My lovely MIL has dementia. In the past, she and her husband would live with us during the summers and spend the winters in Florida. They were snowbirds for years and years. Now however it’s getting harder for them to stay in Florida without anyone helping out so this will be their first winter with us here in Pennsylvania. While my MIL does really well here in the north during the summer, at the first sign of cold she will be bundled in her bedroom where she can keep the heat as high as she wants. Or she will want to go to Florida and since that isn’t going to happen I’ve come up with a list of activities we can do here during the long, cold winter.
Most of the activities I’ve chosen are things we can do in the house as I don’t think she will want to leave when it gets really cold. Even in the summer she walks around talking about how cold it is and asks if we are cold too? While sometimes I want to say, “no, it’s 80 degrees out so I’m not cold”, I always suggest she put on some warmer clothes until it warms up outside. So you can see why I’m preparing some activities and praying we have a mild winter!
Board Games, Cards Games & More.
|My step daughter recently bought my MIL a dice game called Tenzi. It’s a simple concept. Everyone gets 10 dice and you each keep rolling until someone gets all of the same number on each of the 10 dice. My MIL loves to play games and while we have to help her along, it is still a pretty easy game that she enjoys as well as my son. It’s a quick game so those with short attention spans will enjoy this one and you really only need two people to play.|
|Tripoley is an old game my DH found on eBay but I see it’s on Amazon too. I believe it’s a combination of Hearts, Poker and Michigan Rummy. He remembers his mother and her friends playing it when they were young. The object is to collect the most pennies or chips. It’s a fun game that the whole family can play. It’s one of those games that is more fun with a lot of people playing so I would suggest at least three or four people play.|
|Sorry! is a board game that we play often. It’s not that hard to grasp and if I can get Max off his iPad, he likes to play it too. Most people have or have played this game and it’s a bit like the old Parcheesi board game.|
|Uno is a card game that is also well known. It’s pretty simple and quick. Again we have to help my MIL along on this one but sometimes you can just ask her if she has a certain color or number and she plays it. Card games are also nice because you can take the deck and play anywhere.|
Word Games, Puzzles and Wii
My MIL used to love to do the cryptograms in the paper every morning so one day my DH found these puzzles online and printed one out for her. This is definitely one activity where we have to work with her but once you get her started she can sometimes figure them out on her own. Sometimes. She enjoys them and I think it gives her a sense of accomplishment.
Word Searches. I found this recommendation online and have not tried it yet. I think my MIL might be able to do these on her own but I’m not certain. I will be sure to get the jumbo, large print version when I try this.
Puzzles. My MIL has always liked puzzles. If we do them together we can do a harder puzzle….maybe a 48 piece size. I’m not sure if she could do it on her own but the whole idea is to do these activities together so I think the 48 pieces would be more interesting. Since you can get children’s puzzles at the Dollar Store you won’t have to spend much money and can get a few different ones. I have a few from when Max was little so we use those. (I will have an upcoming post about a special puzzle you can make so stay tuned for that.)
WII Bowling: We play WII bowling often. As a family we have a preference for playing Wii Sports Resort because they have a fun 100-pin bowling game. However there are many bowling games for Wii. My MIL is very good at this game. My DH teases his mom and says he’s going to make money with her at the local senior center where they play Wii bowling. She sometimes forgets how to use the remote but if you keep repeating the instructions to her she can do it and she often wins. While we play this all year round, I think that this might be a good activity for winter so she gets a bit of exercise. I’m sure there are many other Wii games out there appropriate for seniors too. I’ll be researching and reviewing those for a future post.
I have more ideas of activities for you and your loved one with dementia. Please stop back for Part 2 and drop a comment or email if you have a suggestion for me! Take care.