Activities For Alzheimers Patients
Seniors with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia need activities, stimulation and exercise. While keeping busy won’t necessarily alleviate symptoms or stave off the progression of this deadly disease, it can help ward off depression and vastly improve the quality of life of someone suffering from Alzheimers. What activities can help give the senior in your care a sense of purpose and accomplishment, without frustrating them? Here are a few suggestions, which can be tailored or modified based on their interests and ability levels:
The repetitive physical activity of gardening can make it enjoyable and therapeutic for anyone. Actually growing healthy foods or beautiful flowers from your efforts creates a sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s spring, summer or fall, gardening is a healthy, fun way to spend time with a senior.
Choosing an easy puzzle, such as one with 100 large pieces, exercises a senior’s brain, assists in hand-eye coordination and promotes a sense of satisfaction when the puzzle is done. If a puzzle is too easy, you can move on to others with more pieces, or scale down to a puzzle with fewer pieces or a more simple picture. Doing puzzles together is great fun and, when one is complete, you can use puzzle glue to hold the pieces together, frame it in a picture frame, and hang it up.
Get Creative with Artwork
Whether it’s poster paints, water color, acrylics, or even just crayons, seniors may enjoy drawing and coloring. Even those who didn’t consider themselves “artists” earlier in life may have fewer inhibitions now due to dementia. The upside is that they can enjoy the process of creating art without being overly critical of their creations.
Another way to evoke a senior’s “inner artist” is with scrapbooking projects. Start with just one page and a few photos, and place it in a frame to hang. Word of caution: scrapbooking can get expensive. Start with the basics of a few stickers, acid-free double-sided tape and some colored or patterned paper. You can print out your own scrapbooking paper and designs for free on some websites. Also check the clearance racks of craft supply stores or clearance section of scrapbooking websites to get discontinued supplies at steep discounts.
Re-visit Activities Your Loved One Used to Love
Maybe none of the above ideas appeal to you, or you don’t think the senior in your care will enjoy them. But you’re not sure where to start. Begin by thinking about activities, interests and passions your loved one used to enjoy, whether it was music, travel, dance or something even more unconventional. Then think of ways to modify this activity into something they can enjoy today, that is within their physical and mental capabilities. Your entire caregiver experience can change if you implement some of these activities.