There are many benefits people with dementia can receive from participating in activities regularly. Cognitive-rich activities, such as going through photo albums and listening to music, have been proven to help slow the progression of memory loss in some cases. Physical activities, on the other hand, can increase seniors' coordination and motor skills and reduce their chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.
For the caregivers and family members of individuals with dementia, activities offer opportunities to spend time interacting with their loved ones and give them conversation starters. Many of the traditional activities that seniors enjoy, including gardening and painting, can be tailored to suit various levels of abilities and skills.
If you're looking for inspiration for your next activity project, here are six that you might want to consider doing with your loved one.
Getting involved in preparing dinner doesn't necessarily mean just helping with cooking the food or setting the table. Decorative centerpieces are a great way to enhance the dining experience and boost mood, not only for your loved one with dementia but also for your entire family.
Arranging flowers is an activity that seniors of varying stages of dementia can all enjoy, and by taking apart the centerpiece and rearranging it each day, a simple bouquet from your neighborhood market's florist shop can provide multiple days of engagement.
Feeding the birds offers two beneficial activities for older adults. The first is the act of actually filling the feeder or preparing handmade pinecone feeders, which lets them complete meaningful tasks and experience a feeling of accomplishment. The second is watching the feathered friends coming to feast on the provided treats.
There are multiple ways your loved one can help feed the birds in their backyard depending on their skill level, including filling and washing the feeders, setting out suet blocks and scattering seed on the ground for sparrows and doves.
Surprising family members with a cookie treat is a fun way seniors can show their love to those around them, and it's a super easy activity to customize to your loved one's abilities.
This simple craft uses a paper plate fashioned into a gift basket and lined with wax paper. In addition to ribbons, your loved one can add stickers, washi tape or twine to decorate the finished product.
You can make cookies from scratch and have your loved one help out mixing the dough or sprinkling in chocolate chips, however, you can also use your family's favorite store-bought brands to save time.
It isn't uncommon for a senior to have trouble adjusting to needing care and assistance after a lifetime of taking care of their family. However, asking them for a hand around the house can help encourage your loved one that there are still many ways they can contribute.
Folding laundry and matching socks are good tasks for individuals with dementia because it offers them a specific goal and lets them enjoy a sense of accomplishment when the work is completed.
Daily routines such as making the bed and collecting the dirty dishes after meals are also comforting to individuals with dementia and can help reduce stress.
Long thought as a children's activity, coloring has become increasingly popular among adults in recent years. Medical studies have shown that coloring offers stress relief benefits akin to meditation, which can help reduce anxiety, depression and physical discomfort.
As with other art therapies, coloring nurtures creativity, self-expression and emotional well-being. It also lets seniors practice their motor skills, finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
A wide selection of coloring books is available, making it easier than ever to find materials that appeal to seniors' individual tastes. For added engagement and enjoyment, include other members of the family in coloring activities. As an intergenerational hobby, coloring is an ideal choice for a scheduled family activity.
Sorting projects are a good way to get seniors busy and focused on one specific task. If you keep craft supplies on hand for art projects, such as beads, buttons and pipe cleaners, ask your loved one to help keep everything collected into separate boxes by color so that it's easier for you to set up craft projects.
Other items to sort include magazines, mail and newspapers, which let seniors join in tidying up the house. If your loved one used to do handyman-style projects in the past, they may prefer sorting objects such as nuts, bolts and washers from a tool drawer.
Providing a wide variety of activities is one of the best ways to help seniors with dementia flourish. Here at Autumn View Gardens, we know that games, social events and therapies each offer unique benefits, so our staff members carefully design activity programming to maximize these rewards for our residents. Reach out to our team today to learn more about the ways customized activities can enrich your loved one's life.