“Fix” Something Broken

For many men, being handy around the house or at work was/is a large part of their identity, even after Alzheimer’s has made fixing things much more difficult if not impossible.  If you know someone like that, why not give them a broken item that you don’t care much about and let them work on it.  This gives many men a feeling of purpose and accomplishment while distracting them from trying to fix things that aren’t broken!  Garage sales and thrift stores are a great place to find things for this type of activity.  You can take it apart yourself, or buy something pre-broken.   Get a few different items and you can rotate them so the project is always fresh. 

This activity is also a great way to reminisce about the individual’s past fixes (or spectacular failures).  You can also take a “lesson” and  have the individual teach you how to work with tools.

Things to think about:

  • Make sure that whatever you get, and the tools needed to work on it, are safe for your loved one given the stage of their cognitive impairment. 
  • It might be a good idea to keep a separate set of tools for this purpose as well, that way if the screwdriver gets lost, you’ll still have another  handy for use around the house.
  • Be sure to stop the activity if it becomes too frustrating.


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