Everyone gets bored when they are not being stimulated. For someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, image how frustrating being bored and confused must be! While you and I may pass the time playing a game, reading a book, or watching television, all these tasks can be frustrating when the person has no idea what is going on. Actively stimulating the brain of the memory impaired helps to keep them from getting agitated or restless, decreases social isolation, and can help slow the progression of the disease. If you are looking for a way to spend time with your loved one who suffers from dementia, we have compiled this list of ideas:
Arts and Crafts
Any arts and crafts can be fun and stimulating. Keep the patterns or instructions simple and be sure to watch that there is nothing that can harm them — sharp scissors, safety pins, etc. Painting or knitting are good activities if they have the tactile ability.
Gardening is a peaceful task for nearly everyone! If able, take your loved one out of doors to either plant or tend to a garden. If that is not a possibility, build an indoor garden in small dixie cups and a basket that they can tend to. If that is not a possibility, take a walk in a botanical garden or flip through pictures of gardens.
If the cognitive impairment is making your loved think and behaves similarly to a child, sensory games and activities are great for stimulating the brain and keeping them busy. Felt is an ideal material to make a busy book out of with various activities and puzzles. Knit a small afghan and sew and weave various ribbons through the yarn loops to provide something to keep their hands engaged when they begin to fidget.
If the cognitive impairment is limited, make a photo album or scrapbook with pictures of your loved one and their family. Label pictures of who is in them and what even was taking place, in case they have difficulty remembering. Often times, this can help trigger pleasant memories, which may seem much more current to them. As dementia progresses and the memory impairment is greater, looking at familiar faces may be frustrating and disturbing, as they know they should know these pictures and don’t. When this begins to happen, make scrapbooks of pleasant pictures such as animals, flowers, and children for them to flip through, you can even take images from magazines.
Play music. Play it often, play what they like. Music is soothing to just about everyone. Set up a boombox and play CDs of their favorite artists. Even when they can’t remember the words, music can be very comforting.
Try a variety of activities to feel out how your loved one responds. In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, activities that are appropriate and stimulating for toddlers, work well to keep the memory impaired active and engaged. If you need help caring for your loved one who suffers from memory impairment, consider Serenity Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care. We specialize in memory care and have plenty of activities to keep your loved one active. Come tour our Dickinson facility today!