Some Ideas For Simplifying
Over the course of your loved ones Alzheimers journey, it will be necessary to simplify activities to match his abilities. For instance:
- A life-long reader may eventually enjoy being read to, and then progress to just looking at the pictures.
- A love of gardening may go from gardening, to cutting flowers, to weeding, to watering plants, to watching squirrels.
- A regular round of golf, or a weekly night of bowling may progress to walking only.
- Playing music or singing may progress to listening to music only.
- Preparing the evening meal may eventually progress to folding dinner napkins, and can be a very engaging for the one with Alzheimers.
Helping With The Cake
I dont advise that a patient with dementia prepare, bake, and decorate an entire cake themselves. It is a daunting task with a lot of difficult steps along the way. However, this large number of different stages is what makes it such a great cooking activity for a dementia patient as long as they have some help.
There are several steps in the recipe that a person with dementia could accomplish. Helping with these steps will be enough to provide the therapeutic benefits of cooking. They may also provide some appreciated nostalgia if the patient grew up baking bread or cake.
The first activity they can help with is kneading or preparing the dough. Kneading dough feels a lot like manual labor, but its been called therapeutic by people who grew up doing it regularly. Its entirely safe and consists of a series of repeated motions. The simplicity and familiarity of kneading dough can even help trigger memories.
Perhaps the most fun step is icing and decorating the cake at the end. Once again, this is a fun, simple, and safe step that anyone can partake in. You can purchase a large variety of pre-made icings at most local grocery stores. Combine that with other decorations like sprinkles, nuts, or coconut shavings. This gives a dementia patient the chance to enjoy cooking and to express their creative side.
Alzheimers And Dementia Activities List
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Games Puzzles And Around The Home Activities For Dementia Patients
Stimulating Activities For Dementia Patients
There are many recommended activities for dementia patients. However, a diagnosis of dementia certainly does not mean that one must abandon activities they enjoy. Many activities can be modified as dementia progresses, allowing your loved one to continue to participate and enjoy. If your loved one isnt enjoying an activity, dont worry. Simply take a break and try again later, or choose another activity instead.
All of these recommended activities are designed to:
- Help your loved one recall certain memories
- Allow them to reminisce about their life
- Develop or renew an emotional connection with loved ones
- Help them feel productive and more engaged with life
- Encourage self-expression
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Purposeful Activities For People Living With Dementia
As human beings, we engage in activities each and every day that provide us with purpose and pleasure. Things that stimulate our minds, and bring us enjoyment. These activities are different for each of us baking, reading, knitting, climbing mountains, jumping out of aeroplanes
But for the estimated 447,000 Australians who live with dementia, it can be difficult to perform activities they may once have loved, even though the need to do so has not been diminished. Lack of stimulation and boredom can exacerbate the frustration of a person living with dementia, so its important to find activities that engage them and bring pleasure to their everyday lives.
This will be different for each person, as we all have a unique set of likes and dislikes based on our history, lived experiences, emotions and personalities it is not a one size fits all scenario.
Firstly, some tips on planning activities:
Best Activities For Alzheimers Patients At Home
Sudoku, sewing, gardening, or something completely different finding the best activities for Alzheimers patients at home is important if a loved one has a memory illness. While truly meaningful activities for dementia patients can be tough to find, they are out there, and worth hunting for!
Having mentally and emotionally appropriate and stimulating activities is crucial for two reasons. One, it can be fun and two, it may slow the progress of memory illnesses. Since planning activities for dementia or Alzheimers patients is a part of our memory care services, we have compiled dozens of tried-and-true ideas you can use today.
Even better, all of these activities are inexpensive, uncomplicated, and can be done right at home. Check out our list of 15 great activities for dementia and Alzheimers patients at home.
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How Does Brain Activity Help
Studies of animals show that keeping the mind active may:
- Reduce the amount of brain cell damage that happens with Alzheimer’s
- Support the growth of new nerve cells
- Prompt nerve cells to send messages to each other
When you keep your brain active with exercises or other tasks, you may help build up a reserve supply of brain cells and links between them. You might even grow new brain cells. This may be one reason scientists have seen a link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think the extra mental activity from education may protect the brain by strengthening connections between its cells.
Neither education nor brain exercises are a sure way to prevent Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay symptoms and keep the mind working better for longer.
Williams, J. Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline, Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments No. 193, April 2010.
NIH News: “Mental Exercise Helps Maintain Some Seniors’ Thinking Skills.”
Wilson, R. Neurology, September 2010.
Meng, X. PLoS One, 2012.
Alzheimer’s Foundation: “Prevention,” “Stay Mentally Active.”
AARP: “Age-Proof Your Brain.”
Maillot, P. , March 2012.
Smith, G., Housen, P., Yaffe, K., Ruff, R., Kennison, R., Mahncke, H., Zelinski, E., A cognitive Training Program based on Principles of Brain Plasticity: Results from the Improvement in memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training Study, Feb. 2009
Bottom Line: What Activities Are Good For Dementia Patients
Dementia can be an overwhelming disease that creates many emotions in patients and their caregivers. By playing games and implementing constructive activities, dementia patients and their caregivers can feel more calm and productive throughout the day. However, remember that its not safe to incorporate sharp or dangerous objects into activities for people with Alzheimers disease or dementia.
