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Welcome to Keeping Busy

Family Caregivers

Being a caregiver for someone with dementia is a challenging and difficult role. You want to enjoy time together, help the person, find ways to make them happy. We can help.

Our products are designed to help the person be successful, to allow them to feel a real sense of accomplishment. The comprehensive instructions included with each product detail how to present the activity in a way that matches the abilities of the person - challenging without allowing them to become frustrated. Activities are broken down into small, achievable steps. Templates are used to help the person understand the task without having to use words to explain it. Color coding guides the person.


Our products...

  • Provide meaningful engagement and are fun to do
  • Encourage conversation and reminiscing
  • Include templates, color coding and sequencing to guide the person to success, without becoming frustrated
  • Come with complete instructions detailing how to present the activity and adjust its use according to the needs of the person
  • Are designed following Montessori principles which have been proven to be highly effective.
  • Are ideal at home, when visiting in a facility and as gifts

A client tells us...

When home care respite workers visit her husband, they use her Keeping Busy activities. Because he is familiar with them, their visits are now more engaging and meaningful.

How Do I Choose?

Most of our activities are of general interest and appeal to almost everyone, but it is best if the activity, at least in some way, is familiar to the person. If the person enjoyed dominoes, Match the Dots is a good choice. If they liked doing puzzles, any of the puzzle activities would make sense. Those are obvious choices, but the connection doesn't have to be that direct.

If the person enjoyed woodworking or building things, for example, they might particularly enjoy any of the Traditional Montessori activities with their solid, smooth shapes and pieces, or perhaps the Tangram with its nice woodgrain finish. Quilters enjoy the Blue Triangles because piecing them together reminds them of sewing together the pieces of a quilt.

You know the person, what they did and what they enjoyed. Try to choose activities that are consistent with their past hobbies and interests.

Some ideas to help get started...

Activities that appeal to most people...

(click on image for details)

  • WaterDoodle Grab & Go
  • Puzzles
  • WaterDoodle
  • Puzzles
  • ColorConnect
  • Games
  • ColorConnect
  • Games

Activities that encourage
discussion and reminiscing...

(click on image for details)

    • Readers
    • Expressions
    • Readers
    • Expressions
    • Match the Photos
    • Sequenced Puzzles
    • Match the
    • Sequenced

Activities that can be done
with little supervision...

(click on image for details)

  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Match the Suits
  • Jigsaw Puzzles*
  • Match the
  • WaterDoodle Grab & Go
  • Word Search
  • WaterDoodle*
  • Word Search*

* Depending on person's abilities


How do I choose an activity?

There are several things to consider when choosing an activity. The most important is that the activity is of interest to the person. If the person never showed an interest in doing puzzles, for example, then a puzzle would likely be a poor choice.

The activity should be within their abilities so that they do not become frustrated. The level of difficulty in almost all of our activities can be adjusted to match the abilities of the person, but sometimes there are physical impairments that affect your choice. For example, if the person has very poor eyesight then an activity such as our Word Search puzzles may not be appropriate.

Another thing to consider when choosing an activity is that it meets your goals. Some activities offer more cognitive exercise while others may offer more opportunity to encourage conversation, for example. The bar graph in the description of each activity give you an indication of these benefits.

Click here to see our full article on choosing an activity.

What's a good activity to start with?

There's no easy answer to this because each person is different. However, from our experience we have found that the best choices are the items that we have included in our Visitor/Gift Ideas, in particular the WaterDoodle Grab & Go, Tangram, Sequenced Puzzles (if the person enjoys jigsaw puzzles) and the Word Search Grab & Go (if the person enjoys word games).

How do I know if a particular product is suitable?

Most of our products are designed to be adaptable so that the same product can be used by people at different stages of dementia - exceptions to this are noted at the bottom of each product description.

One of the principles of a Montessori-based activity is that the same activity can be adapted as the dementia progresses, and our activities follow this principle. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized. If someone is familiar with an activity they will be more likely to retain the ability to use that activity as the dementia progresses. This is a huge benefit and much easier than trying to introduce a new activity.

Of course, it is very important that you should consider the persons interests when selecting an activity, and physical disabilities may limit their ability to do certain things. See our article "How to Choose an Activity" for more information.


Will I be able to present the activity effectively?

The simple answer is "yes". All of our activities come with complete instructions that describe how to prepare for the activity, how to introduce it, and how to adjust the level of difficulty based on the person's response. If you need further assistance, we're available to help. Click here to download sample instructions.

Will the person like the activity?

There's no easy answer to that question.If you have chosen an activity based on the interests of the person, then the answer is likely "yes". For example, if the person used to enjoy word search puzzles (or other word games), then they will likely enjoy our word searches as they are specifically designed for people with dementia. On the other hand, if the person never showed interest in word games then word search puzzles might be a poor choice (and the same would apply to our Sequenced Jigsaw puzzles).

If you choose an activity of general interest, then likely the answer is "yes". Our products are designed to be appealing to people with dementia, to encourage conversation and reminiscing and to instill a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.