If a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another kind of progressive dementia, everyday life can seem like a puzzle to be solved. Considering that there are varied stages of the disease, it’s common to find a number of activities that are comforting and purposeful for the older person in one stage, which can suddenly become less effective and even frustrating for the senior later.
- First, bear in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are usually most successful. This can consist of anything that brings gratification simply through engaging in the activity, without a designated finished outcome or result.
- Also understand that pastimes and interests the senior has formerly enjoyed may now bring about discouragement or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making adjustments can help. For instance, if the senior was a skilled guitar player who is no longer able to play, he may find enjoyment in attending a musical performance or listening to favorite songs on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are especially beneficial in providing opportunities for self-expression, social connections, and decreased anxiety and agitation. They can also provide a great occasion for reminiscing and stirring memories. We recommend the following:
- Experiment with a variety of art mediums – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Make a small garden box (or use a larger outdoor space if manageable) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a trowel, plant seeds, and care for the plants as they grow.
- Allow for opportunities for meaningful jobs around the home, based on the senior’s ability level and desire. Folding laundry, wiping off the table, sorting buttons, nuts and bolts, or silverware, sweeping the floor, etc.
- Pull together beloved family recipes and work together on baking them; again, identifying tasks that are appropriate for the senior: rolling out pie crust, stirring together 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 slow down as well, and provides the opportunity to create fond new memories together.
For more activity suggestions for family members with dementia, and for the highly specialized and customized in-home dementia care services that allow family care providers to take time to care for their own needs, contact Live Free Home Health Care, providers of the trusted in home care Franklin seniors need, at 603-217-0149.