Everyday activities can become too complicated for seniors living with Dementia. As the disease progresses, cognitive function weakens, and memory and concentration decline. It’s not always possible to continue to participate in favorite pastimes, such as cycling or poker.
However, having Dementia doesn’t mean you can’t lead a fun and fulfilling life. People living with Dementia prefer activities that are fail-free because there’s no right or wrong way to do them. Soothing, repetitive activities that encourage self-esteem to reduce agitation and confusion and help people living with Dementia feel good about themselves. You want your loved one to feel happy and self-confident. While playing a board game is stimulating for many people, it can overwhelm someone with Dementia and drastically confuse them. You want to avoid playing games with complex sets of rules with your loved one because the result might be one of disappointment and anguish.
If you’re wondering what to do with a family member who is living with Dementia, check out our list of three interactive and engaging activities.
1. Make a Keepsake Box
Most people have memories scattered all over the house — whether they’re photographs, souvenirs, clothing, or a collection of some sort. For an interactive, mentally-stimulating activity, help your loved one create a customized keepsake box with all of their favorite objects. Creating a keepsake box will also encourage your family member to feel connected to their past and remind them of what a wonderful person they are.
All you need is a shoebox or something a little bigger and an afternoon to spend quality time with your family member. It’s important for people living with Dementia to remember all of their accomplishments and achievements from past years. Ask questions about their life and career to trigger fond memories. What did they love about their old job? Did they ever volunteer? What promotions or awards did they ever receive? These types of questions will make them feel valued and appreciated.
2. Sit in a Dog Park
Does your friend love dogs? Consider spending an afternoon at the dog park with them. Find a comfortable bench to sit on and admire all of the four-legged pooches running around. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is so much better than sitting at home watching TV. If it’s cold, ensure your loved one is dressed warmly and bring a couple of blankets.
3. Folding the Laundry
To help your loved one feel accomplished and that they’re contributing something meaningful to the household, ask them to assist with folding the laundry. The repetitive task is engaging and will give your family member a sense of purpose. Face cloths and tea towels are the best options because they’re small and easy to fold. Performing repetitive acts, such as housework, in a familiar space comforts people living with Dementia and can make them feel needed. More seniors are choosing to age at home with professional Dementia Care in Toronto because living at home offers dignified, independent living in a place that they know and love.
There’s no denying that Dementia is a complex disease. To watch a loved one lose the ability to engage in some of the things they once loved is heartbreaking. But living with Dementia doesn’t mean life has to end; it just involves discovering new ways to enjoy it!