Finding time to enjoy some quality activities for seniors with dementia is all about planning ahead and playing to someone’s strengths. Since Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can cause significant changes in someone’s ability to communicate and remain independent, caregivers are often pressed with finding ways to lift someone out of their condition through stimulating activities and recreation.
Although it can be very difficult to penetrate through this disease to the core of someone’s being, sometimes it just takes some simple activities to help them feel connected. Everyone is different, and depending on the stage of someone’s condition, these activities may be difficult. Still, for patients who respond well, here are some quality activities for seniors with dementia:
5 Activities for Seniors with Dementia
1. Organize a Memory Box
In a lot of dementia cases, people recall better their long-term memories — dating back to their childhood or earlier adult years. These strong connections represent an avenue caregivers can use to help someone regain portions of their sense of self while building new memories where possible.
A memory box can contain items that are associated with an early part of someone’s life. By prompting your loved one to look through their memory box, they can interact with sentimental objects or things that are indicators of a certain part of their lives in order to evoke those long-term memories. Some of the most powerful things can be soaps, perfumes, and aftershave, or similarly scents that can remind someone of the holidays — aromas such as peppermint, gingerbread, and others.
2. Browse Family Photo Albums
Although our digital world is making them rarer, photo albums represent a great way to help someone reconnect with their identity and their loved ones. Again, some of the most effective pictures can be from someone’s childhood or adolescent years, including major life events like weddings, graduations, or a child’s birth. If these pictures are unavailable, finding old magazines or periodicals may be a good alternative for someone to reach back to defining historical moments or other things happening culturally.
3. Listen to Music
For many people who were teens in the 40’s and 50’s, it’s likely that music played an enormous part in defining their youth. Finding someone’s favorite dance numbers or other folk tunes can unlock deep associations within the brain, making an amazing difference. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to stream music using applications like Spotify and Pandora, or other sites like YouTube.
Ideally, listening through speakers can help avoid uncomfortable earphones or listening at damaging volumes. Otherwise, finding a solid playlist for your loved one is something that is cheap, easy, and very effective in many cases.
4. Go for a Nature Walk
It’s all too common that finding activities for seniors with dementia means getting stuck indoors because they lack the ability to navigate in public spaces by themselves. Taking a walk in a park is a fantastic way to get some easy exercise in, as well as finding ways to interact with others and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors.
As always, be sure to sport the proper footwear and dress for the appropriate weather. Considering that someone with dementia may have trouble communicating their needs, always stay aware of how they might be fairing in hot and sunny conditions or climates. Otherwise, find an easy walking path and get some fresh air!
5. Use Old Skills
Some of the most essential tasks to someone’s personal wellbeing include hobbies, skills, and other activities that someone has a passion for. This could mean anything from knitting, woodworking, gardening, writing, playing music — activities that consumed a large portion of someone’s life because they genuinely enjoy them!
If you don’t have the resources available at home, try finding classes to attend with other seniors who have similar interests. This can represent a great way to socialize with others in addition to reawakening old passions and building new skills in the process.
Although these conditions can be extremely debilitating diseases, there are ways to help someone connect by planning some quality activities for seniors with dementia. If you have any suggestions for some great activities let us know in the comments below!