11 Helpful at Home Activities for those Living with Dementia

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Many people may live independently and participate in meaningful activities if they devise and use techniques, habits, and assistance that are tailored to their specific requirements. Instead of abandoning interests, passions, or activities that have become challenging, it is best to alter the activity.

Spending quality time with a dementia-affected family member or friend is essential. Participating in activities that your loved one likes can help enhance their quality of living and manage behavior changes because of the condition, such as insomnia, anger, and agitation. It may also aid in the development and strengthening of your bond with them. However, knowing which activities you can safely engage in with your loved one can be difficult.

Talking to other people who would be able to help the person living with dementia figure out how to keep doing the activities they like might also be beneficial. Family, caregivers, and friends may be able to help people whose capacity to find meaning and enjoyment has deteriorated significantly.

Keep reading to know more about the activities you can do with a loved one who has dementia. But first, let us see how these activities may benefit those living with dementia.

Importance of Keeping the Loved One Engaged in Daily Activities

Importance of Keeping the Loved One Engaged in Daily Activities

As dementia progresses, the individual will have a harder time focusing and learning new things. Having a schedule in place from the start provides them with a structure that they are used to. The following are some additional advantages of adopting a dementia-friendly schedule that includes interesting activities for a loved one:

1. Enhances Mental Performance

Being busy keeps the mind active and ready to take on new challenges. As a result, it’s critical to keep the patient physically and mentally engaged as much as possible. Maintaining social relationships is another benefit of being active with loved ones and friends.

2. Gives them a Sense of Being Productive and a Sense of Purpose

Those living with dementia may feel as though they are a burden to their loved one. Engaging in daily tasks can make them feel highly productive and that they’re achieving something every day, no matter how small. To avoid frustration, keep in mind that you should restrict or remove things that your loved one considers too difficult. It is always preferable to create a pleasant environment.

3. Provides Something to Look Forward to

Daily activities provide those living with dementia with something to anticipate. Friends and relatives may give a great deal of structure by planning events so that they can spend time with family and friends. Adding consistency to one who is living with dementia, having a daily schedule that helps them relieve stress is a prerequisite.

4. Makes them Happy and Relaxed

It is critical to continue to appreciate what gives one’s life significance or a sense of happiness or relaxation. Playing an instrument, crocheting, or sketching are all creative activities that many people love. Others value social interaction, so try to maintain it as much as possible. Even if they don’t recall where they’ve gone, those living with dementia can still enjoy an outing. What matters is that they enjoy the moment.

Popular Activities For Those Living with Dementia

Popular Activities for those Living with Dementia

There is a range of activities that are shown to be helpful and enjoyable for people with dementia. Some of them are mentioned below:

1. Physical Activity

People with dementia can benefit from participation in physical activity in many ways. It can aid in the regulation of their sleep and the prevention of restlessness and insomnia in the evening. It can also help them have a sense of happiness and reduce their chances of feeling sad.

These may include:

  • Walking in a park
  • Tandem biking
  • Water aerobics
  • Gardening
  • Chair exercises
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

2. Engage Them in Their Hobbies

Engaging them in their favorite activities and hobbies is a terrific approach to keep them busy. It’s usually a good idea to start by asking your loved one what they’d like to do, so you can make sure the activities are truly customized.

3. Art

Many art professors will not allow their students to use erasers since every stroke, whether produced accidentally or on purpose, is a part of the process that creates the piece. This attitude encapsulates the particular significance of art for those living with dementia in that there are no right or incorrect answers.

In a society full of neurological testing and “Do you recall…” questioning from family members, the individuality of art, whether in its production or enjoyment, can be calming and freeing. Art therapy for our loved one by caregivers has increased the quality of life and diminished some of the disease’s behavioral and emotional symptoms.

4. Music

Music has the ability to provide individuals with a tremendous sense of comfort. People may be both soothed and stimulated by music. It can provoke strong emotional reactions and help those living with dementia reconnect with their memories. If your loved one has dementia, nostalgia might be a terrific way to help them connect with their past.

Even as the condition advances, the ability to play an instrument may stay largely unaffected. Adults with dementia may not be able to recall names or dates, but they may be able to participate in the music they’ve played or heard all their lives. Music often incorporates a combination of memories, emotions, listening, body movement, and rhythm, which may explain why it is so deeply ingrained in the brain.

5. Reminisce About their Life

Reminiscence, also known as reminiscence therapy, is a type of activity that includes recalling prior events, memories, and experiences. Exercises in reminiscence often rely on long-term memories, which take longer to deteriorate in dementia. While dementia may impair patients’ ability to recall names or what they had for lunch today, it is less likely to impair their childhood and early life memories, such as their school years or wedding.

6. Baking or Cooking

Baking or cooking basic recipes with them may be a fun way to motivate them to do something useful while also rewarding them with a yummy treat. Allowing them to do what is safe and reasonable is essential. Depending on their stage, they may simply observe as you prepare, or they can assist with parts of the task they are able to participate in safely.

7. Animal Therapy

If your loved one is fond of animals but doesn’t have one, animal therapy could be a wonderful way to keep them stimulated. There are several options available for stuffed animal pets that are great! You can find them here. Research shows that pets reduce stress, depression, anxiety symptoms and provide a sensory experience. There are many other benefits as well. Pet therapy can reduce heart rate and blood pressure while lowering cortisol levels and increasing serotonin levels.

8. Take them Out

People with dementia constantly complain of being bored or not going out enough, so if they are able to get out of the house with you, this can be an excellent way to meet that need while also providing multiple stimulations. It also has the additional benefits of giving them a reason to go out of the house, allowing them to exercise, and decreasing sadness and anxiety while reducing problem behaviors like insomnia and agitation.

9. Read to Them

If your loved one used to like reading but is now unable to do so, you may read their favorite book to them. You may also let them listen to a recording or an audiobook of their favorite or new book. If they don’t find television entertaining or are unable to read for themselves, this could be a better alternative to television.

10. Explore Nature

You and your loved one can engage in a wide range of stimulating activities. Nature exploration is a great way to get some clean air and to see new things. This is especially ideal if your loved one loves greenery or animals.

Activities to include:

  • Visit a botanical garden
  • Go bird watching
  • Smelling the flowers
  • Feed birds around a pond
  • Organize a BBQ in your garden
  • Watch a nature documentary
  • Garden together

11. Fun Games and Puzzles

Old board games like scrabble or snakes and ladders, crossword or jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, dominoes are all examples of fun activities you can plan with your loved one. These can be a workout for their memory and also help in reinforcing problem-solving skills.

Plan The Activities

When organizing activities for people living with dementia, it’s crucial to keep the individual in mind. It’s important to think about their background, likes and dislikes, and special requirements and restrictions. A single activity will not appeal to everyone.

If your grandfather has never been an “animal-loving person,” pet therapy or socializing with animals is unlikely to offer him any delight. If your mother has never been a big fan of art, she could choose something else.

Final Thoughts

Living with dementia is a challenging task that is generally dominated by loss and deterioration. So, it’s critical to encourage people’s skills, abilities, and unique preferences throughout the condition. Although those living with dementia will experience reductions in different cognitive and physical capacities, some characteristics like pride, self-respect, wit, compassion for others, willingness to help, creativity, and others, are often largely preserved during the course of the disease.

You’ll notice, however, that nearly all of these traits need social engagement and opportunities to promote them. As caregivers, friends, and family members of people with dementia, it is our job to do everything we can to support them and offer the best quality of life possible.

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