Finding ways to engage an elderly loved one in enriching activities can be a challenge, but particularly so if the person struggles with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Each stage of Alzheimer’s presents its own unique obstacles, but at any stage, planning and participating in activities can be beneficial in minimizing troublesome behaviors and emotions. Try these suggestions to successfully engage your loved one with Alzheimer’s:
- Activities need to be appropriate for the individual, keeping abilities and limitations in mind.
- Be mindful of the time of day, as most people with Alzheimer’s react very differently in the evening, as compared to the morning.
- Keep the focus of the activity on the enjoyment of it: it is the experience of the activity that is important, not the end result.
- Offer support as needed and provide simple instructions one task at a time.
- Stress a sense of purpose in the activity such as saying you’d like to send a special thank you card to someone and then invite the person to join you.
- Substitute an activity for a behavior. If a person with dementia rubs his hand on a table, put a cloth in his hand and encourage him to wipe the table. Or, if he is moving his feet on the floor, play some music so he can tap them to the beat.
- If something isn’t working, it may just be the wrong time of day or the activity may be too complicated. Try again later, or adapt the activity.
The caregiving team at Reliable Caregivers is specially trained in dementia care, and provides a wealth of resources to help families navigate the Alzheimer’s journey. Call us at 415-436-0100 24-hours a day for a confidential discussion about your caregiving needs.