Seeking purpose, meaning, and joy in the world all around us is crucial for our wellbeing, and that doesn’t change when a senior loved one is identified as having Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, continuing to remain engaged in hobbies and interests can become difficult, because it’s very common for anyone during the early stages of dementia to withdraw from activities that were once enjoyable.
For family caregivers, helping to reignite that spark and design activities for seniors to stay active is key. The following tips can help:
- Establish the older adult’s best time of day. If, for example, your family member is an early riser but begins to lose energy later on during the day, shape the day’s routines around that schedule, for instance taking an early morning walk and then focusing on an activity with each other.
- Bring the past into the present. With long-term memory frequently stronger in individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, tap into what the older adult’s life was like during the course of a specific period, for example, during his/her career, and personalize activities accordingly. As an example, a retired art teacher may choose to paint a picture, while a homemaker may prefer sorting and folding laundry.
- Ask for help. Letting the senior know that he or she is needed is an easy confidence booster, and necessary for self-worth. Ask your senior loved one to assist you in baking, in whatever means is appropriate based on the stage of the dementia – even if it’s simply stirring a bowl of flour and salt together. Or perhaps bring out a toolbox of various nuts and bolts and have the senior help you to sort them.
Through the entire process of engaging in activities, hold the following in your thoughts:
- Permit plenty of time for the older adult to work at his/her own pace.
- Avoid “taking over,” but offer encouragement and supervision as necessary and accepted.
- Provide simple instructions, one step at a time, so as never to overwhelm the individual.
- Focus more attention towards the activity itself, rather than an expected result.
- Continue being flexible, understanding the older adult may unexpectedly decide to change course.
Above all, focus on the quality time you’re spending with your loved one. If a particular activity is not of great interest to the senior now, simply take joy in a conversation and reminiscing together, and attempt the experience again at another time.
The Polk County home care team at At-Home Care Company is extensively trained and experienced in innovative, effective solutions to help older adults remain active and engaged in the world around them, and we are always readily available to give you helpful resources, tips, and the in-home care that families trust.
To learn more about our top quality Polk County home care and the surrounding areas, contact us at (515) 292-2650 to schedule a free of change in-home consultation. Let us help a senior you love find a renewed zest for life, every day!