Sorting, fiddling. stacking or ripping……Have all of your friends start saving their JUNK MAIL ,catalogs/ and magazines!
One of the best daily activities for someone at home or in a facility is “reading” the mail. Remember, this has probably been something that has been routine for many many years. Have a stack of mail ready at all times and if you are in a facility, walk or wheel to the front desk to “get the mail” and keep a box or bin ready with your resident’s name on it. At home, walk to the mailbox and replace your mail with an assortment from your saved “stash”. You might say something like, “Look Dad, we only got junk mail today….Why don’t you go through this and see what we need to keep?” Label two small shopping bags with “KEEP” and “TRASH” if reading is still a skill that is present.
A letter opener or scissors (even child type) may not be appropriate or safe depending on the stage and capabilities of your loved one with dementia/ Alzheimer’s. Safety is always the first priority. Envelopes can be opened ahead of time but consider giving the chance to rip them open first. In fact, ripping open mail could be very satisfying!
I found a great letter holder/ organizer at TJ Maxx for under $20. and this particular one had a chalkboard on the front so that I could write the date or something else meaningful.
I have it in the back of my mind to establish a Mail Room in the facility where I work for those who want to help out. There could be some type of cubby or mailbox for each resident and mailing labels could go on the various people’s junk mail. It would then be sorted, filed and passed out (and even later recycled). There could be a time, say after breakfast, when this activity would take place. A couple of dedicated volunteers would be needed to help implement this, but wouldn’t everyone benefit from such a simple Daily Living Activity!?