
  • Give the person a hand massage with lotion
  • Brush his or her hair
  • Give the person a manicure
  • Take photos of the person and make a collage
  • Encourage the person to talk more about subjects they enjoy
  • Make a family tree posterboard
  • Do something in the kitchen
  • Bake cookies or bread
  • Set the table
  • Make the person's favorite lunch or snack
  • Wash and dry dishes
  • Put silverware away

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit www.alz.org.

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