Pocket Packs might be our favorite product for people with dementia and Alzheimer's. They are convenient, easy to use, appealing to the interests of many and can be offered to provide appropriate challenge for different levels of ability. They come about as close to "one size fits all" as possible.
There are five different Pocket Packs, including
- Dice game
- Playing card sorting
- Photo strip puzzle
- "Expressions" word game
- Photo matching activity
They are each packaged in a small ziplock bag that easily fits in your pocket, purse or bag wherever you go. They are ready to use anytime you need to quickly and effectively engage someone with dementia. Pocket Packs are available as a Grab & Go set with one of each activity, or in sets of four of each activity.
We think that the Pocket Packs are such a great way to engage people with dementia quickly and easily that we've lowered the price on the sets of four and introduced a new bundle that includes four of each of the five Pocket Pack activities (total of 20 activities) at a special low price.
See them all on our website.
Ways to use Pocket Packs
Assess a person’s level of ability
These are simple activities that will quickly demonstrate the over-learned skills the person has retained, for example, handling playing cards with ease, rolling dice naturally. Knowing these skills can help us better determine appropriate activities.
When you aren’t sure what activity may be suitable for a person
A Pocket Pack Collection is a great starting point for someone that is looking for new ways to engage a dementia patient. If the person is no longer interested in playing the card games they used to enjoy or work on a jigsaw puzzle, the Pocket Pack activities can enable the person to feel successful with those pastimes once again. The instructions have suggestions as to how to introduce the materials and guide the person to interact with them in a way that fosters self-esteem and can be a springboard to more challenging activities by gradually building on their success (see section below).
To prevent boredom
A Pocket Pack can be used to engage someone with dementia when they might otherwise be bored, while waiting for an appointment for example, or waiting for mealtime or when the entertainment/programming isn’t appropriate for them. They can quickly and easily transform ten minutes into an engaging, beneficial pastime for the person. As well, there is a lasting, positive effect on the person’s mood after engaging in a meaningful activity.
For summer students or volunteers
Have a variety of Pocket Packs available where they sign in and encourage them to use them to make their visits with residents more engaging. Ensure that you have demonstrated the use of the materials and explained how they can modify them each time they use them. Ideally there would be suggestions as to which residents enjoy specific activities and details regarding their preferences.
Be prepared by tucking one in your pocket (or in your bag), then seize the opportunity to have a positive impact on someone’s day.
For people visiting at home
When people visit someone with dementia they are often at a loss as to what to do or say. By having a Pocket Pack or two available it provides the visitor with an easy and fun way to engage with the person, making it a better visit for both.
Adding More Challenge to the Pocket PacksIf the person is successful with the Pocket Packs, and enjoys them, here are some ways to make them more challenging:
- Playing Cards: Use a full deck (of large index cards) instead of the 13 cards in the Pocket Pack. Play other simplified games as described in our article.
- Strip Puzzle: Make a copy of the completed puzzle and cut the numbers off the original puzzle strips. Use the copy as a template and have the person place the strips on the template. If the person is successful, use the strips (now without numbers) on their own. You can also make your own strip puzzle from a favorite picture with or without the numbers. For additional challenge cut the picture into more than 8 strips
- Photo Cards: Make a copy of the cards arranged in two rows of three cards then cut off the labels and have the person match the card to the template or the label to the card.
- Dice: Play a Yahtzee-like game as described in our article.