Entertainment For the Elderly:

Total posts: [12]
Why so serious?

I have a ninety-year-old grandmother, who, for most of her life, has been the paragon of health, and enjoyed being both physically and mentally active. In the past few years, however, her weakening health and the increasing amount of medications has limited what she's able to do, at first effectively containing her at home, and then by making it difficult for her to focus on things mentally.

Lately, she's been feeling particularly anxious and off balance, and hasn't been able to concentrate enough to even properly read or do crossword puzzles - both activities she's greatly enjoyed. For the past few months, she has also been uncharacteristically depressed in general.

Now, her physical health is in the hands of people far more knowledgeable than I, but I think her emotional health has been deteriorating in no small part due to boredom. So, since watching television all day long does get dull pretty quickly, I was wondering if there was something I could get her for the holidays that would give her something to be engaged in.

My problem is that I'm having difficulty deciding what it should be; my grandmother used to like crafts of all kinds, but now, her fingers are arthritic and her hands shaky. She has recently developed a fear of new technology, so anything with a steep learning curve is out, but she's also still pretty sharp in the head, so I still need something that could be challenging.

Posting this is pretty much a shot in the dark, but I was wondering if anyone here has had similar experiences, or even just ideas to throw out there.

(I was considering getting her a gaming platform of some sort with a few casual but engaging games, but I'm not really all that knowledgeable on what's out there, nor am I sure I could convince her to give it a fair try. Better suggestions would be welcome.)
2 annebeeche4th Dec 2011 02:40:48 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Gee, I don't know, my grandmother also loves Polish crosswords (which are a teeny bit different from English crosswords—there's a riddle you're trying to solve by filling in the right boxes) which are her main time-waster.

My grandmother also loves playing solitaire games on the computer—she's very fond of freecell and klondike (the standard solitaire game), and I think I owe my love of solitaire directly to her (due to days of boredom in my childhood). If not on the computer, she can play solitaire and freecell with real decks of cards.

Listening to music is also good for the brain. Perhaps expose her to a wide variety of music and see what she likes? Find out what was popular during her youth and play it to her?

What about sudoku? My grandma's not into it, but I'm a huge fan. Great time-waster for me.

The Wii's famous for being a pretty easy platform for breaking people into gaming. Most people are familiar with a tv remote, so tv remote to the Wii-mote isn't a very big step for them. My friend's technologically-challenged mother is interested in trying out the Wii for this very reason.

edited 4th Dec '11 2:44:45 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
3 USAF7134th Dec 2011 02:50:09 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
You could find her an old Game Boy Color or something with Frogger and such...
I am now known as Flyboy.
4 SeventySeven4th Dec 2011 02:56:56 PM from Somewhere in the US
A number
Have you tried books on tape? My grandparents really enjoy those, and after my grandfather's parkinsons advanced far enough, it was the only way for him to enjoy books at all. Also, I second the idea of listening to music. Music is almost always enjoyable, and as a plus is also good for you.
I'm working on it.
Why so serious?
A Game Boy is probably out for the same reason knitting's been out for the last few years: her manual dexterity isn't that great any more.

Puzzles of various kinds are something my grandma's always been good at, and I've gotten her those before, but right now I'm looking specifically for something for when she feels too anxious to focus on something like puzzles. I know all too well how that can be with anxiety and depression (those two kind of run in the family), so I was thinking that maybe a different type of game might help sidestep that issue - something that you can start doing even if you don't feel like you're at your sharpest or best, but that can end up sucking you in and challenging you anyway.

The Wii suggestion might be something worth checking into, though.
6 Vellup4th Dec 2011 03:13:36 PM from America , Relationship Status: The Skitty to my Wailord
I have balls.
Well, there's always TV. My bedridden aunt used to be quite partial to Mr. Bean DV Ds, among other titles.
They never travel alone.
You could try jigsaw puzzles if her arthritis isn't too bad. My great grandmother also had a bunch of classic games that she enjoyed on a computer, like Solitaire and Klotski.

If you wanted, you could probably also spend some time with her each day and play some board games or card games that she likes. Get her to teach you how to play Progressive Rummy, for example.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
8 Madrugada4th Dec 2011 07:14:14 PM , Relationship Status: In season
I was going to suggest jigsaw puzzles, but got ninj'd by the Drunk Girlfriend.

Macrame is somewhat similar to knitting, but is much less taxing on the hands.

Games like chess, checkers, or backgammon all are mentally challenging, and if need be the pother player can move the pieces for her.

On the non-game front, going through family photo albums (or boxes of loose photos) if you have them; and identifying the people and circumstances would be something she could pick up and put down at will. If someone writes an ID number on the back of each picture, she could use a small Voice-activated tape recorder for the information by ID number, then someone else can transcribe it later. That means she wouldn't have to write or have someone sitting with her writing.

edited 4th Dec '11 7:18:05 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
9 TheBatPencil4th Dec 2011 08:15:17 PM from Glasgow, Scotland , Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Well to start with, just ask her if there's something she wants to do.
And let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
10 Madrugada4th Dec 2011 08:56:32 PM , Relationship Status: In season
^ And The Bat Pencil cuts right to the heart of the matter. [awesome]
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Why so serious?
I do visit my grandmother regularly, and it's not really an issue that's relevant when she has company. It's more that I can't be there all the time, so I've largely been thinking about things she might be able to do to keep herself busy when alone. Still, there have been suggestions worth considering here, so thanks for those.
Your grandmother seems to be a paragon of health according to my lifespan development textbook. According to it, alot of problems in our society is that most of our activities are geared towards younger clients rather than the elderly. You could try to find an exercise regimen for her to give her spare time or even allow her to do volunteer work with other people like her so that she may feel fulfilled and integral to society. Also be sure she is in contact with friends or intimate companions so that she may have someone to rely upon and benefit from the social support. Furthermore, most elderly prefer to "age in place" or remain in the same home and community in later life since they feel it is an important part of their identity My late grandmother was deeply saddened, as well as I, when she had to go to the nursery home and sell the house she had lived in all her life (I was so angry when the new residents renovated it and tore out the front lawn where she used to plant her flower gardens). However, the fact the nursery home was still close by her original home, had very supportive staff, was located in a beautiful location near a natural lake, provided elderly the chance to engage in activity such as planting and hiking, and even offered her her own little personal house to live in rather than the dorm rooms in the main building made my grandmother's life worthwhile.
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Total posts: 12