Tips Of Keeping A Dementia Patient Engaged
Staying active is very crucial to both physical and cognitive health, so it is essential for individuals living with cognitive dementia. Activities such as games, outdoor activities, daily routines, art among others have been proven to be very helpful for a person with dementia. For example, providing a daily routine for individuals with dementia will help in reducing their anxiety, improve their cognitive function, calm aggressive behaviors, and give them a sense of security.
Here is a list of stimulating dementia activities that can help keep them busy and active and also give them a sense of accomplishment. Note that the activities are not arranged in their order of importance.
1.Test your trivia knowledge. A study carried out by Rush University Medical Center followed 1100 people, of age 80 and discovered that playing board games such as trivia games helped in staving off mental illnesses. This is because they promote activities in the temporal and hippocampus of the brain. This is the section where the memory of the brain works, explaining why it may contain the effects of dementia.
2.Do a puzzle together. Research showed that elders who were suffering from memory loss and played puzzles twice a week for 45 minutes improved their scores on memory tests. In the long run, the seniors symptoms delayed or declined by nine months.
Dementia Patients Enjoy Outdoor Activities as it Connects them With Nature
Review Any Medication Being Taken
The side-effects of some dementia drugs may not promote a restful sleep, so chat to your parents doctor about the optimum time of day to take them. Dont be tempted to give sleeping pills to someone with dementia, as hypnotics or sedatives can exacerbate confusion.
Weve detailed the medications used in the treatment of dementia to help you understand the different types and those that might affect sleep.
Social And Emotional Activities For Dementia Patients
What you need for this activity:
- 10 pairs of wooden shapes such as cubes, rectangular cubes, prisms, spheres, and eggs
- A cloth bag
Start by spending a few moments having the person look and feel each shape.
Have them observe the different forms each shape takes on when placed down on a different side. Once theyre familiar with the shapes, you can move on to activities that involve touch.
Place the cubes and rectangular cubes inside the bag, and ask the person to reach in and feel one shape. As they pull the shape out of the bag, they verbally say whether the shape is a cube or a rectangle.
You can also play a matching game with the person in your care by placing all of the wooden shapes in the bag, and have the person find matching pieces by feel. Repeat this process until all of the pieces have been paired.
Placing the objects in the bag eliminates distractions and stimulates the sense of touch, while the matching process helps to strengthen cognitive function. – Activities & Games for Dementia and Alzheimers Patients, Elizz Twitter:
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Choose Activities Suitable For Their Level Of Ability
A person with early dementia will have far greater abilities than someone with late-stage dementia. Choose activities that are suitable for the capability and that results in them feeling successful.
Some past favourite hobbies may be too hard for them to carry out now, which can leave them feeling even more upset, agitated and frustrated.
Get Into A Good Routine
If possible, try and make bedtime and wake-up time the same everyday. Try and establish a nightime and morning routine as this will help signal to them what time of day it is. Things that can encourage better sleeping habits include a bath, playing music, brushing teeth, a hot milky drink or even the scent of lavender on a pillow from a scented spray.
A scented pillow spray can help overcome restlessness or trouble drifting off. The smell of the lavender blend naturally encourages sleep. This is particularly helpful to those in the later stages of dementia when it is common for patients to respond to the sense of smell.
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Role Play/ Touch Stimulation
Many dolls are used in dementia to help people living with advanced dementia. In particular, weighted dolls. The comfort of holding a weighted doll simulates being hugged. Dementia patients not only feel like theyre being hugged but they can hug back too.
Researchers at LAUGH developed the HUG sensory doll that not only has weighted arms to feel like holding a baby, but it has a simulated heartbeat that can be felt and can play music. Its incredible results had one dementia patient recovering her appetite, she became more alert, she began to speak again and her frequent falls stopped, after being bedridden and barely opening her eyes.
Should Dementia Patients Watch Tv
Watching TV is a popular leisure activity for many people, but it can become a challenge when disturbed by dementia symptoms. It is generally advisable not to allow dementia patients to watch TV unsupervised. However, watching TV with a caregiver or a person close to them can be good for the emotional well-being of the dementia patient.
Coma Work: An Example
Rosemary Clarke attended a course on coma work and found it to have amazing benefits in her caring role with her mother. In an article for the Journal of Dementia Care, Rosemary describes how she learnt to sit very close to her mother so she could talk into her ear. She would pay attention to what her mother might be doing, for example, she would be chewing or moving one finger a tiny bit or sighing. She would then focus on one of these activities and support her mother to go with that impulse, to give it its fullest expression. She would therefore encourage her chewing with thats good, you really chew it or thats fine, you chew it over.
