Creating an Activity Box for a Colorado Senior with Alzheimer’s


activityboxDear Kirsten:

I recently became the primary caregiver for my 74 year old grandfather who lives with Alzheimer’s disease. One behavior I’m really struggling with since I’ve started caring for him is agitation. It seems worse in the late afternoon and early evening. I’m trying to help structure his day a little differently so he doesn’t get so tired and to come up with things he can do to stay busy. The nurse practitioner in my doctor’s office told me I should consider putting together activity boxes for him. Can you explain what they are and how I would create them?

Tina in Greeley, Colorado


Dear Tina:

It sounds like you are working hard to meet your grandfather’s needs. I know that can be difficult on both a physical and an emotional level. From what you’ve described, you are on the right track to helping decrease his agitation. For many families, agitation is one of the most challenging behaviors to manage.

The suggestion the nurse practitioner gave you is a good one. Activity boxes can help you give your grandfather productive ways to stay busy. Another benefit is that you can make one to take with you while you are waiting in doctor’s offices or at the barbershop.

Activity Boxes

Activity boxes can be created from plastic shoe boxes with a lid or even by using tote bags you already have on hand. Both make it easier to keep the items together.

There are a variety of themes you can use to make activity boxes effective tools for your grandfather. Begin by thinking about his work history, hobbies and interests. Was he an accountant, for example? You could assemble a box for him to use to “work.” It might include an old calculator with large numbers, ledger paper, pencils, blank invoices and other items that might be familiar to him from his working days. 

Another box could be filled with items related to a favorite hobby of his. If he loved to garden, for example, pull together a gardener’s box. You could include some plastic pots and containers, a small bag of potting soil, garden gloves, a trowel, a few packets of seeds, and gardening magazines.

Activity Box for the Car

Finally, if you would like make a small activity box to keep in your car, fill it with items he can sort and shuffle through to stay busy. Ideas could include an oversize deck of cards, poker chips, and small fabric or quilt squares. Copies of old family photos or a small family photo album are also easy items to keep in the box.

I hope this has given you a few ideas, Tina! Please contact us if there is anything we can do to help you in your caregiver role. 

Best Regards,



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