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Suggestions for Helping Michigan Caregivers Develop Alzheimer’s Activity Kits

ActivityBoxProgramming experts who specialize in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia believe these boxes can help someone living with the disease connect with past occupations and hobbies. That can help keep them engaged in more productive ways. You can also assemble smaller activity boxes to use when you are traveling or waiting in a physician’s office.

Creating an Alzheimer’s Activity Box for a Senior Loved one

First, know that an activity box doesn’t actually have to be a box. You can just as easily assemble them in tote bags or plastic containers depending upon the size of the supplies you assemble to put in it.

So what goes in to an activity box? That depends. Think about what your loved one’s occupation was or what some of their favorite hobbies are. What products, tools or supplies does that require? As long as they are safe for someone with dementia, any of those items can make up an activity box.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

The Accountant

While we have labeled this activity box The Accountant, it could really be adapted for a variety of occupations.

Supply suggestions include:

  • Old style calculator
  • Ledger and/or accounts receivable journal
  • Old bills and/or invoices
  • Envelopes
  • “PAID” stamp and ink pad
  • Receipt book
  • Pens or pencils
  • Paper clips
  • Rolls of coins

The Gamer

Many families’ happiest times are spent playing games together. If your family is one of those, assembling a tote with some of their favorite games is a great idea. While they might not be able to enjoy the games like they used to, they can still sort cards by suite or separate checkers by color. The repetition of sorting can help calm agitation.

The Teacher 

If your senior loved one was a teacher, these are some of the easiest activity boxes to assemble. A trip to an educational supply store – in person or online – will allow you to find everything you need.

Depending upon what grade your loved one taught, some suggestions on supplies might include: 

  • Old text books
  • A small chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Chalk or dry erase markers and erasers
  • Grade book
  • Calendar or Lesson Plan book
  • Workbooks or study guides
  • Pens,  pencils, highlighters

The Gardener

A gardener activity box doesn’t have to be just for outdoors during warmer months. It can be adapted and used indoors all year long.

Ideas on what to include might be:

  • Non-toxic plants and flowers
  • Garden magazines
  • Graph paper, pencils, colored pencil, ruler
  • Potting soil in small, easy-to-manage bags
  • Seeds
  • Small plastic pots and garden scoop
  • Garden gloves and apron

Portable Activity Box

Waiting in a physician’s office or traveling to and from appointments can increase restlessness and agitation for someone living with Alzheimer’s. These can be some of the most difficult behaviors for caregivers to try to manage. Creating a traveling activity box can be one solution.

Your goal when assembling this box is to pull together a few different supplies that can help sooth agitation. Using a zippered tote or plastic container with a lid is probably the best way to store them to make them easier to take with you.

Here are a few simple, go-to projects to include: 

  • Baseball cards or playing cards
  • Coupons to sort and organize
  • Copies of family photos to organize
  • Ball of yarn to unwind/rewind
  • Quilting squares to sort

We hope this helps make it easier for you to get started on creating a few activity boxes for your loved one.

 

Do you have any suggestions for other activity boxes?

We’d love to hear them in the comments below!