PDF Bring Back the Fun: Activity Ideas for Caregivers and People with Dementia

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Early-Stage Alzheimer's & Dementia Caregiving | atesurla.tk

Be realistic in your expectations for yourself and your loved one. Set realistic goals and learn to expect the unexpected. Develop predictable routines and schedules. As the disease progresses it is more important than ever to have set routines and schedules. This can help to eliminate confusion and frustration for your loved one. Do not argue with your loved one. Arguing with your loved one about a forgotten memory will only upset them and further frustrate you.

Be willing to let most things go. Limiting refined sugars and increasing vegetables can help manage behavioral issues. Give them independence when possible. As tempting as it may be to do everything for your loved one, it is important for them to do as many things as possible by himself or herself, even if you need to start the activity. Have fun! Your loved one can still have fun.

This will ensure you always know when their next dose of medication will be and you will be able to accurately share any medication information with doctors or other caregivers. Meet your loved one in the now. Plan daily time for physical exercise. Physical exercise can help, especially if you plan time for it each day. Rely on family members and other loved ones when needed. After everything you have done to support your loved one with dementia, remember that you also need support for yourself as well. Turn to family members and other loved ones when you need them.

Take advantage of the time you have left with your loved one. This sentiment embodies the unique value of art for seniors with dementia, in that there is no right or wrong.

Art programs for individuals with dementia and their caregivers have been shown to improve quality of life and reduce some of the behavioral and emotional symptoms of the disease. There are also art programs in which family caregivers can participate with the care recipient. Such experiences provide respite for them as well as a unique opportunity to interact with one another, not as patient and caregiver, but as peers and family. Popular Activities for Seniors With Dementia. Music has also been found to be an enjoyable activity for many adults with dementia, again in both the active and passive sense.

Seniors with dementia may enjoy creating music singing or playing an instrument , and listening to their favorite tunes.

The ability to play an instrument is an ability that may remain relatively constant, even as the disease progresses. One reason music may be so ingrained in the brain is that it typically involves a blend of memory, emotion, hearing, physical movement, and rhythm. She attained two degrees in music education and performed as an orchestra violinist.

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Music always played an important role in her life. Now at , although she often forgets where she is and the names of those she met in recent times, she still performs regularly and can play nearly songs by ear. While M. For example, there are choirs made up of individuals with early stage memory loss and their care partners, such as the Unforgettables chorus New York , or Sing Here Now Oregon.

While much of the research on these types of programs is still in its infancy, participants report therapeutic benefits.

MindStart: Dementia Care Activities

For individuals who prefer not to perform, or for whom such programs are not available, there are still benefits to be derived from just listening to music. The idea of music therapy for individuals with dementia has gained ground of late, in part due to the popularity of the documentary Alive Inside. Music can be an extremely calming and soothing force, and it is also known to release dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of pleasure. It therefore makes sense that music is a worthwhile pursuit for those with dementia, especially those who enjoyed music throughout their lives.

But dementia does not strip a person of a desire to help others, nor does it take away the ability to contribute. Facilitating these types of opportunities may be especially important for those who have demonstrated a desire to give back or help others. Some cities have programs to help facilitate meaningful engagement and community involvement for individuals with dementia. In this program, those living with memory loss are able to give back to the community by helping at local soup kitchens.

Activities for Individuals with Dementia – Ideas for Stimulation and Fun

Feeling useful and feeling like one has a purpose in life have been shown to have substantial positive impacts on health and well-being. Physical activity is beneficial for physical and mental health and can improve mood and quality of life in individuals in all stages of the disease.

Research suggests that regular exercise at least twice a week may also help reduce or delay functional limitations in individuals with dementia. In the later stages of the disease, individuals typically face increased physical restrictions. However, whenever possible, individuals should still be encouraged to move about regularly. Reminiscence, or reminiscence therapy, is an activity that involves life experiences, memories, and stories from the past.

Benefits of reminiscence include the potential to bring up happy memories and cultivate positive feelings. For example, items could include old photographs, film clips, or personal items like a wedding veil. While reminiscence therapy is often conducted in care facilities, it can also be administered at home. While this may be easier if you are a family caregiver, this activity can also be a great opportunity for professional caregivers to get to know their care recipients on a more personal level, including their life histories and values.

In the later stages of dementia, seniors typically experience greater declines in reasoning and language, but they still have their senses sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell , and caregivers can use them as ways to connect. Sensory stimulation consists of anything that stimulates one of the fives senses. It can be easy to carry out with items found around the house. Examples can include auditory stimulation by playing calming music, tactile stimulation by massaging their hands with lotion, or stimulating the sense of smell with familiar foods or scented products.

Aromatherapy, which is growing in popularity, may also help relieve some agitation. Research suggests that sensory stimulation can have short-term positive effects on behavior and psychological well-being in individuals with dementia. Some popular games include:. You may also want to suggest playing more traditional games, such as dominoes, cards, and checkers, as they are likely to remember how to play from when they were younger.

Sometimes this may be easier than learning the rules of a new and unfamiliar game. When planning activities for individuals with dementia, it is important to keep the specific person in mind.


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It is important to consider their history, their likes and dislikes, and their individual needs and limitations. Just like for all of us, no one activity will appeal to everybody. If your father never liked art, there may be other activities he would prefer on any given day. Below are some thoughts on how to plan activities based on different scenarios. Individuals in the early stage of dementia will likely enjoy activities that previously brought them enjoyment. At this stage, you should continue to encourage the person to do activities independently whenever possible.


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Again, this is important because it can help them maintain feelings of usefulness and self-worth. It may however be helpful to provide encouragement and cues. One activity that may be particularly valuable to those in the early stage of the disease is participating in a support group to meet others who are also dealing with the same diagnosis. In the middle stage of dementia, individuals typically begin to need greater assistance.

They are also at greater risk for wandering, so activities may require increased supervision. It can also be helpful to use shorter sentences when talking and suggesting things to do. Potential activities suggested for those in this stage include: going for a walk, helping with household chores, dancing and listening to music, and doing crafts projects such as scrapbooking.