Posts Tagged activities for men with dementia

Go to a Baseball Game

375px-Tigers_opening_day2_2007

The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer. That can mean only one thing-baseball season is really heating up! So why not take the person with dementia to a baseball game! Any fan knows that watching a game in person is even more fun that watching it on TV, and even non-fans might catch the excitement in the stadium. If they done, well, then they can always enjoy the food, the people watching, or if you’re lucky enough to be in a newer stadium like our Detroit Tigers, the other things to do like the carousel or the fireworks! A baseball game is a great options for people with memory loss in the later stages because unlike a movie or a concert, no one cares if you talk, get up and move around, or even if you fall asleep! If the person with memory loss is unsteady on his/her feet, be sure to get handicapped seating so you don’t have to climb the stair in the bleachers, which often don’t have railings. Many stadiums also have benches rather than seats with backs, so you might want to check on that before you order tickets. You might also want to consider bringing a seat cushion as those hard seats can be uncomfortable to sit on, and the person with memory loss may not be able to ignore or work through feelings of discomfort as well as someone with normal cognition.

All those caveats aside, attending a baseball game really is a fun way to spend and afternoon! Just ask this lucky lady who caught a home run ball!

Last but not least, going to a baseball game is a great way to start reminiscing. You can ask about games they may have attending in the past, old favorite players, if they played baseball as a kid or if they coached their child’s team, etc.

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Box with Bozo

Bozo

Bozo, the world’s most famous clown, first appeared in 1946 in the first-ever read-along book, Bozo at the Circus. Bozo and his wide red hair was franchised as a local TV show in the 1950’s and 1960’s and had many popular toys. Hopefully, this popularity translates into some remaining long-term memory of the clown in the person’s with memory loss’s memory, though it’s certainly not necessary to have fun with this inflatable boxing set. This activity is nice for those who might have some extra energy to get out, who might be feeling a little agitated or upset and need a safe outlet to expel some of it, or even just for those who are no-verbal and appreciate an activity where no talking is required! Be sure to ensure the surrounding area is relatively clear so avoid breaking anything or injuring the boxer. You can punch without the inflatable “gloves” but they do offer a nice extra cushion for someone who might get overzealous or has sore hands from arthritis or other conditions.

Don’t forget to ask questions that might spur on reminiscing, such as if they remember the Bozo Show from TV, other memories involving clowns, if they ever boxed in the service or even if they got into any fights at school!

You can buy the Bozo inflatable punching bag here and Bozo’s inflatable boxing gloves here.

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Play Super Slam Basketball

super slam

Another fun game for the man with dementia in your life (or the lady, if she’s into sports or just has a competitive spirit) is Super Slam Basketball. In this tabletop game players use a spring loaded flipper to launch balls into the net. The electronic scoring device and timer keeps track of your points and counts down your time- nothing for the person with memory loss to have to remember except to shoot! Of course, it’s fun to challenge a fun, but it’s also fun to play by yourself! Again, the simple objective-score points-and ease of playing-just hitting the flipper-are both perfect for a person with memory loss who may be easily frustrated or overwhelmed by more complex tasks. You can buy this or similar games at toy stores or online.

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Play Knok Hockey

Nok Hockey

Knock or “Nok” Hockey is a fun table top hockey that is similar to air hockey, but doesn’t require a trip to the arcade! The rules are fairly simple, and can be found at the official website of Knock Hockey at knockhockey.com. Simply put, however, the goal is to score more points that your opponent. You get and your opponent take turns hitting the puck (unlike in air hockey which is more of a free for all) and the first person to a certain number of goals, wins! This game is great because of its simple objective-few rules to remember makes it easier for the person with memory loss. It’s even fun to practice your skills without an opponent, so it’s something the person with memory loss may be able to do on their own after a few demonstrations provided by you. Of course, those in the later stages will need someone to help keep them focuses and maybe even to help guide their hand, but that doesn’t’ mean that they won’t enjoy playing. Obviously, this is also a great activity for men and/or hockey fans!

For those of you who are feeling very adventurous and/or just like to build things, you can make your own Knok Hockey table! Visit this website for instructions! Otherwise, you can buy a table online or in some large-box stores or toy stores.

