Finding purpose, meaning, and joy in the world all around us is crucial for our wellbeing, and that does not change when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, continuing to remain engaged in hobbies and interests can become difficult, given that it’s very common for those in the early stages of dementia to withdraw from tasks which were once relaxing.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and offer encouragement to stay active is key. These tips might help:
- Establish the senior’s best time of day. If your loved one is an early riser but starts to lose energy later on in the day, shape the day’s experiences around that schedule; for example, taking an early morning walk and then working on a household task together.
- Bring the past into the present. With long-term memory usually stronger in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, take advantage of what the senior’s life was like during the course of a certain timeframe, such as during his / her career, and customize activities accordingly. As an example, a retired art teacher may choose to paint a picture, whereas a homemaker might prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting your loved one know that she or he is needed is an esteem booster, and necessary for self-worth. Ask your loved one to assist you in baking cookies, in whatever means is suitable based on the stage of the dementia – even if it’s simply stirring a bowl of flour and salt together. Or alternatively, bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the senior help you to sort them.
Through the entire process of engaging in activities, bear the following in mind:
- Permit plenty of time for the senior loved one to work at his or her own pace.
- Abstain from “taking over,” but offer assistance and supervision as required and accepted.
- Provide uncomplicated directions, one step at a time, in order to never overwhelm the individual.
- Pay more attention to the activity itself, versus an expected outcome.
- Continue being flexible, understanding the older adult may all of a sudden elect to change course.
Most importantly, concentrate on the quality time you are spending with a senior loved one. If a particular activity isn’t intriguing to the senior now, simply enjoy a conversation and reminiscing together, and try the activity again at another time.
The professional dementia care team at Absolute Companion Care is thoroughly trained and experienced in imaginative, effective approaches to helping the elderly remain active and engaged in the world around them, and we are always readily available to supply helpful resources, tips, plus the in-home care that families trust.