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Any ideas welcome

(37 Posts)
BlueBelle Tue 12-Sep-17 05:12:47

Tonight my school friend, who I lost touch with when we left school but picked up about ten years ago (I see her once a month on a school friends lunch ) is being dropped off whilst her husband goes to a meeting ... she is five years into Alzheimer's and got to the point where she can't be left alone He has done this once before and it was a long three and a half hours I am really happy to have her round and glad I can be trusted and help but have you any ideas what we can do She doesn't have much conversation apart from yeses and no s I got lots of photo albums out last time and school stuff to jog her memory but her interested was very limited we had something to eat and drink but there was still a lot of time left I want her to have a nice time
I just wondered if some of you had any thoughts other than photos ( I know nothing about her life between 16 and 60 so no memories other than school )
Thanks for reading

JackyB Tue 12-Sep-17 06:38:20

You could go for a walk and point out flowers and listen to the birds (they are very loud at the moment as they gather to fly away for the winter.

Many ideas that would apply to young children could work here, such as preparing food together or doing something with your hands. Something to stimulate the senses.


kittylester Tue 12-Sep-17 06:40:07

Well done you for helping her husband. and allowing him the opportunity to have something of his own to do.

Does she enjoy watching television or films Eg musicals! Is there a particular type of music she enjoys?

Imperfect27 Tue 12-Sep-17 06:43:19

Bluebelle I was at a loss as to know what to suggest as this is beyond my experience. However, I found this list of suggested activities online and lots of them look fairly simple and inexpensive to attempt:

Lovely that you are able to host your friend and that her DH can have a few hours break, knowing she is in a trusted and safe place. I hope all goes well.

notnecessarilywiser Tue 12-Sep-17 06:59:28

Pop music from your schooldays might be fun to sing along with? You may both even feel like dancing!

Nana3 Tue 12-Sep-17 07:50:59

A game of dominoes always goes down well at my Mum's care home.
They have a bit of pampering too, manicure, hand cream, foot massage that sort of thing.
A cd of songs from the musicals is a firm favourite.
Hope you have a good evening.

silverlining48 Tue 12-Sep-17 08:01:32

Lots of helpful suggestions, but the main thing us that you are still there for your friend and haven't dropped her, as this often can happen. Her husband is probably on his knees and needs some time to himself, so well done. Whatever you do, music or manicure, walking or watching an old film, your friend will know on some level that she is loved and cared for.
Alzheimers is a frightening place to find oneself.

annsixty Tue 12-Sep-17 08:04:53

My H who is at a similar time scale ( over 5 years) would be happy to watch old comedies i.e. sky Gold for hours.
Conversation is a no no. We are always told to remember old days and show photographs, my H isn't interested at all and his memory isn't jogged.
I think you shouldn't try too hard, while you may be bored, she won't, and will have forgotten 10 minutes after her H has picked her up.
Just switch the box on, make a cup of tea and provide cake/ biscuits and she will probably be content.
Of course the obvious thing is to ask her H what she does in the evening when they are at home together.

BlueBelle Tue 12-Sep-17 08:05:17

The walk would be good but it ll be evening and it's pretty cold and windy here at the moment so no flowers or birds to see or listen to
I like the idea of 60 s music I hadn't thought of that and I have some old 60 s CDs
She wouldn't manage the numbers on dominos but I do think I should have a Jenga tucked away from the grandkids I ve got rid of most of the 'toys' now they are teens
Thanks for the link imperfect I ll go through that too
I have got an adult colouring book that I was doing myself I wonder if that would be a possibility I don't want to think I m babying her She's at an inbetween stage
If I could explain I would describe her as a 'proper' sort of lady not someone who would ever let her hair down she's a lady with never a hair out of place and although her conversational and abilities are limited I think she would still realise if I was to suggest too childish things
I do appreciate your ideas and help x

Imperfect27 Tue 12-Sep-17 08:15:18

Bluebelle, confession: I only skim read the beginning of that list before posting - it may not be as useful as first glance suggested! There are some nice ideas - also some odd ones - such as folding towels ... ! And obviously it is American - I suppose you could play 'Name that Prime Minister!' instead of 'president'!

With all the kind thought and preparation time you are giving to it, I feel in my bones that you and your friend will have a good evening.

kittylester Tue 12-Sep-17 08:28:15

Folding towels isn't such a bad one. Sometimes keeping the hands active is good. I heard of someone who picked fillings out of their teeth until they were given something more purposeful to do.

