Saturday, March 24, 2018

Tanya Towers and PUZZLE TIME

I took two Kid Caregiver members to Tanya Towers.  The facility has residents who have cerebral palsy and Alzheimer's disease. Because of modern medicine, people with cerebral palsy live longer, and that means they can develop dementia!  We bought several puzzles that were donated by the springbok Puzzles Company to the facility for PUZZLE TIME. It is an hour filled with puzzle-solving and companionship!  Next month, we will bring some Girl Scouts to the facility for PUZZLE TIME.  Everyone is looking forward to it!  We all know that puzzle-solving stimulates the brain, especially the visual cortex area. The research shows that it improves mood and gives the person a feeling of accomplishment when they complete it.  Don't we all feel good when we finish something!


1. If someone has trouble moving their hands, show the person the puzzle piece and ask them where to put it. (People living with cerebral palsy may have poor muscle coordination. BUT that doesn't mean they cannot solve a puzzle!)

2. Have the person point with their finger or a pencil where the puzzle piece should be placed.

3. Talk about the theme of the puzzle you are solving. REMEMBER TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY of PUZZLE-SOLVING.  There is NO RUSH to complete it!  Spending time together is the MOST important part of it!  (I enjoyed talking to "Jenna" about the different birds on the puzzle box.  We both agree that the red cardinals are lovely, followed by the blue jays.

4.  Celebrate when the puzzle is solved!  A big thumbs up, a hug, a high five or any other sign of joy is great after the puzzle is complete.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Exercise And The Brain

There are a lot of scientific articles about how exercising helps the brain. The scientists say it is good for the brain, puts people into a good mood, and could even help a person with thinking skills.  I know grandma loved to do exercises.  Grandma used to do lots of exercise including jogging when she was younger!
When you are in a wheelchair it is hard to do a lot of exercise.  Here are some ideas! All of these activities have been done with grandma!

1) wheelchair basketball
In nice weather I take grandma to the park and we try and throw the basketball into the hoop. It is a lot of fun.  We make up our own rules!

2) Throwing a ball
I throw a beach ball back and forth with grandma. It exercises our our arms.

3) Kicking a ball
Grandma and I like to kick a beach ball back and forth.

4) Wheelchair yoga
I am excited about this activity. I have not tried it yet, but I will follow this youtube video with grandma when I see her again!  I like this video because it is only 8 minutes!  (Grandma does not have good attention. People with dementia cannot concentrate, so it is best to not do something that will be too long!)


Grandma LOVES bowling.  We use an old Wii station and it works out well. We can play "tennis" and "golf". Grandma used to play golf a lot when she was young.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

What To Do If Your Loved One Is In A Bad Mood

Even though grandma is usually happy to see me, sometimes she is in a bad mood.  When I visited her last Sunday, she was very grumpy.  I felt bad about it.  My mom and I researched the reason why people with dementia are sometimes in a bad mood.  It is because of physical and chemical changes in the brain.  A part of the brain that is damaged is called the temporal lobe.  The temporal lobe controls mood and judgement. It is shrinking.


1. Do not argue with the loved one!
2. Give them a compliment.
3. Distract them. (I told grandma that I won an award, she became happy).
4. Give them headphones with their favorite music.
5. Try not to let it hurt you, they still love you!

Friday, March 9, 2018

EggMazing Egg Decorator Kit

I watched an episode of Shark Tank and learned about the EggMazing Egg Decorator. It is an egg decoration kit. You put an egg (or any round object) in a spinner, hold a marker to it, to create a striped design.
(  I decided to purchase it and try it out with grandma.
It was the best!  Firstly, it is impossible to make a mistake.  It does not require balancing skills, or even a good grip.

I think it is a great activity for people with dementia.  There are no rules, just hold the marker in your hand and let the egg spin, that's it.  I believe even patients with severe dementia would find joy using the decorator.

  Grandma LOVED designing the eggs.  I actually purchased wooden eggs, so they could be saved forever!  I then experimented with other objects like my EOS lip gloss container which is round.

