Dementia is a debilitating condition that can cause seniors to withdraw from friends and family, suffer cognitive impairment, and experience changes in behavior. Keeping your loved one engaged in stimulating activities can help stir memories, foster emotional connections, and provide pleasure well after a diagnosis. Of course, your loved one will have good days and bad – but don’t give up. Spark memories and promote a sense of well-being when you try these invigorating activities.
Get Out and Active
Many individuals with dementia prefer to stay indoors where they feel safe. However, getting out of the house and active can do wonders for a memory care patient’s health and happiness. Take a stroll through the park. Partake in a water aerobics class each week. Exercise not only benefits physical health, but can also lower anxiety.
Engage in Music Appreciation
Music has a way of soothing the heart and soul. For individuals with dementia, music can evoke a wide range of emotions and even spark memories of past events. This is because most people associate different songs or genres of music with important events in their life. Music has also been found effective in boosting mental performance.
Schedule a Pet Therapy Session
Fido may look like an ordinary animal, but pets have been found extremely beneficial in the treatment of individuals with dementia-related conditions. By their very nature, animals are non-judgmental, non-threatening, and provide unconditional love and affection. Best of all, you don’t have to take on the responsibility of full-time pet ownership. Many organizations have trained therapy dogs that can visit individuals.
Make a Favorite Dish
Cooking and baking activities can help encourage healthy eating and provide sensory stimulation. Following a recipe can be challenging, so keep it simple. A sweet salad with fresh cut fruit? Yum. A sandwich piled high with meat, cheese and veggies? Easy peasy. Does your loved one have a sweet tooth? Make ice cream sundaes together.
Watch Home Movies
With the progression of dementia comes the loss of memories. It may be difficult for your loved one to recall people, places and events. Home movies can help. Sit down with your loved one and play videotapes of family members, such as past birthday parties, holiday celebrations or family time spent together.
Plant a Garden
Did your loved one once have a green thumb? Memory care patients can stay connected with nature by building a therapy garden. Gardening has been proven effective in reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and increasing physical, spiritual and psychological health.
Put Together a Scrapbook
Photos hold memories that help to stimulate the mind, especially in individuals with dementia. Create a scrapbook with your loved one by supplying an empty book, glue and photographs of friends and family. Have your love done look at each picture and reminisce about pleasant times in their lives.
While not all activities will help bring back memories for individuals with dementia, petting a fluffy dog, making a homemade pizza, and similar activities can bring health and happiness to dementia patients in all stages of the disease.