Elderly Man Watching TV

“But All He Does Is Watch TV” – Activities to Fit Everyone’s Abilities

Whether you are in a care community or have your loved one at home, these words are uttered more often than we’d like. As much as we dislike the fact that we see it, it’s often difficult to figure out how to get your loved one or one of the elders in your community to do something different. “S/He doesn’t really like anything but watching TV.”

But is that the truth?

In many cases, an individual that sits in front of the TV may have other interests, but others around them may not recognize the subtle cues given when an activity is not relevant, too difficult or maybe just not “real” for the person who’s being asked to participate.

Maybe the person is never asked or invited to participate. In your own experience, how much more complimentary is it when someone invites you to do something vs just telling you to do it? We all know the look we get from our kids, spouses, and/or partners when “the To-Do list” comes out. Basically, any method, real or imaginary, is created to get out of the activity.

So, what helps a person become more interested? Relevance, interest, invitation, and a desire to participate and see the outcome. That’s what we need to learn about the person we are interacting with… what makes them tick!

Once we find some areas of interest or ways for our loved one to be purposeful, then how we integrate those concepts and make them into activities and even roles.

But what if your loved one is going through a transition phase and what once was easy has become challenging or frustrating? Well, then it’s time to modify. Modification is a cornerstone to the Montessori philosophy for aging and dementia. It’s the method of looking at the activity and considering how to make it easier. Maybe there’s more matching instead of free thought, maybe there is listening or touching instead of reading? Maybe it is using larger items for ease in manipulation?

Please download our Lock and Keys activity that can be modified up or down from where it’s written… Let your imagination run wild and watch your loved one become engaged again!

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