If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you may struggle to identify stimulating activities that are appropriate for your loved one’s capabilities and level of engagement. Alzheimer’s disease can cause seniors to withdraw from family, friends and activities they once enjoyed. Engaging your loved one in a satisfying activity helps to reduce anxiety, agitation, depression, anger and feelings of isolation. It may also help to reduce challenging behaviors like sundowning. It often takes some experimentation to find games and activities that are both enjoyable and engaging. It’s best to stay flexible as well. What works one day may not be of interest the next.
Games and other projects offer both mental and social stimulation for those with Alzheimer’s and can possibly slow the deterioration of cognitive abilities. They encourage self-expression, increase emotional connections with others and stir memories. To help, here are 10 ideas for stimulating activities you can enjoy from the safety of home. You never know what may spark your loved one’s interest:
- Sing or play music: Melodies and lyrics of favorite songs can affect the memory part of the brain tremendously.
- Work on puzzles: Puzzles are exercise for the brain and help a loved one with problem-solving abilities.
- Read the newspaper or books together: Reading is another form of mental exercise that can spark memories and emotions.
- Do simple activities around the house: Ideas include: cooking a simple recipe, folding laundry, organizing a junk drawer or planting flowers.
- Sort objects: Give the brain a workout by sorting pictures or different colored or shaped blocks.
- Play word and number games: Simple crossword puzzles and word searches help keep the brain focused.
- Make a scrapbook: Scrapbooking is creative, as well as a sorting and organizational project. The pictures can help stimulate memories and encourage conversation as well.
- Do an artistic activity: Artistic activities like drawing, painting, working with Play Doh or coloring in a coloring book stimulate creativity and hand movement.
- Set up a buffet of favorite foods: Offering a variety of favorite foods provide your loved one with pleasant smells and familiar tastes to enjoy.
- Activities to keep hands busy: Playing with sensory toys, such as a spiky massage ball, shuffling and arranging a deck of visually stimulating cards and threading pasta with yarn or string are examples of activities that can keep hands in motion and calm nerves.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging and is particularly stressful if you feel like you’re not able to spend as much time with them as you’d like. Assisting Hands offers professional in-home personal care services to provide caregivers with a much-needed break. We can help keep your loved one safe and secure when you can’t be with them. If you’re looking for a skilled, compassionate and professional caregiver to take care of a loved one, Assisting Hands is ready to help. Our services are available throughout Montgomery County, MD and Northern VA, including Fairfax County. Call us in Maryland at 301-363-2580 or in Virginia at 703-556-8983.