The key to staying active during Alzheimer’s and dementia is the same as any other stage in life: Have fun. Of course, there are a few more considerations, but engaging all of the senses and enjoying yourself is the goal. Before you start, you should ask yourself, “does my loved one still enjoy the activity,” because an old hobby might not be as fun anymore. Activities need to be kept in line with your loved one’s interests and abilities. Finally, being extra clear about an activity is also helpful. Structure helps avoid frustration.
Activities for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
1.) Arts and Crafts – Crafts are fun because they allow for a wide array of skill levels. Denver is a crafting city. We have craft stores like Fancy Tiger Crafts that offer classes for all levels and we even have an online startup called Craftsy for those who want to learn to craft in the comfort of their home. Beyond using paper, felt, doilies, paint, quilting, and whatever else you can imagine, you can also make jewelry, shape clay, or join painting classes too.
2.) Music – Recently, we posted about how music can ignite long term memories and offer a window into the past. Look for old records around the house or download the records from iTunes and play the songs. You might be surprised at how effective music can be in bringing old emotions to life.
3.) Baking – If it is safe, make and decorate cookies using simple recipes or ready made dough. Just like music, the smell of baking treats might help bring back memories to share.
4.) Gardening – Gardening gets people outdoors for a low impact, but physically intensive activity. If getting on the ground to turn soil is a stretch, you can still make creations with fresh flowers. Arrange flowers in gardeners, pots and hanging baskets to brighten up the house. You can even buy vases and an assortment of fresh flowers to assemble into a bouquet.
5.) Reminiscing – Outdoor gardening isn’t available during the winter months in Denver, but during the cold winter months, you can always sit back and ask questions about the past. Long term memories have a way of staying intact well into old age. The holidays are an especially good time to gather the family and learn more about your loved one’s life.
Whatever you decide to do, mixing it up and keeping activities fun is the most important part. If you would like to help, our caregivers are certified in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care.