Finding appropriate activities for your senior loved one with dementia that take into consideration cognitive and functional abilities can be a challenge.
There is no right or wrong when considering a variety of activities, but it depends upon the person's interest, ability, mood, and available resources.
Engaging loved ones in meaningful activities is the core of what we do here at Ideal Caregivers 4u. Our services address many needs, from personal care to companionship. We also provide clients, retirement homes, and the general public with free monthly activity booklets that focus on the needs and interests of individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia.
When supporting male clients and family members, we must often consider their interests, past careers, and hobbies. Their interests typically differ from our female clientele, as arts and crafts, for example, were uncommon for men of a certain age and era.
No matter the person, the purpose of activities is to have fun, provide social interaction opportunities, and boost self-esteem. Engaging activities can also be an excellent alternative to using medications that reduce agitation, challenging behaviour, and depression.
Here are a few ideas when supporting your elderly male (and female!) loved one with dementia.
Attach Fittings and Pipes
Get varying lengths of inexpensive PVC pipes, fittings, and T-joins to remind them of the days of being handy around the house or perhaps a previous career. Ask the hardware store if they have spare pieces to donate to your cause.
Start conversations about when the kitchen or bathroom sink needed to change, etc. This may lead to some exciting stories of the past and shared memories you may have.
Another way to enjoy hands-on activities is to sort inexpensive household items! Perhaps your elderly loved one enjoyed doing laundry, cooking, or carpentry! Use hardware parts like nuts, bolts, screws, and washers. If those items are unavailable, try using other items that can be sorted by size, shape, colour, or even use! Consider having tools (or picture cards for optimal safety) on display to evoke conversation and memories of times spent using a hammer, screwdriver, or even a level. There are safe options, such as plastic or foam tools, that may mimic the tool's look and feel but keep safety a priority.
Remember the days of saving your coins and rolling them up to buy something special?
Sorting a big pile of coins reminds your loved one of when they used to manage household finances. It also helps with fine motor skills as they pick up and handle coins with their fingers and hands.
This is also an excellent option for sorting as well! Think about sorting them by value, size, or even colour! You may also try stacking coins as a skill for "building" objects.
Whatever activity you choose, your loved one should never be pressured to "get it right" or have a timeline to finish the task. Reduce expectations to reduce stress and anxiety so that your loved one is having fun and engaging in conversation or producing smiles along the way!
**Contact us today for more information on how we can best support your loved one or if you want to subscribe to our free monthly Senior Activity Booklet!
"Improving the quality of life for our clients since 1998 while providing peace of mind to their families."
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