For families of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, finding activities in daily life that accommodate keeping their loved one engaged can be difficult. Alzheimer’s is a challenging disease that takes a toll on not just the individual experiencing it but those around them, typically friends and family. Yet there are things to do with someone who has Alzheimer’s that keep them engaged with the world around them and can make their life easier. Here at Buckner Villas, our compassionate caregivers make it a point to provide resources to our residents and their families, among these is our senior memory care.
Activities and Things to Do with Someone Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease
It can be difficult to come up with activities to do with a friend or relative dealing with Alzheimer’s. What may have been a favorite activity in the past might not be appropriate any longer, or the individual may no longer be interested or know what’s involved. When dealing with any dementia, patience must be the cornerstone of interaction.
Memories can fade and shift when someone has Alzheimer’s. This is why activities that engage the mind and encourage thinking about where one is, one’s surroundings, and how one is involved with others can be so helpful in keeping the disease at bay and even improving a person’s condition. Remember, activities can range from active to passive. While it may seem like someone with Alzheimer’s isn’t listening or engaged, they very likely are. Keeping a clear tone that speaks to them with respect is key. Also, activities should appeal to all five senses. People struggling with dementia respond to tactical activities and those that appeal to their senses of taste, smell, and sight.
Some Ideas and Activities to Consider
Here at Buckner Villas, we’ve come up with 11 things you can do after the holidays or year-round with a loved one who suffers from memory loss:
- Clip coupons from the newspaper: It is an excellent way to maintain motor function and engage verbally with the individual.
- Make a basket of socks: Folding clothes or organizing things around the home helps stave off the effects of dementia.
- String Cheerios on twine to hang outside for birds: Simple craft projects with a clear purpose can help people feel in control.
- Make a family tree poster using old family photos: This can aid in recall and provide a resource during memory lapses.
- Finish well-known phrases, Bible verses, or songs: Doing so engages the brain and can be fun.
- Try different hand lotions with pleasant scents: Appealing to all the senses is important in staying connected with someone.
- Cut up used paper for scratch craft paper: Sometimes, simply exercising fine motor functions can help keep a person’s mind sharp.
- Play Pictionary: Easy to explain and perform games are an excellent activity.
- Polish silverware: Household chores and cleaning may best be something done by support staff, but certain tasks make the individual feel involved and in control.
- Read the daily paper aloud: A perfect conversation starter and an excellent way to keep the individual informed.
- Have afternoon tea: For people of any age or mental state, sharing time and being close to another is key in staving off loneliness.
These tasks may seem trivial or menial, but for a person living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, having even a simple purpose can change the trajectory of an entire day. These and other activities can help the mind focus and limit frustrating distractions. Ultimately, these tasks remind them that they’re important and can still contribute to life.
Discover What Buckner Villas Has to Offer
Check out a memory caregiver support group offered at most Buckner senior living communities for other tips and suggestions. Call 512.580.9882 for more information.