If you are seeking stimulating activities for a loved one who has Alzheimers or Dementia, there are a few ways to include then in many ways.
I had a friend who had Alzheimers and he was so happy to join in the holiday spirit and help decorate the home for Christmas celebrations. He had reached a point that he no longer remembered many in his close family but while setting out the manger under the tree, he noticed a lamb was missing.
“Didn’t Glenn like to play with the missing lamb?” he asked his wife. Glenn was his son who had died many, many years before at four years of age, and ‘Yes’ Glenn had loved to play with the missing lamb. But the father remembered, and for one brief moment he was back.
Alzheimers can do that, suddenly pop a memory back, and it is truly a beautiful surprise moment. And, is not this memory all the more beautiful of a child during Christmas.
There are many different things those who cope with memory loss can do to keep them in ‘the moment’. Many ways to help spark that fleeting moment of clarity. Creating therapeutic activities can bring them joy and enhance their quality of life.
Make Sure They Are In The Right Frame Of Mind
Your loved one needs to be able to fully focus on an activity. It would be best if they were feeling content and not anxious or irritable. The key is to be flexible in order to not stress them out, and to choose something that is failure free that matches their ability level. We don’t want to frustrate then, instead want to stimulate them in many ways.
If they are struggling with an activity, help them. Focus on the process and encourage their interaction. It is super important for Alzheimers or dementia patients to remain as physically and mentally active as possible. Be aware of some things they liked from the past and encourage participation in events that will keep their senses alive.
Great Ideas For Activities For Alzheimers
Alzheimers.net has published a page detailing 10 Stimulating Activities For Alzheimers and there are lots of tips and direction to incorporate these activities into the life of your loved one to feel a sense of accomplishment. I have taken some ideas from this article and shared them below:
Bake or cook simple recipes together.
Clean around the house. Sweep the patio, wipe the table, fold towels or try other household tasks that help the person feel a sense of accomplishment.
Do arts and crafts, such as knitting and painting. Keep patterns and tools simple.
Look at books the person used to enjoy.
Organize household or office items, particularly if the person used to take pleasure in organizational tasks.
Read the newspaper.
Play music or sing songs.
Tend the garden or visit a botanical garden.
Watch family videos.
Work on puzzles.
The National Institute on Aging also has information on activities for those living with Alzheimers. They also include activity planning ideas that revolve around eating out, spiritual activities, traveling, and visiting with friends.
Alzheimers Association lists 50 activities that will be very helpful and effective, including, taking a walk, listening to music, giving a hand massage with lotion, baking cookies or bread, or decorating for Christmas.
Remember that every day activity and every planned event will lighten the load for your loved one, even if it’s a little, it is worth the effort. And maybe in there will be a miracle, such as recalling a memory of a child long lost by remembering the story of the baby lamb in the manger.