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What hobbies are good for someone with memory loss?

Mom used to make beautiful quilts and while she still remembers how to sew them she has trouble piecing them together and remembering where she left off with the project.
Status: Open    Mar 31, 2015 - 01:55 AM

Other, Dementia

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Expert Answers

Apr 27, 2015 - 07:43 AM

It is great that you have already identified quilting as a hobby for your mom. It is understandable that she may not be able to complete the full task of quilting as she once did. However, in the case of all individuals with memory loss, it is important to think of creative ways to use her hobby as a springboard for other forms of creative activity. Start by writing down all of the hobbies she ever enjoyed, as small or irregular those hobbies may have been. The objective is to narrow down the root of your mom's interests.

Now, let's look at quilting. There are a great number of steps to truly quilt well. However, when we look at small steps, there may be tasks that would be possible for your mom to complete. Maybe sewing small fabric squares together would interest her and be within her abilities. Maybe a related task like needle work, cross stitching, embroidery, etc., would work. One of my very favorite sewing activities for our residents with memory loss is sewing plastic canvas. It uses a size 16 blunt needle and yarn with a plastic guide. It doesn't require the dexterity of detailed sewing and yet is engaging and maintains the dignity of the senior. Because it uses a blunted needle, it also adds a measure of safety to the task. (as an aside, my grandmother introduced me to it when she gifted my wife and I a set of plastic canvas coasters)

YouTube subscriber "~The Hearth~" posted a nice introductory video on plastic canvas here:

Any family can use this technique when discovering activities for their loved one with memory loss. It takes some creativity and some out of the box thinking, but it is worth the effort. One resident I worked closely with was in later stage Alzheimer's and had many very difficult behaviors, yet was still able to focus his attention on coloring mandalas, which he did beautifully!



Apr 13, 2015 - 05:52 AM

I got Dad a hibiscus plant that he waters often. It's out on the patio. He likes to report on the blooms. He also likes to show it to others. It gives him something to walk to and he takes responsibility for it.

Apr 19, 2015 - 04:30 PM

My mom is into Find-the-Word puzzles, Suduko, and reqular picture puzzles. She depended on the answer sheets more than she will admit and the piece count keeps going down (100 to 500 to 350-250). These hobbies do not require much space or money, but they make her feel like, she can work on her memory.
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