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Activities for DF with early Parkinson's and Dementia

(12 Posts)
blushingmare Wed 08-Jul-15 08:00:12

I'm looking for a bit of inspiration really and wondered if anyone had any ideas. My DF has early stages of Parkinson's and Dementia. He's been through a really bad couple of years and gone downhill hugely in comparison to what he was in terms of physical capacity, cognitive ability and state of mind, but is still relatively functional.

One of the big issues is he just has no motivation to do anything. He sits either in front of the TV or just staring into space unless my DM nags him or takes him out. He used to be really into golf and gardening but physically those things are too much for him now. He's never been a "joiner" - he doesn't really have any hobbies, nor a circle of friends. He says he likes being with my DC, although when he's with us all he does is sit and stare, just like at home.

Does anyone have any bright ideas for manageable things that might motivate him? I can't see him doing these community group activities that I'm sure are really good, but just not his scene. It would be just good to get him doing something that occupies his mind a bit and gets him moving as he's really in a cycle of decline, with the less he does the less he is able to do.

twentyten Thu 09-Jul-15 08:02:48

Could he manage indoor plants? Grow stuff from seed? I know studies have shown looking after pot plants can really help elder lies??orchids? Would a kindle/ tablet be of use?

UniS Thu 09-Jul-15 08:12:47

In Devon there is a project "freetrike" that gets people out on recumbent trike rides, accompanied, on traffic free trails.
Does your dad have the capability to walk a dog or walk with a neighbour/ family dog walker? Or to walk to the shop for a paper daily?

fairyelephantswellies Thu 09-Jul-15 08:18:49


NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Thu 09-Jul-15 08:20:48

My df has Parkinson's and dementia and has had to go into a home, I visit every week with my daughter and we always go out somewhere. If it's nice we go to the park, my dad is happy to watch his gd and sometimes I give him some bubbles to blow for her. If the weather is not as o nice we go to a cafe.
What about novels on CD? My dad can't really read now, but he enjoys listening to cds and the radio.

fairyelephantswellies Thu 09-Jul-15 08:21:17

Sorry, sat on phone! Would he be interested in sorting photos, souvenirs etc to make a memory album?

twentyten Thu 09-Jul-15 09:25:29

Could he play games with the dc? Like dominoes?

bilbodog Thu 09-Jul-15 11:28:06

have you tried looking on dementia forums to ask what other people do?

blushingmare Fri 10-Jul-15 07:23:59

Thanks for the replies. Some nice ideas there. I just find it hard to motivate him to do anything tbh - he's just lost all interest in anything. It's his birthday coming up and I was wondering if there was something I could get him to start some sort of activity, but just can't imagine him engaging in anything.

I haven't looked on any other forums or anything. His diagnosis is fairly recent and we have not really investigated what is out there in terms of that kind of support, so if you have any pointers that would be really great. Many thanks.

DurhamDurham Fri 10-Jul-15 07:36:47

Until recently as past of my job I helped manage a day centre twice a week for people with dementia. The most popular activities were reminiscing, talking about events in the past. Personal and world events from long ago always got people talking together.

Table gardening; planting plants in small pots was popular because they all liked to feel useful and to be busy with their hands.

Baking, especially rock buns, went done well. Not sure why rock ins exactly but several mentioned eating them when they were young so maybe it's a treat from the past.

Reading the newspapers together and playing beetle drive got everyone involved.

Playing old music at a level low enough to talk but loud enough for them to enjoy; it made me smile one day when a couple who both had dementia heard a favourite record from their younger days and they both got up to dance smile

It's playing to your father's strengths really, there will be some things he will be good at and enjoy doing. Remembering the past, which he might be able to do with confidence will hopefully bring back happy memories as well as keeling his mind as active as possible.

Needmoresleep Fri 10-Jul-15 10:03:48

I found it useful when a care professional described dementia as being a bit like the feeling you have when coming down with flu. You don't feel ill but you feel like your head is stuffed with cotton wool. So concentration and decision making is difficult. I don't know if it is true but my mother clearly enjoys more passive activities, eg a chance to sit in a cafe watching the world go by, especially children and animals. She also likes watching birds in the tree outside her window and when in a convalescent home enjoyed the bird table relatives of the previous resident had placed outside the window. There, the 'visiting dog' was very popular. Though my mother still has good conversation she is not interested in meeting new people as she does not remember them. So perhaps it is a case of not trying to keep up with old interests but finding new less demanding ones perhaps involving passive enjoyment of plants, animals, photos or music.

catsofa Mon 13-Jul-15 00:48:20

Can you possibly make it so that someone needs his help with something, e.g. somebody has a dog that needs walking during the day while they are at work, or a local hospice wants people to bake rock cakes or grow house plants to sell at their next fundraising event, or a child needs someone to read to for practice? Might help both with motivation and self esteem, as well as keeping him connected with others.

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