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 is dependent upon the person's interest, ability, mood, and available resources.
Engaging loved ones in meaningful activities is at the core of what we do here at Ideal Caregivers 4u. Our services reach a multitude of needs from personal care to companionship, but we also provide clients, Retirement Homes, and the general public with free monthly activity booklets that focus on the needs and interests of Alzheimer's and dementia individuals.
When supporting male clients and family members, we often must consider their personal interests and past careers and hobbies. Their interests typically differ from those of our female clientele, as arts and crafts, for example, were not widely common 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 a good 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 any spear pieces to donate to your cause.
Start conversations about a time when the kitchen or bathroom sink needed to change, etc. This may lead to some interesting 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 not available, try using other items that can be sorted by size, shape, colour, or even uses! Consider having tools (or picture cards, for optimal safety) on display that will evoke conversation and memories of times spent using a hammer, screwdrivers, or even a level. There are safe options, such as plastic or foam tools that may mimic the look and feel of the tool, but keep safety as a priority.
Remember the days of saving your coins and rolling them up to buy something special?
Sorting a big pile of coins gives your loved one a reminder 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 a great 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 in which to finish the task. Reduce expectations to ensure stress and anxiety are reduced 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!
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