Once a close relative is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive dementia, daily life can feel more like a riddle to be figured out. Considering that there are various stages of the disease, it’s common to determine certain activities that are calming and meaningful for the person in one stage, which can then suddenly become less effective and even frustrating for the senior.
- First of all, bear in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are in many instances most rewarding. This can include anything that brings satisfaction simply through engagement, without a planned completed outcome or result.
- Also know that hobbies and interests the individual has previously enjoyed may now cause aggravation or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making adjustments can help. For instance, if the senior was a proficient pianist who is now unable to play, she may find enjoyment in attending a musical performance or listening to favorite music on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are especially helpful in providing opportunities for self-expression, social connectivity, and reduced anxiety and agitation. They can also offer a great occasion for reminiscing and stirring memories. We advise the following:
- Experiment with an assortment of art mediums – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Create a small garden box (or use a larger outdoor space if manageable) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a small trowel, plant seeds, and take care of the plants as they grow.
- Provide opportunities for purposeful tasks around the residence, based on the person’s ability level and desire. Folding laundry, wiping off the table, sorting buttons, nuts and bolts, or silverware, sweeping the floor, etc.
- Pull out beloved family recipes and work together on preparing them; again, choosing tasks that are suitable for the senior: rolling out pie crust, mixing ingredients, and of course taste-testing!
- Reminisce over family photographs and videos.
Enjoying quality time with a senior loved one helps the family caregiver to relax as well, and provides the opportunity to create fond new memories together.
For further activity tips 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 Enhanced Home Care, providers of the trusted home care Kansas City, MO seniors need, at 913-327-0000.