Doing things we enjoy gives us pleasure and adds meaning to our lives. People with Alzheimer’s disease need to be active and do things they enjoy. However, it’s not easy for them to plan their days and do different tasks.
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble deciding what to do each day, which could make them fearful and worried or quiet and withdrawn, or they may have trouble starting tasks. Remember, the person is not being lazy. He or she might need help organizing the day or doing an activity.
Planning daily activities doesn’t come easily to people with Alzheimer’s. They also tend to prefer familiar habits, places, and tasks.
But daily routines help them focus on activities they find meaningful. If they know what to expect, it can also lessen frustration and improve their mood.
When you plan a daily routine for the person you care for, think about:
Place familiar objects around the house, such as family photos and mementos. These can make them feel more secure and connected.
Familiar smells and pastimes are also comforting. A favorite dessert and a TV show can be a pleasure for someone who always enjoyed those things after dinner or started their day that way, even if they can’t totally understand the show’s plot.
Here’s a source of unconditional love. Pets convey their needs in ways that everyone, including people with Alzheimer’s, easily understands, and they provide comfort. Relax by watching birds from a window or fish in an aquarium.
Encourage visual expression
Painting and drawing are ways to express feelings safely and with creativity. Encourage using bold, bright colors on big surfaces. Rolls of butcher paper enable seniors with dementia to create without encountering the stress of defined spaces.
Watch old movies and TV shows
Did your aging parent grow up watching westerns like “Gunsmoke” or “My Darling Clementine”? Did they prefer musicals like “The King and I” or “Singing in the Rain”? You can find old favorites at your local library or streaming online. Add some movie snacks for a fun family activity!
Building and creating art
Building and creating art can be quite stimulating. Consider embroidery, painting, and even paper mache or wood projects. Physical activities like kneading clay, scrubbing, or sanding help the mind focus and has easily become a favorite of all the residents at Shaker Place.
Work in tandem while washing dishes, setting the table, sweeping, dusting, sorting laundry, clipping coupons and recycling. Working together as a team can be helpful to caregivers by taking one more task off their shoulders, while the routine of these everyday chores can be useful for the patient.
This can mean different things for different people. Depending on skill level and physical limitations, exercise can mean anything from taking a walk together to using a stationary bike, using stretch bands or watching exercise videos geared towards the appropriate audience.
If you are a caregiver, try to make plans for outings during a time of day when your loved one is at his/her best temperament and also keep the outing short. Potential outings could include dining at a favorite restaurant, visiting a museum or taking a stroll through a park or shopping mall.
Things to remember