Finding purpose, meaning, and joy in the world around us is very important for our wellbeing, and that doesn’t change when someone is identified as having Alzheimer’s disease. Yet continuing to remain involved with hobbies and interests may become difficult, since it’s not unusual for individuals during the early stages of dementia to withdraw from pastimes that were once pleasurable.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and offer encouragement to keep active is key. The following tips should help:
- Establish the older adult’s best time of day. If, for example, your loved one is an early riser but starts to lose energy later on during the day, shape the day’s experiences around that schedule, including taking an early morning walk and then working on an activity with each other.
- Bring the past in to the present. With long-term memory typically stronger in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, tap into what the senior’s life was like during a particular period, such as during his or her career, and individualize activities accordingly. For instance, a retired art teacher might want to paint a picture, while a homemaker might prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting your senior loved one know that he or she is needed is a wonderful esteem booster, and vital for self-worth. Ask a senior loved one to help you with baking some sweets, in whatever means is appropriate based on the stage of the dementia – even if it’s simply mixing a bowl of flour and salt together. Or bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the older adult help you sort them.
Through the process of engaging in activities, bear the following in mind:
- Permit ample time for the senior loved one to work at his / her own pace.
- Try to avoid “taking over,” but offer encouragement and supervision as needed and accepted.
- Offer straight-forward directions, one step at a time, in order not to overwhelm the individual.
- Pay more interest to the activity itself, versus an expected outcome.
- Remain flexible, understanding the senior may all of a sudden elect to change course.
Most importantly, concentrate on the quality time you’re spending together with your senior loved one. If a certain activity isn’t interesting to the senior now, simply take joy in a discussion and reminiscing together, and try the activity again at a different time.
The professional dementia care team at Grace Home Care is extensively trained and experienced in imaginative, effective approaches to helping seniors remain active and involved with the world around them, and we are always readily available to deliver helpful resources, tips, plus the in-home care that families trust.
Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 to learn more about our memory care in Topeka, KS, and ask about a complimentary consultation, in the familiarity of home, and help a cherished older adult find a renewed zest for life, every day!