One of the most difficult aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is watching the person you care so much about withdraw from everyday life. Often, family and friends view this as a normal progression of the disease, but it shouldn’t be that way. Individuals who are living with Alzheimer’s benefit greatly from social interaction and activities that are specially designed to minimize the effects of memory impairment.
Family and friends might be unsure about which activities are best suited for their loved one with Alzheimer’s. They might worry that they’re over-stimulating the patient or adding more confusion and frustration to their day. While the dynamics of your relationship may shift during the course of Alzheimer’s disease, trust that spending time and engaging with the patient is something that’s good for their wellbeing.
If you’re wondering what types of activities are best suited for sharing with your loved one in Alzheimer’s care, here are some ideas to get you started.
Follow Their Lead
As your loved one progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s, you’ll find that their ability to engage in activities they’ve always enjoyed doing will begin to deteriorate. This doesn’t mean that they need to give up all the things they love. In fact, with your help, an Alzheimer’s patient can be reminded of their passions.
For instance, if the person with Alzheimer’s loved to garden, try having them help cut herbs or create a floral arrangement. Someone who enjoyed getting lost in a good book will likely enjoy having their favorites read to them. An avid piano player might enjoy listening to new music or playing around with simple tunes on a keyboard.
Work on Fine Motor Skills
We tend to lose some of our fine motor dexterity as we age, but this can happen more quickly in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Any activity that supports fine motor skill development and retention is good for individuals with Alzheimer’s.
A few examples might be threading large beads or even dried pasta to make a necklace, folding linens or tying and untying knots in thicker pieces of rope. Cutting pictures out of magazines to make a collage is also a fun activity to do together, especially if the magazines feature images that might remind the person of their life.
Create a Memory Box
Most people with Alzheimer’s Disease have a point in the progression when they’re aware of their declining memory but are still quite aware of the life around them. This is a good time to sit down with the person and make a memory box or book together.
This might include treasured items from their life, or a compilation of images that can be brought out when engaging with the patient as their condition progresses.
Real Life Puzzles
It’s easy to have any image turned into a puzzle these days, and if you can find a company that makes puzzles with large pieces, this can be a perfect lazy day activity to share with someone you love. As the patient puts the puzzle together, they’re gently reminded of the picture’s significance in their life.
Let Us Help You Care for the One You Love
Coping with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is difficult for everyone involved. At Princeton Health Care Center, we’re here to provide the comprehensive, compassionate Alzheimer Care your loved one needs and deserves. For the very best in Alzheimer’s care, contact Princeton Health Center today.