Finding purpose, meaning, and joy in the community around us is crucial for our wellbeing, and that doesn’t change when a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Nonetheless, continuing to remain involved with hobbies and interests can become difficult, given that it’s very common for those in the early stages of dementia to withdraw from activities which were once enjoyable.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and provide life-enriching activities for senior citizens with dementia is key. These guidelines should help:
- Identify the senior’s best time of day. If your loved one is an early riser but begins to lose energy later in the day, frame the day’s experiences around that schedule, such as taking an early morning walk and then focusing on an activity together.
- Bring the past in to the present. With long-term memory usually stronger in those with Alzheimer’s, make use of what the senior’s life was like during a specific period, such as during his or her career, and customize activities accordingly. For example, a retired art teacher may want to paint a picture, whereas a homemaker may prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting the senior know that she or he is needed is an excellent esteem booster, and important for self-worth. Ask a senior loved one to work with you in baking some goodies, in whatever means is appropriate based on the stage of the dementia – even if it’s just stirring a bowl of flour and salt together. Or perhaps bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the individual help you sort them.
Throughout the process of engaging in activities, keep the following in mind:
- Set aside ample time for the senior loved one to work at his or her own pace.
- Try to avoid “taking over,” but instead offer support and supervision as required and accepted.
- Give straight-forward instructions, one step at a time, in order to not overwhelm your loved one.
- Pay more interest to the activity itself, as opposed to an expected result.
- Continue being flexible, understanding the senior may suddenly elect to change course.
Most of all, focus on the quality time you’re spending with your senior loved one. If a specific activity isn’t of great interest to the senior now, simply take pleasure in a discussion and reminiscing together, and attempt the activity again at a different time.
The professional dementia care team at Compassionate Nursing Services is thoroughly trained and experienced in innovative, effective ways to help senior loved ones remain active and engaged in the world around them, and we are always readily available to give helpful resources, tips, and the in-home care that families trust.
Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 to learn about our home care services in St. Louis and ask about a free in-home consultation. Let us help a senior you love find a renewed zest for life, each and every day!