Does your loved one sometimes play cards obsessively or seem to lose himself or herself to some other familiar activity, like painting, knitting, or raking leaves, for hours on end? Caregiver Gary Joseph LeBlanc, author of Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness, calls this activity a kind of "safety bubble" that people struggling with cognitive trouble often turn to during a moment of clarity. (For his dad, it was hours of solitaire.)
A soothing, repetitive activity allows the person with moderate dementia to block out the worry and effort involved in keeping on top of cognitive changes. So if you notice your loved one engaging in this sort of behavior, don't dissuade it, embrace it. It may be providing welcome sanctuary at a difficult time. You may even be able to interest your loved one in developing such a habit.
Other common examples:
Rummaging through drawers (Consider devoting a junk drawer to the purpose.)
Picking up sticks in the yard
Organizing a tool kit or tackle box
Dusting or vacuuming
Walking around a yard (safe if the area is secure) or room