Many people who have a loved one suffering from dementia have questions about the kind of activities they should provide for them. Research shows that seniors with dementia need to be provided activities that can help them keep and use the cognitive functions they have. It has also been shown that these types of activities can even slow the progression of dementia. So what kind of activities can you initiate to help keep your loved one’s state of mind in top shape?
- Provide a routine: Dementia has a terrible effect on the way that some seniors feel about their own purpose in life. They can often begin to feel as if they are of no use to others or feel like a complete burden to their own family. You can help your loved one by making them feel needed and important. Start by providing activities that you and your loved one can enjoy doing together. None of these tasks need to be elaborate or physically draining. Try folding the laundry or washing dishes as a team. Did they used to love gardening? Try planting some flowers close to the front door so you can both easily care for them. You may need to simplify each of these activities, but it helps to put them in touch with the things they were passionate about before dementia.
- Offer them social interaction: Even if your elderly loved one has diminished abilities, they still need to experience social interaction with other people. Each one of us needs to have some type of access to socialize with others. Provide your loved one with social activities in order to watch their cognitive function improve. Small things like taking them with you to run errands can become a great activity for the two of you. In addition, signing your loved one up for activities at a local senior center can prove to be a wonderful resource. Schedule social interactions that are calm and free from stress since crowds and noise can often overwhelm people with dementia.
- Provide physical exercise: Just like social interaction, seniors with dementia can also benefit from any type of exercise. Taking short daily walks can help to reduce their anxiety and tension, while also improving cardiac and respiratory health. Another great tool is a stationary exercise bike. These can help to relieve tension and boredom, especially on rainy or cold days when outdoor walks are out of the question. Naturally, you must take into consideration the overall health, level of dementia and general needs of your loved one when developing a plan for physical activities.
These tips can be very successful in helping your loved one to regain some activity in their daily lives. The key is that once you choose an activity for them to participate in, make sure that they are able to continue participating on a regular basis.