Choosing Engaging Activities for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease

Mom has always loved baking. In fact, it’s hard to find a family holiday picture that doesn’t include one of her famous desserts taking center stage on the dining room table. But now that she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, does it mean that integral part of her will soon slip away?

While Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia go hand in hand with a number of physical and emotional changes, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to hang up the apron. Activities that have been enjoyed can often continue to be a part of a senior’s life after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, even if it means incorporating some modifications.

Take these considerations from the Alzheimer’s Association to heart when helping your senior loved one participate in beloved activities and interests:

  • Make enjoyment the goal of any activity. If your loved one is interested in painting, for example, allow the sheer joy of adding colors to a blank paper or canvas to be the end goal, rather than attempting to create a specific image.
  • Provide direction only if needed. Pay attention to whether your loved one becomes frustrated when engaging in the activity, and if so, gently redirect him or her as needed. Otherwise, allow enough space for the person to feel a sense of independence and accomplishment.
  • Plan activities during peak times of day. Is your loved one more agitated later in the day, but refreshed in the early morning? Or does he or she prefer to sleep in and perk up in the mid-afternoon? Understand when the senior is most likely to enjoy activities and plan accordingly.
  • Modify as the disease progresses. In the later stages of the disease, more repetitive tasks may be better suited to the senior, and you may find that a less active role in the activities works best.
  • Remain flexible. A senior with Alzheimer’s disease may be fully engaged in an activity, and then suddenly lose interest. It’s important to never force an activity to continue. It may be that putting the activity aside for awhile to allow the senior to rest will result in continued interest later.

Home & Hearth Caregivers is here to partner with families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, providing highly skilled, compassionate and patient dementia care, whether for just a couple of hours to allow for some respite, or full, around-the-clock care and supervision. We welcome you to contact us for home care assistance in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and surrounding Illinois counties by calling 800-349-0663 and speaking with one of our senior in-home care experts. Working together, we can make life more fulfilling and enriching for your loved one.

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