Seeking purpose, meaning, and joy in the world all around us is extremely important for our wellbeing, and that does not change when a loved one is identified as having Alzheimer’s disease. Nonetheless, continuing to stay involved with hobbies and interests could become difficult, given that it’s common for people during the early stages of dementia to withdraw from tasks that had once been gratifying.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and offering engaging activities for older adults is key. These pointers should help:
- Determine the senior’s best time of day. If, for example, your family member is an early riser but starts to lose energy later in the day, frame the day’s activities around that schedule, like taking an early morning walk and then engaging in an activity together.
- Bring the past into the present. With long-term memory frequently stronger than short-term memory in those with Alzheimer’s, tap into what the older adult’s life was like during a specific time period, such as during his / her career, and individualize activities accordingly. For example, a retired art teacher may choose to paint a picture, while a homemaker may prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting your loved one know that she or he is needed is a great confidence booster, and vital for self-worth. Ask your senior loved one to assist you in baking some sweets, in whatever means is suitable in line with the stage of the dementia – even if it’s only stirring a bowl of flour and salt together. Or bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the individual help you sort them.
Throughout the process of participating in activities, keep the following in mind:
- Set aside ample time for the older adult to work at his or her own pace.
- Refrain from “taking over,” but offer support and supervision as required and accepted.
- Offer simple directions, one step at a time, in order not to ever overwhelm the individual.
- Focus more attention on the activity itself, rather than an anticipated result.
- Continue to be flexible, understanding the senior may, without warning, elect to change course.
Most importantly of all, concentrate on the high-quality time you are spending with your family member. If a specific activity isn’t intriguing to the senior now, simply take joy in a discussion and reminiscing together, and try the activity again at a different time.
The knowledgeable dementia care team at Inspired Home Care is thoroughly trained and experienced in creative, effective ways to help the elderly remain active and involved with the world around them, and we are always readily available to present helpful resources, tips, and the in-home care that families trust.
Contact us at 847-787-7572 to learn more about our top-rated elderly care in Chicago and to request a free, in-home consultation. Let us help your loved one discover a renewed zest for life, each and every day!