After a senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of progressive dementia, daily life can feel like a riddle to be figured out. Considering there are several stages of the disease, it’s not uncommon to find a variety of activities that are soothing and enjoyable for the person in one stage, which then abruptly become less beneficial and even upsetting for the senior in the next stage.
- First of all, bear in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are usually most successful. This can include anything that brings gratification simply through participating in the activity, without a desired completed outcome or result.
- Also understand that pastimes and interests the senior has previously enjoyed may now induce aggravation or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making modifications can help. For instance, if the senior was a proficient violinist who is now unable to play, he may find pleasure in attending a musical performance or listening to favorite songs on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are especially beneficial in offering opportunities for self-expression, social connections, and decreased anxiety and agitation. They can also provide a great occasion for reminiscing and stirring memories. We suggest the following:
- Experiment with a variety of art forms – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Put together a small garden box (or take advantage of a larger outdoor space if practical) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a small trowel, plant seeds, and tend to the plants as they grow.
- Look for opportunities for purposeful tasks around the home, based on the senior’s ability level and interest. Folding clothing, 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, making sure to select tasks that are suitable for the senior: rolling out cookie dough, stirring together ingredients, and of course taste-testing!
- Reminisce over family photographs 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 further activity tactics for those with dementia, and for the highly skilled and individualized in-home dementia care services that allow family caregivers to take time to care for their own needs, contact Morning Glory Home Care, providers of the trusted Shiloh home care that seniors need, at 618-667- 8400.