Dementia can affect the quality of your loved one’s life, making it crucial to find ways to bring joy and meaning to your loved one’s life through activities they could enjoy. While it may be tempting to jump in and try any activity and any time with your loved one, there are three things you need to remember when planning these fun activities.
Timing is Everything!
People with dementia can be unpredictable, so be prepared to be patient and flexible. Pay close attention when your loved one seems happy, distracted, anxious, and irritable. Pick a time when they feel good and aren’t preoccupied with anything else so they can focus on the activity.
Choose Failure-Free Activities
One activity only fits some, so choose activities per your loved one and their past interests. Don’t be afraid to try new and simple things but find activities that:
- Are something they can complete without experiencing frustration
- Are low-maintenance with easy-to-follow steps
- Match their ability level
To ensure the activity is free of frustration, offer support to your loved one throughout the process. Support can look like this:
- Understand that the focus is on the process, not the result.
- Help them focus on one part of the task at a time
- Assist them when they seem to be struggling
- Never criticize or correct them
Activities Must Be Stimulating!
Dementia patients must stay physically and mentally active as much as they can. Be sure to pay attention to things your loved one enjoys or activities that were enjoyed in the past. Encourage your loved one to be involved in daily activities like folding laundry, which will help them feel a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
Creative & Sensory Activities
Looking at Scrapbooks
Looking at scrapbooks is a beautiful way to bring back favorite memories and spark meaningful conversation. Actively listen as your loved one reminisces over their photos. Ask them questions and encourage them to tell simple stories about what they see.
Many dementia patients likely have worked in or had a garden. Working in a garden is the perfect way to stimulate the mind and the senses. Fill the garden with edible plants like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, and thyme.
Cooking is an excellent and practical way to stimulate all five of your loved one’s senses. Keep recipes simple, like no-bake cookies, garlic bread, or a fruit salad. Encourage your loved one to do whatever steps they can, focusing on smells, textures, colors, and flavors.
Painting allows your loved one to express their individuality and could improve their memory. If you’re concerned about them making a mess, use butcher paper for easy cleanup!
Pick a popular song with the help of the group members and play it at a low volume and then have everyone join in. It’s best to work with classic songs that resonate with seniors. You can print out the lyrics, easily found online, to help people follow along.
Balloon Volleyball can be played with a group or with a person. The goal is for patients to try and keep the balloon in the air by slapping it with their hands. Balloon volleyball is not only fun, but it can improve balance, strength, and reflexes.
Attend a dementia support group where people with dementia and their loved ones and caregivers can share advice and information. Dementia support groups can provide understanding and support, which may help a person cope better with their condition.
Puzzles stimulate the brain and provide social interactions to help patients, caregivers/loved ones create positive, emotional connections. Jigsaw puzzles, children’s puzzles with large tactile pieces, word search puzzles, and mazes are great options to stimulate your loved one’s mind.
Games are fun, encourage social interactions, stimulate the brain, and come in all shapes and sizes!
- Bingo promotes mental focus and alertness.
- Chess and checkers encourage creative and strategic thinking.
- UNO involves matching colors and numbers, which stimulates the brain.
Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Is Here for Support!
At NADHC, we offer many services and programs, including social and recreational activities. If your loved one needs more mental stimulation with a bonus of physical exercise, we are delighted to help! Contact us today to learn how your loved one can have a higher quality of life with Nevada Adult Day Healthcare.