People living with Dementia face challenges when it comes to living the everyday, usual routine. As the illness progresses in people, the cognitive function begins to weaken, and memory and concentration decline. Sadly, it’s not a matter of if these symptoms will develop; it’s a matter of when. Once-loved activities become difficult to participate in, if not impossible, when the later stages of the disease occur in the brain.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with Dementia, it doesn’t mean that they can’t lead an interactive and fulfilling life. People living with the illness prefer activities that don’t require many stipulations and are risk-free — activities that have no right or wrong answers or a complex set of rules, so patients have the freedom to explore and engage without discretion. Repetitive, soothing activities that increase self-esteem, reduce confusion and agitation will help people living with Dementia feel validated, appreciated, and loved.
Read on to discover our list of fun, engaging, and Dementia-friendly activities that you can try with your loved one.
Listen To or Experiment with Music
Does your loved one have a deep appreciation of song? Hearing the beloved sounds of music can trigger pleasant nostalgia, creative expression, and act as a healing balm for the challenging times that Dementia can often bring. If your friend or family member played an instrument throughout their life, consider adding instruments, such as tambourines or maracas, to your time together and engage in sing-a-longs. You might want to find some nursery rhymes or old songs with simple lyrics to sing out loud.
Make a Personalized Memory Box
Before you recycle that new shoebox, consider saving it to use as a craft exercise with your family member or friend. For a mentally stimulating and Dementia-friendly activity, turn your old cardboard boxes into memory — or keepsake — boxes. Help your loved one find old photographs, souvenirs, and other materials that mean something to them and organize everything into their customized box. And you can make one for yourself so that you’re both doing something fun together.
Creating such a special keepsake box will encourage your loved one to experience connection to their past and remind them how special they are as an individual. As you build these memories within the box together, ask them questions. For example, what did they do for a living? How many children do they have? Did they ever have a pet? Such questions will help them to remember and make them feel valued.
Professional Caregiving Supervision
When interacting with a family member who has dementia, it is always important to ensure that a health professional is nearby. It is always possible to find professional assistance through sites such as Caregiverlist, which offers an extensive database of caregivers and training available. Did you know you can receive home care for Dementia in Toronto or wherever your loved one resides from Caregivers and Nurses trained and educated in Dementia Care? Talk to your loved one about the possibility of having a devoted team of home healthcare providers come right to their place of residence to offer specialized support.
You’ll discuss potential Dementia-appropriate activities with your loved one’s Caregivers, and they may even join in on the fun while providing educated compassionate perspectives.
Dementia is a complicated and often heart-breaking disease. However, with the right tools and resources, it doesn’t mean that the world has ended — it just involves discovering new ways of enjoying it!