Once a close relative is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of progressive dementia, everyday life can feel as though it’s a riddle to be figured out. Given that there are several stages of the disease, it’s not uncommon to come up with a variety of activities that are pleasing and enjoyable for the senior in one stage, which can then become less beneficial and even aggravating for the senior.
- First of all, keep in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are usually most successful. This can consist of anything that brings satisfaction simply through engaging in the activity, without a designated completed outcome or result.
- Also be aware that pastimes and interests the person has formerly enjoyed may now cause discouragement or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making adjustments can help. For example, if the senior was a talented pianist who is no longer able to play, she may find pleasure in attending a concert or listening to favorite songs on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are particularly helpful in offering opportunities for self-expression, social connectivity, and decreased anxiety and agitation. They can also offer a great opportunity for reminiscing and stirring memories. We advise the following:
- Experiment with a number of art forms – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Create a small garden box (or take advantage of a larger outdoor space if feasible) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a small trowel, plant seeds, and tend to the plants as they grow.
- Provide opportunities for meaningful jobs around the residence, according to the person’s ability level and interest. Folding laundry, wiping off the table, sorting buttons, nuts and bolts, or silverware, sweeping the floor, etc.
- Pull out popular family recipes and work together on preparing them; again, selecting tasks that are suitable for the senior: rolling out pie crust, mixing ingredients, and of course taste-testing!
- Reminisce over family pictures and movies.
Enjoying quality time with a senior loved one helps the family caregiver to unwind as well, and provides the opportunity to create fond new memories together.
For more activity tactics for older adults with dementia, and for the highly specialized and customized in-home dementia care services that allow family members to take time to care for their own needs, contact Grace Home Care, providers of the trusted Alzheimer’s care Topeka seniors need, at 708-286-2273.