Continuing to be active and involved in meaningful pursuits is incredibly important for our mental health. We all need to feel both needed and successful. This feeling does not change because of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, though it may require some creativity to attain. In fact, stimulating and worthwhile activities can lessen stressful symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as anger, anxiety, depression, agitation as well as sundowning.
The important thing is finding activities that are appropriate for the person’s level of cognitive functioning. It is all about discovering what leads to engagement without producing undue aggravation – something that may necessitate a bit of experimentation.
Try these suggestions to see what works for a senior you love with dementia.
- Go outdoors. Whenever the weather is nice, simply being out of the house can offer instant pleasure. Pick some flowers and then take a walk to bring them to a friend. Read a book aloud or reminisce through a photo album together on the deck. Set up a table with plants, soil, and pots, and make a small container garden.
- Fold laundry. There is nothing like the aroma of laundry that’s been hanging outside to dry! Give the senior some freshly laundered wash cloths, pillowcases, towels, etc. and request their help in folding.
- Create a memory box. A simple memory box can be made specific to the senior’s interests. As an example, a retired carpenter’s box might contain nuts, bolts, pieces of PVC pipe, blocks of wood, sandpaper, etc. An individual who loves baking may like looking through a box containing a whisk, cups and spoons, recipe cards, etc. When completed, reminisce with the senior about what it was like working with those items. You might be amazed at the memories they bring to mind.
- Make decorations. There are numerous handmade decoration ideas for the holidays, but you do not have to wait until December to start crafting. String large wooden beads or even dry penne pasta into necklaces or bracelets for the grandkids. Create an album from photographs – or, embellish picture frames to display favorite photos in a prominent place in the house. The ideas are limitless – but the objective is to produce something useful or meaningful.
- Help another in need. If the elderly individual is passionate about a specific cause, such as taking care of the homeless or volunteering at the children’s medical center, think of ways that they can continue to have an impact in that area. Maybe you could collect coats for a local shelter, enlisting the senior’s help in sorting and packing them into bags to deliver. Or, make cards together and drop them off for hospitalized children.
Inspired Home Care’s experts in home care in Palatine, IL and the surrounding areas are chock-full of all sorts of creative strategies to keep people with Alzheimer’s engaged and able to continue to live purposeful, enjoyable lives. Call us at 847-787-7572 to schedule a free in-home assessment to learn more about how we can help someone you love.