Remaining active and involved in meaningful hobbies is essential for our mental health. Most of us need to feel both successful and needed. This feeling does not change because of a diagnosis of dementia, although it might require some creative intent to accomplish. In fact, stimulating and enjoyable activities can lessen challenging symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as anger, anxiety, depression, agitation, as well as sundowning.
The trick is finding engaging dementia activities that are suitable for the person’s level of cognitive functioning. It is a matter of determining what stimulates engagement without causing unnecessary stress – something that may require a bit of trial and error.
Experiment with these tips to see what works best for a senior you love with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Get outside. Whenever weather allows, merely being outdoors can offer instant happiness and gratification. Pick some fresh flowers and then take a walk to deliver them to a friend. Read a book aloud 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.
- Do laundry. There is nothing like the scent of freshly washed laundry that has been hanging outside to dry! Offer the older adult some freshly laundered hand towels, wash cloths, pillowcases, socks, etc. and ask for their help in folding.
- Construct a memory box. A simple memory box can be made specific to the senior’s interests. For example, a retired carpenter’s box might have PVC pipe, nuts, bolts, tools, pieces of wood, etc. Someone who enjoys baking may like looking through a box filled with measuring cups and spoons, recipe cards, a whisk, etc. When completed, reminisce with the older adult about what it was like working with those items. You might be amazed at the memories they conjure.
- Make decorations. There are a variety of handmade decoration ideas for the holidays, but you do not really need to wait until December to get crafty. Thread big wooden beads or even dry penne pasta into jewelry for the grandkids. Make a scrapbook from photos – or, adorn picture frames to display favorite photographs in a prominent place in the house. The ideas are limitless – but the objective is to create something useful or thoughtful.
- Help someone who needs it. In the event that the individual is passionate about a certain cause, such as helping the homeless or volunteering at the children’s hospital, think of ways they can still make a difference for that cause. Perhaps you could collect warm clothes for a local shelter, enlisting the senior’s assistance with sorting and packing them into bags to deliver. Or, select toys together and drop them off for children in the hospital.
Absolute Companion Care, one of the top in-home nursing agencies in Towson, MD and the surrounding communities, is brimming with all sorts of imaginative and engaging dementia activities to help senior loved ones continue to live purposeful, rewarding lives. Call us today at 410-357-9640 to schedule a no-cost in-home consultation to learn more about how we can help someone you love.