As a member of the ConsumerAffairs Research Team, Kathryn Parkman believes everyone deserves easy access to accurate and comprehensive information on products and businesses before they make a purchase, which is why she spends hours researching companies and industries for ConsumerAffairs. She believes conscious consumption is everyone’s responsibility and that all content deserves integrity.
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Enjoy Nature By Gardening Or Taking Nature Tours
If your loved one always loved connecting with nature before they had dementia or Alzheimers you shouldnt stop them from tending the garden. Gardening as well as other outdoor activities has many benefits for such patients.
Gardening is just one of the ways to connect with nature. If it isnt what you loved one wants, there are still other things for you to do.
For instance, you may consider going for hikes or walks with your loved one.
Hobbies And At Home Activities
Even if your loved one isnt able to continue enjoying a past hobby, there are ways to help them connect with the things they love. A keen sewer may enjoy painting or other crafting, while culinary extraordinaires might still enjoy trying a new recipe with the help of a family member. These kinds of activities are easier for people with Dementia to participate in than passive pastimes like reading or watching television. Look at whats on offer in your local area there may be a Dementia-friendly group thats linked to a past favourite hobby, such as the gardening group at the Dementia Resource Centre.
Many people with Dementia and their carers find it enjoyable to share memories together, such as by scrapbooking or visiting favourite destinations. In all these activities, take your cues from your loved one. If an activity they used to enjoy doesnt bring them pleasure, dont force it, but explore other ways to share an experience together.
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It Is An Important Source Of Socialisation And Interaction
Regular socialisation with fellow peers and participating in engaging activities can help seniors keep their minds sharp as they go through this vital transition in their lives. Many persons with dementia experience loneliness and social isolation, which can damage ones health as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
The interaction through playing games with friends strengthens a persons sense of belonging and reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. The process of interacting with other seniors, regardless of whether they have dementia or not, can stimulate a sense of personal worth and improve the overall quality of life of an elderly.
How Stimulating Activities Impact People With Alzheimers
Keeping senior loved ones active in hobbies and interests that give them pleasure is important after a disease diagnosis.
Stimulating activities can help people with Alzheimers:
- Encourage self-expression
- Foster emotional connections with others
- Lessen any anxiety and irritability that Alzheimers may bring
- Make people with Alzheimers feel more engaged
- Stir memories
As AARP.org describes, it is important to create meaningful activities for your parents and senior loved ones, not just ones that fill time. Consider interests they had in the past, knowing that some activities may need to be modified for practicality and safety. Keep in mind that Alzheimers affects behavior and senses in addition to memory. So, the activities that a person once enjoyed may become frustrating or overwhelming now.
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Ideas For How To Stimulate The Senses
A multisensory approach becomes even more important with people with limited verbal communication. Bright colours, playful movements, funny sounds and tactile objects can all catch the attention of an individual in a way that more complicated activities no longer can.
Barbara Pointon gives some specific examples of how she tapped into all the senses in caring for her husband Malcolm:
- Sight: bright colours plenty of transfers between bed, wheelchair and recliner chairs so that the person isnt looking at the same bit of wall all day smiley faces views through the open patio door in summer and mobiles hung from the ceiling .
- Taste: continuing to feed orally even when swallowing is faltering, and trying stronger, sweeter flavours. Cold drinks are more easily sensed in the mouth than tepid ones. Remember to talk to the person about what they are eating.
- Smell: favourite aftershave, flowers, home cooking, aromatherapy oils.
- Hearing: favourite music, care staff singing or humming, people coming in to play an instrument or sing to him, sound of laughter, birdsong, talking to the person often .
- Touch: holding hands, stroking the face, giving a hug, helping the person to feel loved and cherished.
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Some creative work has been tried in relation to applying the ideas of coma work to working with people with dementia. This approach was developed in the United States in the 1980s by Arnold and Amy Mindell.
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.
Do Activities Matter For A Person In The Later Stages Of Dementia
It can be easy to assume that when a person is no longer communicating with words or is spending much of their day in bed, the emphasis will be on keeping the person physically comfortable and activities become less relevant. However, a person in the advanced stages of dementia can still experience emotions such as loneliness, boredom or frustration.
A person might no longer be able to move independently or hold a conversation. However, many people with dementia will respond positively to close one-to-one attention using the eyes to communicate or hands to touch and make a connection.
Nearly all the external things, the ones we take for granted and which the world values, may be swept away, but the real Malcolm, the essence he was born with, was there right to the end.
Barbara Pointon cared for her husband Malcolm, who had dementia
It Delays The Decline Of Ones Memory
Keeping seniors busy through games and activities helps to delay the onset of memory decline and other cognitive abilities. Since there are currently no medicinal drugs that can treat dementia, there has been a growing interest in lifestyle factors that can slow down the ageing process in the brain, which is linked to memory and thinking problems.
Playing games that have a strong focus on memory and cognitive associations can support the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus found in the brain, which are the first two areas affected in the early stages of dementia.
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Stimulating Activities For Someone With Dementia
Keeping in mind all the various stages of dementia, there are a few common activities that can be enjoyed in some fashion. Accommodation might be required, but these activities can be very engaging and encouraging: