Maintaining relationships, staying active and involved with personal interests, hobbies and activities for as long as possible helps to maintain cognitive ability for longer, ultimately improving overall quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
One of the most obvious questions may be – what kind of activity is best-suited to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Well, it depends on the individual and their level of cognitive awareness.
Important things to keep in mind:
- Former interests or hobbies they may have had in the past
- Activities may need to be modified for safety or practicality
- Some activities may lead to frustration or a feeling of being overwhelmed due to memory or sensory impairment
Keeping those with Alzheimer’s or dementia mentally active is about catering to the individual’s needs and focusing on what brings them pleasure. Some of these stimulating activities have been proven to assist with mental stimulation:
- Singing songs or playing music
- Doing arts and crafts – such as painting, drawing, knitting and puzzles
- Organising the household or office space- particularly if the individual enjoyed organisational tasks
- Cleaning around the house –helping to bring a sense of accomplishment
- Tending the garden or visiting a botanical garden
- Reading a newspaper or favourite books
- Cooking or baking something simple
- Petting and loving a cat or dog
- Watching family videos
As a care giver or a loved one, it’s important to focus on the process of the activity, rather than the success of an end result. If you encounter frustration or anger, it’s important to take a break and re-visit the task at a later stage. What matters most is that your client or loved one is not only enjoying themselves, but also being made to feel like themselves!