Wii (We) Finally Get Started!

Leah Health Guide
  • The Wii has remained untouched since we got it, waiting for the company to send us a new receiver.  We finally got it today and the game works well!  My husband wants me to tell you that the hookup of the Wii console and receiver is not hard; on a scale of 1-10, with ten being the hardest, he says it’s probably a 4 or 5…I must tell you from my own experience that anyone with dementia is NOT going to be able to hook it up by him or herself.  Even now that it’s hooked up, my husband has to turn it on for me and get into the games.  He will be showing me how to do that within the next couple of days. I will have to write down the directions so I can work it on my own when he’s at work.  We spent this evening bowling which was great fun and gave us some needed exercise.  Though not aerobic in nature, it still got us up and moving.  We even played a little baseball…  The sports games come with the Wii console and provide some wonderful opportunities for fun.  I am looking forward to using the Wii balance board, which you have to buy separately.  It’s supposed to offer lots of balance exercises, etc.  I’ll report on that when I begin to use it.  We also got the Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader game—and have found out we were definitely NOT smarter!  I’m not sure I like that game!  As I get more experienced with the Wii and what it offers, I will report on what I find.

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    I met an old teacher friend today at the grocery store.  She asked why I don’t come by the school to see everyone.  I had to admit going back to the school was TOO HARD…I want so badly to teach again.  I miss it.  I miss the children.  I miss the old me…and my old abilities… I almost started crying talking about it with her.  I told her that I can’t remember names; I can’t follow directions…I don’t have what I used to have as a master teacher.  That is why I can’t substitute teach, which had been my plan upon retirement.  Mini strokes and vascular dementia stopped that dream…


    I suppose I’m feeling a bit melancholy today, though I shouldn’t be.  My neurologist says I’m doing okay and don’t have to go back (unless necessary) for six months.  I’m getting used to my glasses, which I am wearing after ten years of being glass-free.  My Lasik surgery isn’t holding, plus I am developing macular degeneration due to the extreme shape of my eyes…  Guess I have two choices:  I can get depressed over all my losses OR I can learn to love where I am, who I am, what I am and do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Though I’d like to quip “I’ll have to think about that”, I can’t.  I refuse to feel sorry for myself.  Even with my poor health and dementia, I still have a better quality of life than many others in the world.  I still have years to come of happiness and love and, hopefully, sight.  I have to live them as fully as I can.  What a waste it would be to do otherwise…


    With that in mind, I would like to offer some advice for caregivers:


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    1.  Concerning the Wii, I do believe it could be of great benefit for your loved one with early to moderate dementia.  It will give wonderful opportunities for communication and fellowship, as well as getting everyone up and moving.  The game keeps score, so you don’t have to do that.  Visually, the game is outstanding.  It is also very lifelike in its sounds.


    2.  Allow your loved one with dementia some time to mourn his/her loss.  Don’t pooh-pooh his/her feelings, but do try to change the atmosphere or the environment in order to pull him/her out of the mood gently.  Offer to play cards or take him/her to the store or to lunch…suggest he/she call an old friend or loved one…encourage him/her to talk about the past or about something which is comforting to him/her.  Take a walk.  Go for a ride.  Look at an old photo album.  Bake cookies together.  Get active.

Published On: December 12, 2008