A person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia doesn’t have to give up the activities that he or she loves. Many activities can be modified to the person’s ability. In addition to enhancing quality of life, activities can reduce behaviors like wandering or agitation.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, you may need to make other adjustments to the activity. Use the following tips:
Keep the person’s skills and abilities in mind.
A person with dementia may be able to play simple songs learned on the piano years ago. Bring these types of skills into daily activities.
Pay special attention to what the person enjoys.
Take note when the person seems happy, anxious, distracted or irritable. Some people enjoy watching sports, while others may be frightened by the pace or noise.
Consider if the person begins activities without direction.
Does he or she set the table before dinner or sweep the kitchen floor mid-morning? If so, you may wish to plan these activities as part of the daily routine
Focus on enjoyment, not achievement.
Find activities that build on remaining skills and talents. A professional artist might become frustrated over the declining quality of work, but an amateur might enjoy a new opportunity for self expression. For activity ideas join ALZConnected, our message boards and online support community. Every day, caregivers like you share new ideas and encourage one another.
Relate to past work life.
A former office worker might enjoy activities that involve organizing, like putting coins in a holder or making a to-do list. A farmer or gardener may take pleasure in working in the yard.
Look for favorites.
The person who always enjoyed drinking coffee and reading the newspaper may still find these activities enjoyable, even if he or she is not able to completely understand what the newspaper says.
Adjust activities to disease stages.
As the disease progresses, you may want to introduce more repetitive tasks. Be prepared for the person to eventually take a less active role in activities.