Posts Tagged activities for men with dementia

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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Screw Nuts on Bolts

bolts

This is nice activity for men in the middle to late stages of memory loss who used to enjoy tinkering in the garage. I stole the picture from a parenting blog, What do you do all day?. She mentioned using different sized nuts and bolts, but you could certainly make them all the same size if you think different sizes would be frustrating for the person with memory loss. I also like that she superglued the head of the bolts to the board so they don’t get lost/fall out.

If you’re feel super crafty and/or just really don’t want to lose the nut, you can make a nut and bolt fidget “toy” like the one below (I would put the nut in the center section rather than the end to avoid losing it). It’s intended to just be a riddle, basically a “How did you do that” but I think spinning the nut on the bolt could be a fun, soothing activity for a former carpenter.

bolt puzzle

Watch a video on how to make your own here. Simply substitute a bolt and nut for the nail they use in the video.

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