So, I started my search for an activity that would fit the following criteria:
- Follows Montessori principles of being fairly self explanatory, has a template to follow, and accessible to the skills Mom still has.
- Ongoing project that you could do multiple times a week but it not actually the same thing over and over again. Provides some variety.
- Anyone can pick this up and do the activity with Mom. Easy to understand and follow for all.
- Needs to be meaningful so Mom does not feel like she is just doing busywork.
I labeled the elements of the kit with coordinating directions written out onto cards and put them into one of the pocketed page protectors so people can see exactly where everything goes.
|Project Life adapted for use for a person with dementia.|
Basically, you can take a few photos out of Mom's many boxes of pictures and set a few in front of her. You ask her what photo she would like to put in the album first and she can point to it. You can ask her what she knows about the photo or who is in it and write that on a journaling card. If she does not know, you just leave it blank. You then point to two of the photo pockets and ask "Would you like to put the photo here or here?" and Mom can choose where to put the photo. For the title on each page, you can take out two title pages and ask Mom which one she would like. Many of Mom's photos are 3x5 or 4x4 so I cut extra 4x6 colored cardstock so people can adhere the photo to a background, again giving Mom a choice of two colors and asking her to pick the one she likes the best. Sometimes Mom can figure out how to slip the photos and journaling into the pockets and sometimes she can't so we can put them in for her, but always give her the choice of where to put it.
|Finished scrapbook page.|
This is an activity that allows Mom to feel the feelings of the events in the photos even if she does not remember who is in them or what the picture is of. It gives her choice of where to put the photos and what colors to use in a simple way with a template of the pocket pages to follow. It is an ongoing activity since we have a ton of photos and it is repetitive but not the exact same thing each day. The directions are simple and color coded so anyone who comes over can do this activity with Mom.
I am very grateful to Becky Higgins for creating such a simple system that I could adapt for Mom who has dementia. This is a great meaningful activity for all of us to do together which will last for generations to come.