A dementia diagnosis is devastating for not just the patients, but their families as well. Watching a loved one slowly fade and withdraw from the person they once were is incredibly difficult. That is why it is so important to help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia type diseases stay engaged, for as long as possible, in activities or hobbies that once interested them. According to experts, habitual stimulating activities can benefit people with Alzheimer’s or dementia by:
- Encouraging self-expression
- Fostering emotional connections with others
- Lessening any anxiety or irritability
- Stirring memories
Not sure what activity to choose? Check out these suggested activities:
- Baking or cooking simple recipes together
- Cleaning around the house or place where your loved one is residing
- Creating simple crafts, like knitting, or painting a picture together
- Reading books your loved one used to enjoy
- Organizing household or office items, particularly if your loved one used to take pleasure in organizational tasks
- Reading the newspaper together
- Playing familiar music or singing a song together
- Tending the garden or visiting a botanical garden
- Watching family videos
- Putting together a puzzle
When choosing an activity, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends you keep in mind the following:
- Stick with activities your loved one has always enjoyed and adjust, as needed, to match their current abilities.
- Take note on what your loved one enjoys. Does something in particular make them seem happy, anxious, distracted, or irritable?
- Be aware of physical problems.
- Focus on enjoyment, not an end result, like winning.
- Encourage involvement in daily household activities, like setting a table. This could make your loved one feel like a valued part of the household.
- Focus on activities that relate to a former career, like organizing a desk or sorting mail.