Watching a beloved family member go through the aging process can be devastating.
Worldwide, an estimated 47 million people have some form of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. If someone in your family has received this diagnosis, you may feel overwhelmed by the thought of providing the care they need.
Read on to learn more about dementia and activities for seniors that may be able to help your loved one.
People with dementia are not disabled. Their minds may work slower than average, but they are not physically ill.
Most seniors with dementia are still capable of performing basic tasks and participating in conversations. Carefully planned activities can offer a sense of achievement and help to stimulate enthusiasm.
Many facilities offer activities for seniors that are specially designed for dementia patients. The goals of these activities include:
- Stirring old memories
- Making emotional connections
- Encouraging self-expression
- Reducing anxiety and irritability
- Increasing engagement with one's surroundings
What are some of the best activities to accomplish these goals?
Beneficial activities for seniors with dementia
1. Simple household tasks
Someone suffering from dementia may be frustrated by his or her limitations. Asking them to help with basic tasks around the house can give them a sense of purpose.
What did they enjoy doing most when their minds were healthy? If they liked being in the kitchen, perhaps they could help wash vegetables or dry dishes. If they enjoyed reading the newspaper, ask them to relay the latest news events.
2. Basic arts and crafts
Research suggests that artistic activities for seniors may improve cognition, coordination, and overall well-being.
Many seniors with dementia find great pleasure in arts and craft projects. Some ideas include:
- Jewelry making
3. Cooking or baking
Even those with advanced dementia may be able to follow a simple recipe.
Cooking an old favorite recipe or baking a batch of cookies is a great way to spend time with your loved one. The familiar smells and flavors may also help stimulate their memory!
4. Animal therapy
A beloved pet can have a calming, positive effect on someone suffering from dementia.
If your loved one doesn't have a personal pet, perhaps you can take advantage of companion animals at a care facility. Or, if they're up for it, treat them to a trip to the local zoo!
5. Tending or visiting a garden
People of all ages enjoy gardening, including elderly ones. Keep them active by enlisting their help in simple gardening tasks suitable for their health level.
If you don't have a garden to work in, perhaps a trip to a nearby park or botanical garden would be a pleasant diversion!
6. Memory games or board games
Board games aren't just for kids. Seniors with dementia may play happily for hours on old favorites such as Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, or Candyland.
You can also help keep their minds active by asking questions about their childhood or other parts of history. You might be surprised by how much they still remember!
7. Music therapy
Depending on the individual, this could include listening to music, playing an instrument, singing, or dancing.
Where to learn more
We, at The Independent Living Center, are dedicated to giving everyone the highest quality of life - including those with dementia and Alzheimer's.
We invite you to learn more about the many services we offer.
You're also welcome to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have!