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Make Paper Airplanes

paper airplane

Paper airplanes are a fun activity for the young and young at heart, aviation buffs, or crafters. In short, they have potential to appeal to just about everyone! Those in the early stage might like teaching the grandkids different ways to fold them (are being taught by the grandkids). You can reference www.amazingpaperairplanes.com for different patterns. I chose this website because they give examples in pictures and in short video clips, which I think is nice. Those with more moderate dementia may need more hands-on help making the airplanes, but everyone can enjoy making them fly. Once you have a few made, try having distance races or aim for a target like a trash can or a bull’s eye on the wall.

Be sure to ask questions to encourage reminiscence such as asking about when they made paper airplanes in the past, past airplane rides they took, etc.

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Use an Indoor Putting Set

putting green for real
To purchase, click here.

Spring is coming, so it’s time for all the golfers out there to brush off their putting skills in preparation for the first game of the season. Of course, practicing your putting is fun even if you don’t intend to go out and place 9 or 18 holes. There are a lot of options for in-home putting greens. Some, like the one above, have regulation sized holes, while others have a bit larger of a target, like the option below.

jeff2
To purchase, click here.

Both of these include automatic ball returns, which is nice if bending over is painful or your balance isn’t so great. Watch this video to see how it works. Of course, if you want a bit more exercise you can get the non-technologic option and walk to retrieve your ball from the hole after each shot.

Those with more moderate dementia might be less frustrated with a larger target, while those with milder memory issues (or maybe just better golfing skills!) may prefer the challenge of the regulation sized hole with hazards.

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Break Some Geodes

geode

Geodes are stones that have a cavity that is lined with crystals or minerals. They are fun to look at, but even more fun to break open! Kits such as the one below can be bought either at major box stores, such as Target or Walmart in the kids or craft aisle, or online on sites such as amazon. These kits are great for men with moderate dementia who may have always enjoyed working with tools but no longer can fix things. This kit allows them to swing a hammer again, as well as enjoy the beautiful results.

geode kit

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Play Darts

dart board

Playing darts is a nice way to tap into old memories for some or a simple motion for those who are unfamiliar with the game to learn. Of course, playing with someone with demenita might mean not keeping score, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be fun! A former dart player might hvae stories to reminisce about, such as where they played, a memorable bulls eye, or even a memorable miss! The person with memory loss might like to play alone just for “practice” or of course a competition can be set up between multiple players. You may want to consider using a darts that don’t have sharp tips, such as the magnetic option above, or the velcro or spiked versions, below.

velcro darts

darts

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Build a Model Ship

Building model ships is a fun hobby for the young and the young at heart, sailing enthusiasts, woodworking enthusiasts, history buffs, military buffs, and many others.  It’s also a great intergenerational activity. 

The options range from simple

Easy Sailboat

to quite complex

Difficult Sailboat

so be sure to match the person’s skill level, dexterity, and patience!

There are also non-sailboat options for those who may have other boating interests or experiences, such as motor boats

motor boat

or even Noah’s ark!

ark

For those in the early stages of the disease, all you may need to do is buy the kit and stand back.  For new builders or those in the later stages of the disease, more hands-on help may be needed.  Even if the individual doesn’t do much building, they can also help paint/apply the decals.  Or, it may be a jumping off point to reminisce about past military service, building models in childhood, or other boating-related experiences.

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Play Indoor Basketball

Photo courtesy from toysrus.com

Photo courtesy from toysrus.com

An over-the-door basketball hoop is a great way to get a little exercise (and blow off steam)! Models such as the one shown above simply hang over the door and use a foam ball to avoid damage from errant throws. Those in the early stage might like it hung in a common area, study, or office to give them something to do in between activities or while they’re working through a block in their memory. Those in the middle stages will likely need to be cued to shoot some hoops as a distinct activity, but men in particular shouldn’t need much instruction-putting the ball in their hand and pointing out the hoop should be all the cueing they need to start playing. Those who are still able to walk can certainly chase after their own ball, those who are unsteady on their feet may need a ball boy or ball girl. You might also find that people are more willing to play if you take turns shooting with them or play simple games such as who can make the most baskets out of ten throws, etc..

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