Dementia may affect a person’s day to day functioning. That is why certain activities can be beneficial for persons with dementia. Individuals living with dementia need to feel loved, valued and included. Although dementia may be characterized by various declines and limitations, not all the abilities are lost, particularly in the initial and middle stages of the disease.
Seniors with this condition can make significant contributions to a community and experience joy. Therefore, providing opportunities for people with dementia to have such experiences is vital.
Research suggests various activities that are beneficial and enjoyable for persons with dementia. These activities provide these people with chances to; engage with life, relieve stress, express themselves, recover some memory and create social and emotional bonds.
Below are some activities for people with dementia.
Seniors with dementia remember better when they draw. In the art class, teachers do not let learners to use erasers for every stroke, even made mistakenly, is part of what makes the art what it is.
This as well applies to persons with dementia, in their art, there is no right or wrong. Art programs for people with dementia together with their caregivers have been proven to improve the individual’s quality of life.
Art also reduces some emotional and behavioral symptoms of dementia. The care-giver and the care-recipient can also participate in art together, which is an opportunity to interact as friends, peers or family.
Examples of these programs include here:now and Meet Me at MoMA.
Other hand-work activities such as mixing paints, arranging brushes or even threading a needle come in handy. The care-giver, during these activities may trigger a conversation to help the care-recipient remember earlier times.
2. Enjoying nature
This goes a long way to assist persons with dementia, especially if the person enjoyed outdoor activities prior to diagnosis of dementia. The individual may derive pleasure from planting seeds, weeding a garden and even harvesting.
The caregiver may work with the person on a regular basis and together they can maintain a whole backyard garden. The person with dementia may as well enjoy cycling, taking a walk or hiking. These activities may reduce some behavioral and emotional symptoms of the disease and they also help the person to stay healthy.
Other simple activities such as feeding fish in a pond or a tank, watching birds at a feeder or tending an indoor garden can also be fulfilling.
3. Enjoying Music
Music is an incredible and safe way to engage people with dementia. Interestingly, music has an incredible effect on the parts of the brain damaged by dementia. Music helps people with dementia to involve in more meaningful interactions.
They can engage in creating music by playing an instrument or even singing. The persons can also enjoy listening to personalized playlists and this may help with their memory from earlier years. In most kinds of dementia, implicit or procedural memory; (which is the memory of something one performed practically unconsciously like playing a guitar or riding a bicycle) is the sort of memory the takes longer to erase.
Playing an instrument or soft music to the person with dementia may soothe agitation through stressful times.
Cooking is a great way for a person with dementia to interact with his/her loved ones. Research also shows that cooking helps an individual with dementia to eat better, and consequently, live a healthier life. However, safety in the kitchen should be a number one priority when cooking.
To assist the person with dementia, the caregiver can give direction and supervise the person as he/she cooks. To avoid confusing the person, one can make the kitchen setting simple and only remove only the things to be used during that session.
5. Dementia jigsaw puzzles
Including jigsaw puzzles as part of dementia care is an incredible way of providing an entertaining activity to the person with the condition. Jigsaw puzzles slow down decline and this helps by delaying worsening of symptoms of the condition.
Engaging in mental stimulating activities such as jigsaw puzzles also help a person with dementia to lead a better quality of life and to improve his/her communication, thus better interactions with the people around them.
Solving jigsaw puzzles also stimulates the release of a feel-good chemical known as dopamine which gives the person a natural feeling of happiness and enjoyment. Jigsaw puzzles may also help to calm down a person with dementia, in that it helps the person to meditate and thus it has a therapeutic effect on the individual’s brain.
6. Reading stories and creative story telling
Reading stories is a light exercise for the mind and imagination. This is a great activity for persons with dementia.
They can read short stories rather than long books and preferably, the stories that relate with their past. This will enable them to apply their long-term memory.
On the other hand, creative storytelling is another good activity for someone with dementia to connect with loved ones. You can use fun images and ask the individual about his/her thoughts on the image. You can use TimeSlips which is a free website to assist you during the story telling sessions.
It is important to give the patient ample time to express their thoughts and tell their story.
7. Doing House Chores
Activities around the house give fulfillment to someone with dementia, and they also help the person maintain the life skills learn prior to the diagnosis. Organizing household or even office items is also a stimulating activity for someone with dementia.
However, they may need assistance from a caregiver or a loved one for their safety as they participate in the chores.
A dementia diagnosis means that the individual has to live differently. However, in order to live well with dementia, one can still continue to enjoy his/her hobbies together with family and friends.