Shopping For The Most Important People On Your List

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Nov 262021

With everyone scrambling for the perfect gift during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craziness you may feel frustrated wondering what on earth you can buy for Gramma Betty or Uncle Joe since the dementia diagnosis came to light earlier this year.
Finding something that will engage her or him with the family may be more elusive than happening upon a Tickle Me Elmo back in 1996. Where can you turn for advice? Who would know how to break that new invisible barrier separating a once familiar granddaughter from her beloved nana?
Last year Orange Live introduced readers to two local residents and occupational therapists Robyn Martin and Rebecca Strichman and their business Dabblesack.com.
A recent conversation revealed that business is going well and that clients are very pleased with their ability to connect with loved ones through Dabblesack’s recommendations.
Both Martin and Strichman sing the praises of the game OuiSi and how it appeals to users of all ages. “There are no wrong or right answers. It gets everyone talking, and laughing.”
According to the game’s creator, “OuiSi is a set of 210 visually-connecting photo cards, with games and activities that foster creativity, build mindfulness, and ignite wonder. The name of this inventive set of photo cards is “yes-yes” in French and Spanish, pronounced “we-see” in English. Fun, isn’t it? It’s a nod to our belief that pictures are a language almost all of us speak, regardless of age or background. Each lush photo card connects visually with other cards in the deck, based on similar patterns, shapes, colors – really, anything you can imagine. There are more than two thousand connections waiting to be found, each providing a wonderful “aha!” moment.”

Understanding Dabblesack’s Mission

Giving the Gift of Leisure Activities for those with Dementia
Why are activities important?
– They can help to keep people engaged, thinking, chatting, focused, relaxed
– They promote socialization
– They can be great ice-breakers with new caregivers
– They provide a fun focus for intergenerational visits
– They can be soothing or just plain fun!
Benefits and helpful hints with specific activities:
Puzzles: Can provide a sense of accomplishment, can be worked on as a team or solo, can be relaxing, the puzzle picture can be used to spark conversation and reminiscing
Hints: Choose a puzzle with the appropriate number of pieces for the individual (keep in mind you can make a larger piece count smaller by combining 2 pieces together before giving them to the individual to piece together with another section of 2 already fit together), look for easy to grip larger pieces if necessary. Family style puzzles are great for intergenerational use! These puzzles have 3 different size pieces and are created to be worked on by different people at the same time.
Games: Can provide a sense of fun for solo or group play, can decrease isolation (some can be used virtually), great to encourage conversation, focus and thinking.
Hint: Look for games that can be modified for various levels of play. Open-ended games can be less intimidating for some people. Look for games with simpler rules and not too long of a playing time to complete.
Crafts: Can be very relaxing, Can promote a feeling of accomplishment.
Can be performed with soothing background music.
HInts: Look for activities that aren’t too detailed. Choose ergonomic (easy to grip) colored pencils, markers, paint brushes.
Use the pictures to spark conversation and reminiscing. Don’t worry about perfection . . . just enjoy the process. Think about suggesting to the recipient that they can use a craft to make a gift for someone else. This can provide a wonderful sense of purpose!
Other Hints:
Enjoy your activities on an uncluttered, well-lit table
Wear glasses and hearing aids as needed
Play games or work on puzzles as a team when necessary
Provide cues and assistance as needed
Spend as much or as little time as indicated
Come back to an activity another time if the recipient is too tired or not interested at the moment. Keep in mind that an activity that may be successful at one moment may not “work” at another moment . . . so just keep trying.
When it’s time to clean up, make sure there are no small pieces that have fallen onto a lap or on the floor.
If senior centers or assisted living facilities are interested in finding new ways to engage with their clients, I highly recommend contacting Robyn Martin or Rebecca Strichman and asking for their expertise.