It can be enjoyed by people who do not want to decorate eggs, since the  round EOS lip glass container worked beautifully. I gather that a ping pong ball or any other oval or round object that is the size of the spinner would work, just fine!

I am really looking forward to bringing Girl Scout Troops and kids from my "Kid Caregivers" group to senior facilities with the Egg Kit.  It will definitely work well with seniors who have Cerebral Palsy and have trouble moving their hands.  It is a fun and enjoyable way to spend time!

Tips for Using The Egg Decorator

1. Show the loved one a finished egg.
2. Demonstrate how to do it on your own egg.
3. Offer the loved one a marker.
4. Gently place the loved one's hand with the marker, over the egg.
5. Offer the loved one different colors
6. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wii and other video games

I taught grandma how to play with my Wii game. Wii is a game console created by Nintendo.  We  used the Wii Sports edition.  It allows you to play baseball, bowling , golf and tennis!  Before the game begins you create an Avatar.  An Avatar is a video player.  You can create an Avatar that looks like you.
Grandma and I created this Avatar to resemble her. Grandma was not always sure what we were doing, but she had fun choosing the hair color, eye color, glasses and clothing color.
I helped grandma use the gaming console. Sometimes I would move her arm with her to bowl.  Grandma was amazing and had so much fun with me.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Dry Erase Boards

Grandma broke her hip.  She also lost all of her hearing aides.  I found a dry erase board at the Dollar Tree store. It came with a marker and eraser! We brought a dry erase board to the hospital.  It was very helpful.  I was surprised to see that grandma understood the things that we wrote on the dry erase board.  I wonder if people with dementia are better at reading words than understanding words?  We used the dry erase board, to ask her questions, play games and see how she is feeling.  It was actually kind of fun. We told the staff at grandma's nursing home and her aide to use the dry erase board with her. It has been working well.


1. Keep the sentences short.
2. Let your loved one use the board too.
3. Dry pictures on the board, be creative :-)

Friday, August 4, 2017

How To Solve a Puzzle With a Dementia Patient

Hi Everyone!  Sorry I have not written in a while.  I would like to share my way of solving a puzzle with a dementia patient. There are many ways to solve puzzles.  I am sharing a way that works well for us.  If you have a special way of solving puzzles with your loved one, please share it! It would be nice to hear about different methods of puzzle-solving!

1. Select a puzzle with the correct amount of puzzle pieces for the loved one.
I chose a puzzle with 36 pieces. Grandma has moderate dementia. Therefore, she cannot concentrate on puzzles with many pieces. If your loved one has milder dementia he/she can solve puzzles with 100 pieces. And if your loved one is severely impaired than he/she can solve 12 piece puzzles.

1. Show the loved one the cover of the box.  Have a conversation about the picture.  See if it brings back memories.  This puzzle pictured has a lighthouse.

Grandma and her friend "Phil" really liked the image.  I asked them what they think of when they see the picture. Phil said it looks like Maine.  Grandma said it reminded her of Newfoundland, Canada.

.   2. Prop the cover of the box up, so the puzzle-solvers can view the image to help guide them with puzzle-solving.

. 3. Find the 4 corners for the puzzle.

 4.  Find all the flat edged pieces for the frame of the puzzle. Put them in the middle.

 5.  Solve the frame of the puzzle.

 6. If the loved one needs assistance (grandma needs a little help) hand them a puzzle piece. Give a hint about where it may belong in the puzzle. I pointed to the image and "hinted" where the piece should go.  Grandma placed it correctly after I helped her.  She felt great!

 7. If the loved one has very mild dementia (like Phil) they can find the place for the puzzle piece without help.  You can see if the person needs help or can work alone.

 8. If possible, have the person work with someone.  Phil and grandma enjoyed socializing while solving the puzzle.  It helped "break the ice".

 9. Celebrate the completion of the puzzle.  In addition to stimulating the brain, improving thinking and mood, it creates a social activity for the loved one.  The social factor is very important for people with Alzheimer's disease :-)

(We used Springbok Puzzles -