Finding activities that are fun and engaging for seniors with dementia tends to be a challenge. Add in vision impairment, and it could seem overwhelming. However, it is extremely important to ensure each day holds possibilities for joy, purpose, and meaning – minimizing the level of agitation, frustration, and other difficult behaviors and emotions in Alzheimer’s.
The first step is to think through the older adult’s current and past interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. Then think of strategies to draw on those preferences. We have compiled some ideas to help you get started:
- Assemble a playlist of the senior’s favorite songs or genre of music, and then dance, sing along, keep the beat with a tambourine or a sealed container of uncooked rice. Talk about the memories the songs raise.
- Read aloud, choosing articles or stories that are simple to follow and on issues which are interesting for the senior. For instance, a sports fan may enjoy hearing an update on his or her favorite players and teams, and then talking about highlights from the past as well.
- Get moving for improved circulation and muscle tone, as well as to help encourage daytime wakefulness and better nighttime sleeping. If weather allows, exercising outdoors is an excellent way to add in vitamin D and fresh air. Try walks in nature, pointing out the particular trees, birds, flowers, etc. that you pass on the way.
- Try out a number of tactile art mediums which can be manipulated without the use of vision, such as clay or sculpting sand. Or try creating a 3-D work of art by gluing shells, buttons, dried pasta, etc. into a shape or pattern.
- Include a senior loved one in ability-appropriate tasks around the home. Food preparation offers a number of options, such as washing and tearing lettuce for a salad, peeling and breaking apart oranges or bananas, and mixing ingredients for a cake. Or ask your senior loved one to help with folding laundry or sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
- Try pet therapy. Specially trained pet therapists can provide a safe, trusted cat or dog for the senior to pet or hold. Even though this might seem simplistic, the joy and relaxing effects of spending time with an animal can be significant.
Our caregivers at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care are skilled in creative tips on how to engage older adults of any ability level to make everyday life more enjoyable. As the leaders in dementia and respite care in Dowagiac, MI, and other Michigan communities, we’re always here to provide resources as well as hands-on care at home. For a full list of communities we serve, please visit our Locations page. Contact us today to learn more about our respite care services! Call Home Sweet Home In-Home Care at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.