Sometimes Rosemary would respond to her mothers moving finger by having a finger dance with her own index finger, talking to each other through applying pressure from the finger whether slow and soft or firm and persistent. All the time Rosemary would be giving verbal encouragement What an energetic/busy/strong finger!, This is lovely, our fingers are talking.
As a result of this approach, Rosemary describes how her mother started to speak more often than she had before, sometimes with words and sometimes with sounds. On one occasion, even before Rosemary had sat down beside her, she looked up and said hello darling .
Activity Ideas For People With Dementia Outside The Home
Being outside can benefit your health in many ways, including lowering stress, increasing your mood and improving your overall wellbeing.
Outside activities range from walking in nature to shopping or attending community events. Its important to choose what you enjoy and there is lots of support available to help you to do this.
You may feel less confident about going out after your diagnosis. However, there are things that can help you feel prepared and supported. For example:
You could also speak with your GP about social prescribing. This is a way for health professionals to refer people to community-based support and activities.
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Picking Appropriate Activities For Your Loved One With Dementia
The activities listed below span a large range of functioning levels, but you can use these ideas as a springboard and adapt them for your loved ones current ability level and interests.
I have a daughter with autism, and when she was in school I would meet with her teachers periodically to update her IEP . I feel like Im doing the same kind of thing for my mom now. I call it her IAP .
Just as everyone with autism is different in their abilities and functioning level, so it is with folks with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. We as caregivers are chasing a moving target when looking for appropriate activities for our loved ones. Their abilities and functioning levels are changing all the time. Sometimes from day to day. Im constantly adjusting activities for my moms current level of functioning. I find some days she can do complex activities that would be impossible and totally frustrating for her other days.
My mom is currently in the middle stages of Alzheimers, and I have to be careful the activities I plan for her dont look too juvenile.
I can, however, get away with some kid activities if I have one of my children participate. She thinks shes babysitting. This is a double win as shes engaged and feeling useful. Though I do have to keep a close eye on things when my kids participate. Mom is having more frequent episodes of,
ahem, just not being nice,
and I have to be ready to pull my kid away if things start going south.
How Do You Make A Dementia Patient Happy
If a person with dementia gets suitable surroundings, they can lead productive, satisfying, and most importantly, happy lives for many years after the initial diagnosis. The happier they are the less likely they are to get angry or start exhibiting worrisome behavior. Here are some effective tips for making a dementia patient happy:
- Providing emotional support and a relaxed environment
- Helping the person feel safe and comfortable
- Spending time talking to them and relaxing with them
- Adding fun activities
- Adding meaningful activities
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Sensory Toys And Activities For Seniors With Dementia
Sensory stimulation challenges the 5 senses in new ways in dementia patients and this can help spark old memories. Sensory activities and toys can help dementia patients recall positive emotions and memories.
Here are some of the sensory toys and products that dementia patients can enjoy:
- Stroking an animal
Helping With Simple Chores
Your loved one may get agitated when you leave him or her alone so you can do essential tasks such as laundry. If so, find ways your loved one can help. For instance, you could fill a bin with soapy water and let him or her wash a few plastic dishes. Your loved one may also enjoy folding towels, matching socks, or sweeping the floor. These activities may not always be performed up to your standards, but your loved one may enjoy feeling helpful.
Aging adults with Alzheimers disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimers care. Austinseniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimers care can be a great asset.
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Cooking Household Tasks And Gardening
You can keep or start cooking, as long as it is safe for you. If it becomes difficult, there are some small changes that can make things easier.
For example, you can:
- ask someone to help you in the kitchen
- try recipes that have fewer steps or ingredients
- use pre-prepared ingredients such as ready-made
- sauces or chopped vegetables.
Many jobs around the home also provide a good form of gentle exercise and can help you to keep physically active. These include:
- doing housework for example, washing up, folding clothes or dusting
- gardening for example, gently weeding the garden, maintaining houseplants, or growing herbs or flowers in window boxes.
You can ask someone to do these tasks with you if this makes them more enjoyable or easier.
Tip: It can be helpful to put out the things you need before starting a task so that you have a visual prompt for example, tools for gardening or ingredients for cooking.
