It’s the triple whammy … late-stage Alzheimer’s, bedridden and quarantined. Now what?
Maybe you have a family member in this situation. You see them once a week on a staff-led, family Zoom call, yet you worry about their well-being once the phone call ends.
You don’t want them spending their days feeling lonely, confused, bored and isolated. There must be something you can do to spark joy …
Let’s talk about ways to comfort our bedridden parent in quarantine and bring a smile to their face, even though we are not there to see it.
Baby Dolls, Stuffed Animals & Cartoon Characters
Just as little kids often clutch a baby doll or stuffed animal for security and comfort, so too might your loved one with Alzheimer’s. If you search “dementia dolls” on Amazon, you’ll get pages and pages of doll options to choose from in the ethnicity of your choice.
You may even have a doll from your childhood you could refurbish to delight and amuse your Mom. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if holding a baby doll generated nostalgic feelings of happy times as a mother?
As for Dad, give him a stuffed animal to pet and cuddle. Try finding one that resembles the yellow lab or calico cat you grew up with. Bearington makes cuddly pups and kittens in the likeness of most dog and cat breeds. You’re sure to find a favorite for your loved one.
Or if you really want to splurge, Joy For All makes beautiful stuffed pets with built-in sensors, allowing the pet to respond to motion and touch such as petting and hugging. These life-like pets also come in many dog and cat breeds, so you can select just the right one to bring a smile to your loved one’s face.
If a baby doll or life-like pet doesn’t interest or comfort your loved one, consider giving them a stuffed version of their favorite cartoon character. Seeing a beloved Popeye the Sailor Man figure, Bugs Bunny or Betty Boop might trigger memories and generate joy.
Fidget Quilts & Weighted Blankets
Enjoy reading the reviews and scanning the work samples of creators on Etsy to find just the right shop owner to create a quilt or blanket for your Dad with Alzheimer’s or Mom with dementia.
Family Photo Albums & Digital Picture Frames
Thanks to the wonder of smart phones, anyone can quickly and easily create a family photo book for a loved one in quarantine.
Even if late-stage Alzheimer’s has robbed your loved one of the ability to read, they will likely still enjoy flipping through the pages of a family photo book, especially one showcasing their beloved grandkids and grandpets.
It is helpful to add text on the photos identifying the people and occasion. That way staff or an occupational therapist can read the album to them.
There are oodles of online companies to choose from including Snapfish and Shutterfly. Even Wal-Mart, CVS and many other retailers offer this service. You’re sure to find a deal that works for your budget and time frame.
Another option is this talking photo album on Amazon. You can record a message up to six minutes long on each page, which holds a 5 x 7 photo.
My 100-year-old Grandpa in quarantine enjoys receiving TouchNote postcards. Simply download the app to your phone and then use photos from your camera phone to create eye-catching postcards. It literally takes minutes.
One morning while sitting in car-rider line to drop off my elementary school-aged niece and nephew, I snapped pictures of them in their career day costumes.
Yes, they were stuck in car seats, wearing seat belts. So these were no Olan Mills portraits. But it was a real moment in the day of the life of these kids, and a fun activity for all of us.
They enjoyed helping me pick out the best snaps and write the text to their Great-Grandpa. By the time we reached the front of car rider line, a postcard was on the way to Texas.
Music can be such a comfort, especially for someone with Alzheimer’s. It can boost their mood and re-connect them with memories from decades ago.
My mother, who once taught piano lessons, loves listening to classical music. So I purchased this retro-style radio for her. It is tuned to the local National Public Radio station that plays classical music all day with top-of-the-hour news reports. She can turn it on or off with the push of one button.
Another good option is this MP3 music player, which you can load up with all your loved one’s favorite songs. It holds up to 4GB of music.
If your loved one is quarantined by a window, then consider installing a bird feeder. They’ll have their own window on wildlife, watching various birds visit. You have even more bird feeder options if your loved one lives on the first floor of a residential community.
This is a great way to involve other family members. By rotating the task of refilling the bird feeder, your loved one is guaranteed to see a variety of family visitors throughout the month and not just the primary caregiver.
Please visit Dad’s Favorite Things for additional gift ideas for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
And please share in the comments below items that are of comfort to your loved one. We’re all in this together!