Lack of stimulation and boredom can be one of the most frustrating things for individuals living with dementia and other diseases, even when they are receiving in-home elderly companion care.
Therefore, it is imperative to engage and provide these individuals with activities, in order to keep them in high spirits and prevent them from depression, as well as decreasing anxiety and irritability.
In this article, we are going to walk you through 10 fun activities you can engage in with someone with dementia. These activities are proven to be immensely helpful for people dealing with dementia and other memory loss issues. So you can start using them right away without even giving a second thought.
Exercise and Physical Activities
Exercise and physical activities can have fruitful benefits, especially for people suffering from dementia. It not only helps regulate their sleep and prevent restlessness and sleeplessness but also helps maintain a positive mood which decreases the risk of them developing depression and other mental health issues.
You can help them walk around the neighborhood or a local park, or make them try tandem biking. Water aerobics is also a suitable activity for individuals with dementia. Fishing is also a good option, as visiting an entirely different environment can be a good change for them.
Reminisce About Their Life
It would be a great idea to engage your loved ones in activities or discussions about their lives. For instance, you could think of interviewing your loved one about their life using a video recorder, talk to them about their life and their childhood, look at old photos, make photo albums, and also watch family videos together. You could also ask them about their favorite memories revolving around any topic, for instance, a particular holiday or favorite holiday, or an old friend.
Engage Them in Their Favorite Hobbies and Activities
You can engage your loved ones by letting them do their favorite hobbies and doing what basically interests them. It would be wise to ask your loved one what they would prefer to do first. Thus, you should make sure those activities are tailored to them. The best way of doing this is by asking them to show you their interests, as well as their favorite hobbies.
Cooking and Baking
Cooking or baking simple recipes would be a great way to engage individuals with something practical, while also offering a tasty treat as a reward! However, be sure that they are out of danger while in the kitchen. Depending on their stage of dimension, it will be wise to only let them watch while you cook. Or, they can even take the lead and tell you what to do next. All this will ensure your loved ones stay safe while engaging in fun activities too!
Animal therapy could be a great way to provide stimulation if your loved one is fond of animals. Studies have shown how animals tend to relieve stress, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. They will also help provide a sensory experience for your loved one. Furthermore, animal therapy also helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and also boost levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone). Therefore, you should consider inviting a friend or family member over who has a pet or even take your loved one to a local animal shelter or local animal therapy organizations.
Go Out and About
Individuals suffering from dementia often complain about being bored and not getting out of the house enough. Therefore, taking your loved ones out would be a great way to ensure that they have varied stimulation. Moreover, going out will also offer them a chance to exercise, and also help relieve depression and anxiety. Prominent problematic behaviors, such as sleeplessness and agitation, will also be alleviated.
Appropriate activities when going out with your loved one can include shopping together, going for a massage together, visiting their favorite place in the city, eating at their favorite restaurant, going on a small day trip to a local place of interest, or even spending an afternoon in a local park.
Exploring nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, helps reduce anger, fear, and stress. Exposure to nature will not only make them feel better emotionally but will also contribute to their physical wellbeing, as it helps reduce muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate, as well as the production of stress hormones.
There are numerous activities you and your loved one can engage in, for instance, gardening together, visiting a local botanical garden, going bird watching, feeding birds at the pond, or even sitting in your own garden. Moreover, you can even opt for watching a nature documentary if your loved one’s condition does not allow them to go outdoors!
Read Their Favorite Book
You could choose to read your loved ones their favorite book if they were an avid reader in the past. It would also be a good idea to let them listen to their favorite book, on tape, or as an audiobook. In fact, studies have shown that stress levels drastically reduce by 68% after reading. This is because our brain is engaged in the story, which slows down heart rates and relaxes muscles.
Engage Them in Their Favorite Topics
It would be a good idea to talk to your loved ones about their favorite topics or even their favorite sports teams. You can even watch YouTube videos with them about their favorite singer, public figure, or even watch their favorite tv show. This will help them to interact and communicate more, engage in conversations, reconnect with their youth, and will also make them feel more valued.
Music helps provide comfort to people. It helps to soothe and stimulate people, and also helps people reconnect with memories. You can help your loved ones by letting them listen to their favorite singer, create a personalized playlist for them, or even show them videos of their favorite singer or band performing live.