Staying active is key to the happiness of someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. It keeps their mind and body moving. Like everyone else, one of the best ways for them to remain active is to engage in activities they enjoy. There is often a disconnect, however, as they commonly find it difficult to decide what to do each day or even to simply start a given task. Most people with Alzheimer’s need help organizing their days and getting started with each individual task.
7 Engaging Activities for People with Alzheimer’s
Schedule and routine are comforting to an individual with Alzheimer’s because it’s something that becomes familiar to them. It’s helpful to schedule activities around the same time each day. A memory care setting is the perfect environment for this. Try to find activities that match their capabilities, but sometimes they can enjoy simply watching you do it.
If they are participating, help them get started and monitor their frustration level. Make sure they have fun and feel like they’re being successful. Get started with the following 7 activities.
1) Have a Pet
Involving a pet in their life is a great way to combat loneliness and give them purpose. To the degree of their abilities, let them feed and groom a pet. Help them walk a dog or simply sit and hold a pet in their lap. Pets have a number of benefits for your senior loved one’s well being.
2) Complete Tasks
Help them complete simple tasks like washing dishes, sweeping, dusting, sorting laundry, or making their bed. Anything that constitutes real work that needs to be done will give them purpose. Remember, no one enjoys busy work. If you facilitate activities they can actually do, it will give them purpose and an outlet for stress and anxiety. Don’t forget to monitor their frustration level.
3) Cook or Bake
Get them involved in cooking a dish or baking a cake. It doesn’t matter if they’re simply watching you do it, giving you instructions on how to do it, or if they’re actually involved in the meal preparation process. Let them be involved as much as they are able. They could help you decide what will be needed to complete it, help with measuring and mixing ingredients, or simply watch and enjoy the dish when it’s done.
4) Express Their Green Thumb
Gardening is packed with amazing benefits for seniors. It can be done inside or outside and is easy to facilitate. Gardening stimulates the mind, helps ease stress, and gives a sense of purpose, among other things. It can be just a simple potted plant or something more complex like an herb garden. Determine what’s best based on their competencies.
5) Keep Moving with Exercise
Keeping the body moving is not only good for physical wellbeing, but mental and emotional wellbeing as well. Take them on a short walk, use an exercise bike, or throw a balloon back and forth. Help them stretch before and after. They could also lift small weights or use other items like cans or books. Keep them moving to promote blood flow, stretch muscles, and
6) Visits with Grandchildren
Seeing friends and family is extremely important for your loved ones with or without Alzheimer’s. There’s just something extra special about seeing grandchildren and other small kids. Have them read books, play easy board games, or simply take a walk in the park.
7) Dance and Music
Arrange to have some of their favorite music on hand and listen to it while you visit. Talk to them about the song and the artist. Ask them about the first time they heard the song. Dance with them to some of their favorite songs. Take them to a concert.
Just Getting Out
Before their Alzheimer’s becomes more advanced, your loved one may enjoy just getting out and going to places they have enjoyed previously. Make a list of their favorite restaurants, parks, malls, and other places and rotate through, taking them on outings often and for as long as you feel good about doing it.
Your Interaction is Key
At the end of the day, people need people. Your senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease simply needs to be around people. They need you and their family to spend time with them. They need a soft hand on their shoulder and a familiar face looking at them speaking kind words to them. Use this guide to activities for people with Alzheimer’s to get started engaging with your loved one today.
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