Seeking purpose, meaning, and joy in the world around us is very important for our wellbeing, and that does not change when a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, continuing to remain engaged in hobbies and interests may become difficult, as it’s not uncommon for people during the early stages of dementia to withdraw from routines that have once been pleasant.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and providing engaging activities for seniors is key. The following tips may help:
- Establish the senior’s best time of day. If, for example, a senior loved one is an early riser but starts to lose energy later on during the day, structure the day’s activities around that schedule, such as taking an early morning walk and then focusing on an activity with each other.
- Bring the past to the present. With long-term memory typically stronger than recent memory in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, make use of what the older adult’s life was like during a specific period, such as during his / her career, and individualize activities accordingly. As an example, a retired art teacher might want to paint a picture, while a homemaker may possibly prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting the senior know that she or he is needed is a good esteem booster, and important for self-worth. Ask your loved one to assist you in baking, in whatever means is appropriate based on the stage of the dementia – even if it’s merely mixing a bowl of flour and salt together. Or perhaps bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the older adult help you sort them.
Throughout the process of participating in activities, keep the following in mind:
- Allow plenty of time for the older adult to work at his or her own pace.
- Refrain from “taking over,” but instead, offer support and supervision as required and accepted.
- Provide straightforward instructions, one step at a time, in order not to overwhelm a senior loved one.
- Pay more attention to the activity itself, versus an expected result.
- Remain flexible, knowing the older adult may all at once decide to change course.
Most importantly of all, focus on the high-quality time you’re spending with your family member. If a certain activity is not of great interest to the senior now, simply take enjoy a discussion and reminiscing together, and attempt the activity again at another time.
The professional dementia care team at Home With You Senior Care is extensively trained and experienced in creative, effective solutions to helping seniors remain active and involved with the community around them, and we are always readily available to give helpful resources, tips, and the in-home care that families trust.
Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our top-rated Hampton home health care and request a complimentary in-home consultation. Let us help a cherished older adult discover a renewed zest for life, every day!