Activities For Dementia Patients: 50 Tips And Ideas To Keep Patients With Dementia Engaged
The prevalence of Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia is on the rise, yet the cost of dementia care options continues to grow. For many, family caregiving becomes the most practical and cost-effective solution, at least for a time. Keeping dementia patients actively engaged in everyday activities and cognitively challenging tasks is beneficial for both body and mind and, in some cases, it can even slow the progression of the disease. Staying active and engaged can help to reduce dementia sleep problems, as well.
Weve put together a list of 50 tips and ideas for keeping dementia patients active and engaged through everyday activities, outings, cognitively challenging tasks, and social and emotional activities, many of which can be used throughout most of the stages of dementia. Youll also find a few helpful tips for selecting activities that are appropriate based on the patients interests, abilities, and other considerations.
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I Care For More Than One Person With Dementia And Wonder How To Keep Dementia Patients Not Sleeping In Bed At Night Should I Put Them To Bed Straight Away
According to the Alzheimers Association, patients can spend up to 40% of their time lying in bed awake, this equates to sleeping too much during the day. If the patient does get up, dont try to get them back to bed. Try to restart a small bedtime routine instead of putting them straight to bed. Keep lights low, take them to the toilet, play relaxing music or read to them for a bit to calm them down.
How Can You Choose Activities For People With Dementia That Are Safe
Activities are key to keeping a dementia patients hands busy to help with the fidgeting, but it isnt always easy to choose the right ones. Ideally, you should plan activities that the person with dementia enjoys in his/her daily routine.
To ensure that you only choose activities that are safe and help the person enjoy them:
- Match the activities with the persons capabilities and cognitive function
- Pick activities that are fun for all
- Watch to see whether or not the person becomes frustrated
- Determine whether the person can do the activity alone or needs help
- Avoid overstimulating the person try a new activity for only a few minutes the first time
- Focus on enjoyment as opposed to achievement
- If its more enjoyable, let the person watch
- Help the person get started
- Be careful with small items that can easily be placed in the mouth.
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Comfort Them Should They Wake In The Night
If your parent gets up in the middle of the night, try to establish the cause for waking. Sit and talk with them for a while quietly in low light. Keep them relaxed and repeat actions they associate with bed time such as soft music until they are ready to return to their bedroom.
A wireless bed exit pad and alarm can help alert you if someone with dementia awakens and is prone to wandering in the night. A motion sensor pad is placed on the mattress. As soon as someone gets out of bed, a wireless signal is sent to the alarm which can be up to 90 metres away. It won’t go off if they just roll over, only when their weight is completely off the sensor. It is a smart way to remotely monitor whether your parent is still in bed, which can even help you to sleep better – safe in the knowledge that you will be alerted should they get up.
What Activities Work For People With Advanced Dementia Some Practical Suggestions
Sarah Zoutwelle-Morris is a visual artist living in Holland. She describes a range of different practical activities which might hold the interest or attention of a person in the later stages of dementia:
- Tapping, patting: make a rhythmic noise together on the table using a stick or spoon, following each others rhythms
- Stroking: massage someones hands with scented cream or oil, giving them a chance to do the same to you if they want pet a live or stuffed animal, or smooth a cloth on a flat surface or the persons lap
- Pressing: press glued paper down so it stays in place stamp with block print or a rubber stamp press the flat of your hand to theirs, gently giving and resisting in turn, taking your clues from them
- Pulling: pull the wrapping paper off a package, pull clothes off a doll, or pull on a thick cord with knots
- Folding: fold dish towels, clothes, bed linens, paper, newspaper, clay or dough.
- Pick at: peeling paper, a torn out hem, little threads make a yarn card with easy knots to untie or things to pull through loops, or unravel a ball of wool
- Wrapping, concealing: dress a doll or stuffed animal wrap an object in cloth or string, or wrap a present.
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Involving Family And Friends
Care workers have a role to play in working alongside family carers and friends to bring activity into the daily life of a person with dementia. Some friends and family struggle with thinking of things to do with the person whether at home or when visiting a care home, even though they know the person so well.Families and friends may need support from care staff to encourage a person with dementia to become involved and help them cope with and enjoy visits to a care home.
Social And Emotional Activities
Engaging people with dementia in regular physical, social, and emotional activities is a promising strategy for keeping the condition at bay. The activities you choose should result in lifestyle change and long-term activity participation.
- Reading with or to them
- Going on a short outing in nature
- Baking something or cooking meals together
- Watching a movie, TV show, or family videos together
- Sing their favorites songs as a group
- Go to museums and festivals as a group
- Make a memory box with other members of the family
- Have them tell stories or read books out loud
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