Staying active and involved in meaningful hobbies is incredibly important for our mental health. Every one of us needs to feel both successful and needed. These feelings don’t disappear because of a diagnosis of dementia, although they might require some creativity to achieve. In fact, stimulating and satisfying activities can reduce challenging symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as anxiety, anger, agitation, depression, as well as sundowning.
The secret is choosing fun activities for Alzheimer’s patients that are suitable for the level of cognitive functioning. It is a matter of establishing what leads to engagement without producing undue aggravation – something that might demand a bit of trial and error.
Try out these ideas to discover what works best for a senior you love with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Get outside. Whenever the weather is nice, simply getting outside can provide immediate pleasure. Pick a bouquet of fresh flowers and then take a stroll to deliver them to a neighbor. Read a book out loud or reminisce through a photo album together on the porch. Set up a table with plants, soil, and pots, and make a small container garden.
- Do laundry. There is nothing like the scent of laundry that’s been hanging outside to dry! Offer the older adult some freshly laundered hand towels, wash cloths, pillowcases, socks, etc. and request their assistance in folding.
- Create a memory box. A simple memory box can be made specific to the person’s interests. For example, a retired carpenter’s box might contain PVC pipe, nuts, bolts, tools, pieces of wood, etc. Someone who enjoys baking may love looking through a box filled with a whisk, cups and spoons, recipe cards, etc. Once completed, reminisce with the older adult about what it was like working with those objects. You may well be surprised at the stories they produce.
- Make decorations. There are a lot of hand-crafted decoration ideas when it comes to the holidays, but you do not need to wait until December to start crafting. Thread big wooden beads or even dry tube-shaped pasta into bracelets or necklaces for the grandkids. Make an album from photographs – or, decorate picture frames to display favorite images in a prominent place in the home. The ideas are endless – but the goal is to create something useful or meaningful.
- Help someone who needs it. If the older adult has been passionate about a specific cause, such as taking care of the homeless or volunteering at the children’s hospital, think of ways they can continue to make a difference in that area. Maybe you could collect warm clothes for a local shelter, enlisting the senior’s help in sorting and packing them into bags to deliver. Or, select toys together and drop them off for children in the hospital.
Compassionate Nursing Services’ experts in elder care in St. Louis, MO and the surrounding communities are brimming with all sorts of fun activities for Alzheimer’s patients to help them continue to live meaningful, gratifying lives. Call us today at 314-432-4312 to schedule a no-cost in-home assessment to learn more about how we can help a senior you love.