As you develop routines for the day in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, it’s important to include activities and visitors. What your loved one can handle will change over time, so stay flexible in your planning. You want to make sure that they are getting sensory experiences and socialization, but not to the point of getting overstimulated and stressed. Here are some suggestions for activities:
- Start with their interests, but make sure you match the activity with their ability.
- Vary activities to stimulate different senses of sight, smell, hearing, and touch.
- Plan time outdoors.
- Consider outside group activities designed for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Visitors can be a rich, fulfilling part of the day for your loved one and can also provide you an opportunity to socialize or take a break, but timing is important. Plan visitors at a time of day when your loved one can best handle them. Often, this time is before the later hours.
Some visitors may need to be briefed on communication tips if they are uncertain. Bringing memorabilia your loved one may like, such as a favorite old song or book can help visitors ease into the experience. Larger gatherings like family and social events may also be appropriate, as long as your loved one is comfortable.
We probably don’t need to tell you that Alzheimer’s and dementia can be painful for non-professional caregivers. One of the most painful parts of Alzheimer’s disease is watching a loved one display behavior you never would have thought possible. This can range from something embarrassing, such as inappropriate outbursts, to hallucinations, paranoia, and violent behavior. As a result, you will probably become increasingly vigilant for the person’s safety in the home as they lose their memory.
Painful as some behaviors are, it’s critical not to blame yourself or try to handle all the changes in behavior alone. As challenging behavior progresses, you may find yourself too embarrassed to go out, for example, or to seek respite care. If you feel like you are reaching a point like this or you think that it might be down the road, please contact us today. We can sit down with you and your loved one, provide a free assessment and help ensure the best quality of life possible for you both.