When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive dementia, everyday life can feel like a puzzle to be solved. Since there are various stages of the disease, it’s common to discover a variety of activities that are calming and meaningful for the senior in one stage, which can suddenly become less effective and even agitating for the senior.
- First, keep in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are often most successful. This includes anything that brings enjoyment simply through engagement, without an intended finished outcome or result.
- Also note that hobbies and interests the senior has previously enjoyed may now result in frustration or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making adjustments can help. For instance, if the senior was a talented pianist who is now unable to play, she may find pleasure in attending a piano concert or listening to favorite piano music on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are especially beneficial in providing opportunities for self-expression, social connections, and reduced anxiety and agitation. They can also offer a great opportunity for reminiscing and stirring memories. We recommend the following:
- Experiment with an assortment of art mediums – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Create a small garden box (or utilize a larger outdoor space if feasible) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a trowel, plant seeds, and tend to the plants as they grow.
- Provide opportunities for meaningful tasks around the home, based on the person’s ability level and interest. Folding laundry, wiping off the table, sorting buttons, nuts and bolts, or silverware, sweeping the floor, etc.
- Pull out favorite family recipes and work together on baking them, again, choosing tasks that are appropriate for the senior: rolling out cookie dough, mixing ingredients, and of course taste-testing!
- Reminisce over family photos and videos.
Spending 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 additional activity ideas for those with dementia, and for the highly specialized and personalized in-home Alzheimer’s care services that allow family members to take time to care for their own needs, contact Absolute Companion Care, providers of the trusted Alzheimer’s care Towson, MD seniors need, at 410-357-9640.