Adapting Activities for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s
Be Sure to Make Adjustments When Assisting Those with Dementia
Being active and engaged is important for senior adults to stay healthy mentally and physically. Yet people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia may begin to withdraw and limit their activities due to cognitive impairments.
It’s essential to engage your loved one with Alzheimer’s in stimulating, meaningful activities to bring enjoyment as well as to strengthen emotional connections with others, lessen anxiety, depression and irritability, stimulate cognition, reduce wandering and foster communication. These activities can also help your loved one feel a sense of accomplishment during times that can be confusing.
Since Alzheimer’s can affect your loved one’s behavior and senses, as well as memory, activities may need to be modified. Here’s how…
Tips to Adapt Activities:
- Routine is important for people with dementia, so try to plan activities for the same time each day.
- Consider your loved one’s past interests when choosing an enjoyable activity. Build on skills and talents, but activities should also match your loved one’s current abilities. In addition, dementia can alter a loved one’s personality and moods so interests may change. Be flexible.
- Help your loved one get started. Dementia affects the ability to organize, plan and initiate activities so be ready to assist.
- Respectfully adjust activities with safety in mind. Be aware of your loved one’s physical limitations when planning an activity and supervise carefully.
- If going on an outing, keep it short, and bring your loved one home before he or she becomes too tired.
- Don’t push an activity if it brings agitation.
- Keep things as simple as possible with easy-to follow steps.
- If your loved one would rather watch the activity than do it, that’s OK. You can engage the person through conversation, describing what you’re doing and asking questions along the way.
- Focus on the process of an activity, not the results.
- While engaging in these activities, watch for signs your loved one is becoming frustrated or overwhelmed. Take a break when necessary.
- As the disease progresses, additional adaptations may be needed. Repetitive tasks may be easier for your loved one.
- Choose a simple recipe to make together. Your loved one may like to direct preparations. When needed, ask your loved one to do simple tasks such as stirring. From a safety perspective, some utensils and tools such as knives and mixers may not be safe for your loved one to use.
- Team up for household chores. Sweeping the floor, folding laundry, sorting socks or washing dishes can feel familiar and productive.
- Organize cabinets or drawers, especially if your loved one enjoys order.
- Browse through photo albums or favorite books and reminisce.
- Create something, whether it’s through painting, drawing, knitting or flower arranging.
- Play music, sing or dance. Talk about the song or singer. Attend a concert or musical program.
- Take a walk together through the neighborhood or a park. Talk about and enjoy the sights and sounds.
- Plant flowers or tend to the garden. Your loved one may even just enjoy watching you garden. Describe the plants and how they have grown.
- If your loved one is an animal lover, bring a calm dog or cat to visit. Pay attention to mood and reactions.
Find Peace of Mind with Memory Care
McKnight Place Memory Care provides dedicated dementia and Alzheimer’s care for residents of all cognitive abilities. Through social interaction, special events and trips, plus engaging, therapeutic activities, McKnight Place offers residents optimal well-being. The care team builds on each resident’s strengths, interests and abilities to customize an active care program.
Residents and families find peace of mind in the community’s secure, nurturing environment, complemented by exceptional service and a beautiful, elegant setting. Schedule a personal tour today by calling 314-993-3333. Our professional staff is happy to meet with prospective residents and/or their loved ones.