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Things to Do While Visiting Someone with Alzheimer's Disease

Caring for a Loved One

Crossroads University

Caring for a Loved One

Things to Do While Visiting Someone with Alzheimer's Disease

Dot Franks, MA

Sometimes it is hard to think of things to do when visiting someone who has Alzheimer’s Disease. These are ideas gleaned from an article from an early edition of Alzheimer’s Association – Someone to Stand by You.

Below you will find some activities for someone in the early stages, and others are appropriate for those in later stages. It might be helpful to keep a copy in your loved one’s room so other family members and friends may use it.

  1. Bring pictures of family and friends from days gone by.

  2. Make a photo album from family pictures.

  3. Bring vacation photos, souvenirs, and tales of your travels.

  4. Look at magazines that have a lot of large, colorful pictures.

  5. Read religious or inspirational articles, magazines, or books.

  6. Listen to messages from family or friends recorded on cassette.

  7. Bring a videotaped message from family or friends.

  8. Bring things related to the season or upcoming holiday to do or talk about.

  9. Have an indoor picnic with your loved one’s favorite foods.

  10. Enjoy a cup of favorite beverage you’ve brought in your thermos.

  11. Sing, hum, or whistle a favorite song together.

  12. Play “name that tune” with tapes.

  13. Listen to music.

  14. Brush, style, or comb hair.

  15. Bring along your sewing basket, button box, or tool kit to organize together.

  16. Bring along a bird book and see how many you can identify outside.

  17. Do simple jigsaw puzzles.

  18. Rent a DVD of a favorite movie.

  19. Go shopping from catalogs for clothes or frivolous things you would never buy.

  20. Bring along a treat made from a recipe the person likes.

  21. Give a gentle hand massage with lotion.

  22. Bring things to enjoy the scent (spices, perfume, roses).

  23. Bring different textured fabrics to touch and admire (silk, wool, denim, corduroy, velvet).

  24. Bring artwork from the children in the family.

  25. Bring a pet to visit.

  26. Look at and listen to an old-fashioned music box.

  27. Make a “happiness box” by filling a decorated shoe box with fun and favorite objects.

  28. Make a potpourri together and hang it to keep the room sweet smelling.

  29. Take photos of the changing seasons, scenes out a window, and keep a “window diary.”

  30. Take a walk together.

  31. Bring along children or grandchildren and watch them play.

  32. Celebrate the holidays with a party for just the two of you.

  33. Make a list of all the person’s favorite foods, movie stars, and songs.

  34. Make Christmas or birthday cards.

  35. Toss cards in a hat, pitch pennies, shoot marbles.

  36. Sit and hold the person’s hand and lend a listening ear.

  37. Try your hand at drawing the person’s portrait; and vice versa if he or she wants to.

  38. Recite nursery rhymes and songs from both your childhoods.

  39. Bring a musical instrument that you play.

  40. Give the person a hug when you arrive and each time you leave, say goodbye.