Adapting Activities for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia doesn’t mean a person must give up doing the things he or she loves. Some activities may need to be modified, but by being creative and adapting when necessary, caregivers can help loved ones with memory loss continue to do many of the things they enjoy.
Sometimes, people in the early stages of memory loss will withdraw from social situations and limit their activity. Staying engaged is important because loneliness and isolation have proven to be detrimental to brain health. Talk to your loved one to see if they can tell you what is causing them to withdraw – are large groups intimidating? Does he or she tire easily? Simple modifications including choice of activity or time of day may lead to more successful engagement.
Adapting to Change
As Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses, more modifications will likely need to be made. Adjusting activities will make them more enjoyable for everyone involved. These tips will help.
- Think about what your loved one is able to do. Plan your activities around the skills your loved one has, such as singing, drawing, or planting seeds.
- Pay attention to what your loved one starts doing on his or her own. Those may be things he or she enjoys. Consider incorporating those activities into the daily routine, as routine is important to people who have memory loss.
- Timing matters. People with Alzheimer’s disease may not adhere to a typical schedule. Sleeping difficulties and sundowner’s may make some times of day more ideal for visiting and activities than others.
- Look for moments of joy. If you are working on an art project with your loved on, focus on the process rather than creating a perfect masterpiece. People with memory loss live in the present, so creating moments of joy are most important. Enjoy the time spent together.
Avoiding Frustration While Facilitating Activities
Your loved one with memory loss most likely has the desire to participate in activities, but may not have the ability to plan or initiate them. You may need to get things started and guide the process. These tips can help the process go smoothly.
- Be flexible. If your loved one changes his or her mind part way through an activity or wants to do things a different way, let it happen. He or she may be hesitating out of fear or lack of confidence. It is best not to force anything. Change the way things are going or let it go altogether.
- Help with the hard parts. If your loved one is enjoying a task but gets stuck, assist him or her with those parts while he or she does what works. For example, if you are making a craft project and cutting with scissors causes frustration for your loved one, you can do the cutting while you ask him or her to do the gluing.
- Try not to criticize your loved one. Choose activities that involve self-expression so there is no “right” or “wrong” way to complete the task. The process of drawing, painting, or music itself will be rewarding, and anything that is created can be enjoyed.
- Give your loved one purpose. People do best when they feel as if they are contributing in life. Asking your loved one to help make a card for a neighbor or to sing you a song to make you smile helps provide a sense of purpose, helping him or her feel needed.
Parc Provence is the Leader in Memory Care
At Parc Provence, our goal is to help people and families who are touched by memory loss. Many families choose residential memory care for their loved ones for the quality services and peace of mind it can provide. Parc Provence is the proven leader in Person-Centered Care for people who have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of memory loss. We invite you to tour our community to see why families choose Parc Provence. Contact us today.