Remaining active and involved in meaningful interests is very important for our mental health. Every one of us needs to feel both needed and successful. This feeling doesn’t disappear because of a diagnosis of dementia, though it might require some creativity to achieve. As a matter of fact, stimulating and enjoyable activities can minimize difficult symptoms of the disease such as anxiety, anger, agitation, depression, and even sundowning for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
The important thing is discovering activities that are suitable for the person’s level of cognitive functioning. It is important to determine what invokes engagement without producing undue stress – something that might require a bit of trial and error.
Try out these tips to see what works well for a senior you love with dementia.
- Go outdoors. Whenever weather allows, just being out of the house can offer instant happiness and gratification. Pick a bouquet of flowers and then go for a walk to bring them to a neighbor. Read a book aloud or reminisce through a photo album together on the deck. Set up a table with potting soil, containers, seedlings and succulents, and make a small garden.
- Do laundry. There’s almost nothing like the fragrance of laundry that has been hanging outside to dry! Offer the older adult some freshly laundered shirts, sheets, hand towels, socks, etc. and ask for their help in folding.
- Construct a memory box. A simple memory box can be customized to the person’s interests. For example, a retired carpenter’s box might have nuts, bolts, pieces of PVC pipe, blocks of wood, sandpaper, etc. Somebody who loves baking may enjoy looking through a box filled with measuring cups and spoons, recipe cards, a whisk, etc. Once completed, reminisce with the senior about what it was like using those objects. You might be surprised at the memories they conjure.
- Make decorations. There are numerous handmade decoration ideas when it comes to holidays, but you do not need to hold off until December to start crafting. String big wooden beads or even dry tube-shaped pasta into jewelry for the grandchildren. Make an album from photos – or, decorate 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 thoughtful.
- Help another in need. In the event that the older adult is passionate about a specific cause, such as helping the homeless or volunteering at the children’s hospital, think of ways they can continue to have an impact in that arena. Perhaps you could collect coats for a local shelter, enlisting the senior’s assistance with sorting and packing them into bags to deliver. Or, make cards together and drop them off for children in the hospital.
Anthem Home Care’s experts in home care in Portland, TX and the surrounding areas are chock-full of all sorts of creative strategies to help people with dementia continue to live meaningful, gratifying lives. Call us at 361-643-2323 to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more about how we can help someone you love.