My mom has moderate Alzheimer's disease, she cannot see well because of her glaucoma (a decision she made years ago has caused her glaucoma to make her blind in one eye) and doesn't hear well. I am anxious to hear what household activities I can give mom to do. Right now, she can dry the dishes (when she feels like it) and help fold socks and underwear. She makes her own bed and picks out her own clothes. She is eager to help me, but honestly, it makes more work for me. For example, if she wants to put dishes away, I have to guide her hand to the shelf every time. Then the dementia kicks in and I have to remind her what she's doing. She is still able to understand when I say to her "Mom. if you could see I'd have you do...." It's frustrating for both of us.
Is her vision in her one eye good enough that she could dust tables, windex glass top tables, clean the bathroom mirrors, the glass shower door? Folding anything is good. Clean the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator? Mind you they will not be as clean you would get them. But if you can accept that and express your appreciation that will be okay. It will be in better shape than it was before she began. The next day after she has forgotten her work you can take a few moments to take care of what she missed. It makes your workload easier and let's her contribute.
It would have to be something easy and not 'dangerous' - dusting might work as long as there are no breakables. She'd probably keep dusting the same table but so what - it's all about being needed I think.
Once she has done them tell her that you will put them away and if sh is up to it you have some socks to pair. Tell her that they are all the same color so they are all the same.
When she has done them you can start the process over.
Take the same towels, the same socks and have her fold them every day.
You could give her "silverware" to "polish" ..a few pieces of silverware and a cloth would keep her busy.
If you don't have enough towels or socks at home a resale shop would be an inexpensive place to get some.
How about cutting coupons? Even if you never use them it is a "project"
Do you have a lot of plastic storage bowls? You could remove all the lids and then ask if she could put the lids on so you can put them away.
When the dishes are done could you give her the silverware and a plastic silverware tray and ask if she could place the spoons, forks knives (table knives not sharp ones) in the holder and then you can put it back in the drawer. She can do that sitting at the table while you do the rest of the dishes.
She could be given the "job" of wiping the table after meals.
Thank you for wanting to make her feel needed and useful. And bless her for still wanting to help out.
Also, it depends on her level of progression, but, sometimes there are activity boards that the person may find amusing. There are websites where you can find them. Some are geared for those with dementia, visually impaired, etc. It provides something to do with your hands and keeps the mind busy too. Of course, with the short term memory declining, you often have to support them in using the devices, reminding them, encouraging them to use them, but, that's just something that can't be avoided. I don't know of any activities that the person with dementia would be able to do on their own initiative and accomplish without direction and supervision.