Remaining active and involved in meaningful interests is vital for our mental health. Every one of us needs to feel both successful and needed. This feeling doesn’t go away because of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, although it may require some imagination to attain. As a matter of fact, stimulating and rewarding activities for dementia patients can lessen difficult symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as depression, agitation, anxiety, anger and also sundowning.
The secret is discovering activities that are ideal for the person’s level of cognitive functioning. It’s a matter of determining what invokes engagement without causing undue aggravation – something that might necessitate a bit of trial and error.
Try out these ideas to discover what works for a senior you love with dementia.
- Go outdoors. Weather permitting, simply getting out of the house can offer immediate satisfaction and gratification. Pick some fresh flowers and then go for a walk to bring them to a friend. Read a book out loud or reminisce through a photo album together on the front porch. Set up a table with plants, soil, and pots, and create a small container garden.
- Fold laundry. There’s nothing like the scent of laundry that’s been hanging outside to dry! Offer the older adult some freshly laundered wash cloths, pillowcases, towels, etc. and ask for their help in folding.
- Construct a memory box. A simple memory box can be crafted specific to the senior’s interests. For example, a retired carpenter’s box might include bits of PVC pipe, nuts, bolts, tools, pieces of wood, etc. An individual who loves baking may appreciate looking through a box filled with a whisk, cups and spoons, recipe cards, etc. Once completed, reminisce with the senior about what it was like using those objects. You might be amazed at the memories they invoke.
- Make decorations. There are lots of hand-crafted decoration ideas when it comes to holidays, but you don’t really need to wait until December to get crafty. Thread big wooden beads or even dry tube-shaped pasta into bracelets or necklaces for the grandchildren. Put together a scrapbook from photographs – or, embellish picture frames to display favorite images in a prominent place in the house. The ideas are endless – but the goal is to make something useful or meaningful.
- Help another in need. If the senior is passionate about a specific cause, such as assisting the homeless or volunteering at the children’s hospital, think of ways that they can continue to have an impact in that area. Perhaps you could collect coats for a local shelter, enlisting the senior’s help in sorting and packing them into bags to deliver. Or, select toys together and drop them off for children in the hospital.
Home With You Senior Care’s caregivers are chock-full of additional imaginative ideas to help older adults with dementia continue to live purposeful, enjoyable lives. Call the experts in senior care in Manchester, MD today at 410-756-0959 to schedule a cost-free in-home assessment to learn more about how we can help someone you love. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.