When someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of progressive dementia, daily life can appear like a puzzle to be figured out. Since there are varying stages of the disease, it’s common to come up with an assortment of activities that are soothing and enjoyable for the older adult in one stage, which can abruptly become less effective and even frustrating for the senior. It is important to understand how to deal with dementia agitation.
- First and foremost, keep in mind that activities “with no right or wrong” are often most rewarding. This can consist of anything that brings pleasure simply through engaging in the activity, without a planned finished outcome or result.
- Also be aware that pastimes and interests the individual has formerly enjoyed may now bring about annoyance or cause the senior to feel overwhelmed. Making adjustments can help. For example, if the senior was a gifted guitar player who is no longer able to play, he may find gratification in attending a musical performance or listening to favorite music on an iPod.
- Stimulating activities are particularly helpful in offering opportunities for self-expression, social connectivity, and decreased anxiety and agitation. They can also offer a great opportunity for reminiscing and stirring memories. We advise the following:
- Experiment with a number of art forms – water colors, clay, colored pencils, beads, etc.
- Create a small garden box (or take advantage of a larger outdoor space if practical) and allow the senior to dig in the dirt with a trowel, plant seeds, and take care of the plants as they grow.
- Allow for opportunities for purposeful tasks around the residence, according to the individual’s skill level and desire. Folding clothing, wiping off the table, sorting buttons, nuts and bolts, or silverware, sweeping the floor, etc.
- Pull out special family recipes and work together on preparing them; again, choosing tasks that are appropriate for the senior: rolling out pie crust, mixing ingredients, and of course taste-testing!
- Reminisce over family pictures and movies.
Spending quality time with a senior loved one helps the family caregiver to relax as well, and provides the opportunity to create fond new memories together.
For further activity tactics for seniors with dementia, and for the highly skilled and customized in-home dementia care services that allow family caregivers to take time to care for their own needs, contact Home With You, providers of trusted home care in Glyndon and nearby areas, at 410-756-0959. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.