Roundup Record Tribune & Winnett Times -

Sheltering in place? Here are ways to spend time with a person living with Alzheimer's


The coronavirus (COVID-19) is requiring many adjustments in people’s lifestyles. For the 51,000 Montanans providing care for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, the need to observe appropriate social distancing means that many of the day-to-day activities they might participate in with their loved ones – the 22,000 Montanans living with the disease – must be adapted for the time being.

Until conditions allow for more travel outside the home, the Alzheimer’s Association of Montana offers 38 meaningful and fun ways to spend time with a family member or friend in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s. The first tip: take your cue from the person.

• What do they like to do?

• What are they able to do?

• What are they in the mood for today?

It doesn’t matter if the activity needs to be done or if it is done well. If it doesn’t work, you can always try something else. Be patient and you will figure out what works. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Do something inside

• Listen to the person’s favorite music

• Look at family photo albums

• Prepare afternoon tea

• Paint with water colors

• Play checkers or dominos

• Name the presidents

• Look at photos in a photography book or magazine

• Identify states on a U.S. map

• Complete a puzzle together

• Read from one of their favorite books

• Watch a favorite movie or sitcom

• Ask the person about his or her childhood, siblings, school, pets or first car

• Play a card game

Do something outside

• Take a walk

• Feed the birds

• Rake leaves

• Go to the park

• Sit on a bench or a swing

• Play catch or toss a ball

• Sweep the porch or patio

• Set up a picnic on the lawn or in the backyard

• Sit on the porch and drink coffee, hot chocolate or lemonade

Do something personal

• Give the person a hand massage with lotion

• Brush his or her hair

• Give the person a manicure

• Take photos of the person and make a collage

• Encourage the person to talk more about subjects or memories they enjoy

• Make a family tree on poster board

Do something in the kitchen

• Bake cookies or bread

• Set the table

• Make the person's favorite lunch or snack

• Wash and dry dishes

The Alzheimer’s Association is offering expanded educational programs via telephone and online platforms. These no cost, evidence-informed programs provide crucial information about the Alzheimer’s and related dementias, effective communication techniques, understanding and responding to dementia-related behaviors and much more. For a listing of available March and April programs, please call 800.272.3900, email [email protected] or call 406.252.3053, press “0”.

Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association of Montana is the premier source of information and support for the more than 22,000 Montanans with Alzheimer’s disease and their 51,000 family caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offers education, counseling, support groups and a 24-hour Helpline at no charge to families. In addition, contributions help fund advancements in research to prevent, treat and eventually conquer this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families on related legislative issues, and with health and long-term care providers. For information call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 bilingual Helpline at 800-272-3900, or visit


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