Activities help with socialization and cognition/memory. Alzheimer’s/Dementia are experienced differently by each person who is at different stages of what they can do, with your help. Family can get some items to do activities with their loved ones and make shared time more meaningful for both of you. If your family member becomes frustrated or agitated, do not coerce them into participating. It may take a few attempts to make a good match of activity and their comfort level. Take into account any physical health needs such as balance, vision, hearing, pain level and so forth. Calming music or favorite songs will usually calm you both down. Find out what they did for a living and what they enjoy doing. Adjust activity to their ability level. If they like animals, go to a pet store. If you have an animal, perhaps they can help in the grooming, walking and play with your pet.
Hobby and Crafts stores are a good place to find activities and crafts. You may wish to visit a Day Care center to see the tools they use and go online to purchase activities geared to people with cognitive impairment. These ideas can be used by family and hired caregivers.
Some Ideas to do together:
Coloring or painting
Polish the silver, dusting or sweeping
Putting things away – clothes, groceries, emptying dishwasher
Folding laundry, towels or napkins
Organizing a drawer, desk or closet
Balloon or beachball volleyball or a game of catch
Big pieces puzzles
Polishing nails, manicure
Listening to music, dancing
Read a book or newspaper, look at photo albums together
Make things with play dough
Match shapes together – cut outs
Put pennies (or other small single objects) on shapes you put onto pieces of paper, preactice shapes and counting
Simple card games or other games (dominos)
Go for walks
Send out letters or cards to friends and family
Chair exercises or Chair Yoga with an exercise CD
Go Online to animal sites, sports or whatever area of interest and view videos –YouTube.com
Look around your house, and think of some activities you can share.
Keep thinking… you’ll come up with more and ask your loved one which activity they prefer. Avoid open ended questions. Keep it simple and enjoyable.