Another person was given endless amounts of small change to count.

An important thing to remember is that your friend might forget what she did but the happy feelings will last and will help her husband after they get home.

Glenfinnan Tue 12-Sep-17 08:47:38

My Aunt who has similar symptoms likes colouring books. I get large one, not intricate and felt tip pens for her. Sometimes just a change of scene can be distressing and confusing but a warm welcome will relax her I'm sure. I also bought my Aunt a 'fidget' knitted comforter it has various things attached such as a small bell and other objects. Perhaps keep it at your home for future visits. You sound a good person!

MissAdventure Tue 12-Sep-17 09:02:23

You could maybe have a go at baking a cake or something. A lot of those skills are still there for women, as are folding clothes, cleaning, etc, and they can bring a sense of wellbeing.
Sometimes reading a newspaper and chatting about the headlines can spark off a little conversation.. Its really nice of you not only to have your friend visit, but to think of things to make her time with you enjoyable.

trisher Tue 12-Sep-17 09:56:01

Try singing with her, it doesn't have to be good singing and no one else will hear. Music and songs seem to stay in the memory long after other things have gone. There is a lot of work going on taking music into care homes and also with groups of Alzheimers patients and their carers. Maybe the songs you listened to when you were young? And you could have a dance!

Lclaytonuk555 Tue 12-Sep-17 11:03:49

Before my mum got too bad she liked to do jigsaws with people, listening to music, films that aren't too difficult to follow, a bit of colouring and painting her nails.

How lovely for you to give her husband a break.

morningdew Tue 12-Sep-17 11:08:31

Have you got a button box , been able to sort them out on a table , they love that anything that can be sorted and put into piles or groups ,

Daddima Tue 12-Sep-17 11:15:08

Playlist for Life are seeing some remarkable results in Alzheimer's patients whose families have loaded ipods with music meaningful to the person, so I'd give the 60s music a try.

Icyalittle Tue 12-Sep-17 11:20:54

I think you are a wonderful friend, BlueBell The folding one is really useful - when my mum was at the same stage, I dug out about a dozen table napkins and asked her 'to help me'. I could keep surreptitiously replacing them in the 'to do' pile, but as she got worse, she would keep on the same one, smoothing and folding. Traditional hymns to sing along with were good, she had them securely learnt from school days.

radicalnan Tue 12-Sep-17 11:41:44

I worked in a dementia care home for a while, my lades loved polishing the furniture and pottering about doing bits of domestic stuff like folding laundry.

I found it helped them to have as much stuff from their own era as possible they loves radio 4 extra, with all the old radio comedies on, the Clitheroe kid while we cooked lunch, Hancock's Half Hour etc..........

We are so lucky now to have resources to help us stimulate people and fill the time for them. We used to do jigsaws for charity shops, that way they knew they were complete and could sell them

You are star for helping.

devongirl Tue 12-Sep-17 11:49:26

I should think a film from when you both were young?

Lyneve Tue 12-Sep-17 11:51:18

I would suggest you try any of the ideas suggested. Although the one's using memory probable won't work. With things you wonder are too young get then out ask her to help you eg adult colouring. I'm sure you will realise things that don't work.

When the weather is suitable for walking don't about worry where to go . You might get board with the same route but I don't think she will remember, just point out nice flowers, trees, dogs etc and she will enjoy being out with a friend .
Have a cup of tea, chat gently about anything to her so she will join in as she feels able.
Try some of your poetry(I've just read your poem from the other day).
Try to keep any questions simple with a yes or no answer, eg "would you like tea or coffee" Making choices can be very difficult. Try "would you like tea?" 'Would you like a warm drink"

lesley4357 Tue 12-Sep-17 15:06:47

Offer a hand massage and manicure as this may be something she doesn't get from oh

norose4 Tue 12-Sep-17 15:22:16

To be brutal it is the husband who you are helping,& sadly as there isn't an awful lot that you can engage your friend in It may be best to just be in the room with her doing the few things that have been already suggested but not trying to do much more than that as it sounds as if anything else you try will be counter productive . You are already being a great help by having her for a few hours, he obviously feels she will be in safe hands in a safe environment whilst he has a break.

Norah Tue 12-Sep-17 15:45:08

What a lovely thing to do, for her OH especially. I think a nice tea, soft music, and hand creme treatment sounds brilliant.

blue60 Tue 12-Sep-17 15:56:58

There is a lady who makes 'fidget blankets', I wonder if that would be of use? Here's the link