Uncovering purpose, meaning, and joy in the community all around us is a must for our wellbeing, and that doesn’t change when a person is diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease. Yet continuing to remain engaged in hobbies and interests could become challenging, since it’s not unusual for many in the early stages of dementia to withdraw from activities which were once gratifying.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and supply support to stay engaged is key. These pointers can help:
- Identify the senior’s best time of day. If your family member is an early riser but begins to lose energy later during the day, shape the day’s routines around that schedule, like taking an early morning walk and then working on an activity with each other.
- Bring the past to the present. With long-term memory usually stronger in individuals with Alzheimer’s than short-term memory, take advantage of what the senior’s life was like during a certain period, such as during his or her career, and customize activities accordingly. For instance, a retired art teacher may choose to paint a picture, while a homemaker may possibly prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting your senior loved one know that he or she is needed is an effective confidence booster, and very important to self-worth. Ask your loved one to help you with baking some cookies, in whatever means is suitable based on the stage of the dementia – even if it is merely mixing a bowl of flour and salt together. Or perhaps bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the senior help you sort them.
Through the entire process of engaging in activities, keep the following in mind:
- Set aside enough time for the senior loved one to work at his or her own pace.
- Try to avoid “taking over,” but offer encouragement and supervision as needed and accepted.
- Give straight-forward directions, one step at a time, so as not to overwhelm a senior loved one.
- Focus more interest on the activity itself, as opposed to an expected result.
- Remain flexible, understanding the senior may all of a sudden choose to change course.
Most important of all, concentrate on the quality time you are spending together with a senior loved one. If a certain activity isn’t intriguing to the senior now, simply enjoy a conversation and reminiscing together, and try the activity again at another time.
The highly trained dementia care team at Enhanced Home Care is extensively trained and experienced in innovative, effective approaches to helping seniors remain active and engaged in the world around them, and we are always on hand to give you helpful resources, tips, and the in-home care that families trust.
Call us at 913-327-0000 to learn more about our top-rated senior care in Johnson County, KS and to request a complimentary in-home consultation. Let us help a cherished older adult find a renewed zest for life, every day!