Special activities for people with dementia are important at all stages of dementia. These activities vary a lot depending on the severity of the condition, physical ability and age of the patient. The activities need to be a mix to achieve things such as:
- Keeping the person with dementia remain happy and positive which is essential in staving off depression
- Maintaining a level of self-worth in those who are in the early or middle stages and to improve their sense of wellbeing
- Maintaining some level of physical and mental conditioning. For some this may even slow the progression of the disease.
How Activities Helps Caregivers
Taking care of someone with this debilitating disease can be challenging for anyone. This is true no matter how strong the relationship between the caregiver and patient was to begin with. A focus on special routines can be beneficial to both patient and caregiver, and is usually pivotal in enhancing patient care.
The more mental stimulation the patient receives, the easier it will be for them to cope with and to understand their illness. Special attention to activities for people with dementia can also help the caregiver in the following ways:
- It decrease stress levels so that they are less likely find the task of caregiving unmanageable. Choosing the right routines will help the patient find the kind of structure that helps them to overcome some of the challenges they face. For the caregiver this lessens the workload, as the easier it is for the patient, the less challenging things will be for the caregiver.
- This helps to strengthen the bond between the patient and the loved one caring for them. Many of the ideas for keeping the patient mentally and physically occupied involve the caregiver as well. Many of these activities help to build the relationship between both caregiver and the person with dementia.
- The caregiver can benefit directly by learning new ways to cope with challenges. This can help them become more responsive if other family members or friends have to cope with a similar illness.
Some Activities for Dementia
The types of activities for people with dementia depend a great deal on the stage of dementia and the type of dementia. The truth is, people coping with this illness can still enjoy a range of activities. Since dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease tend to rob sufferers of their memory, memory games are very important in the early stages of the disease.
Activities for dementia in the Early Stage
In the early stages of dementia, many people can still follow instructions clearly. It is a good idea to encourage games that call for remembering things and talking. Memory games are especially important at the early stage of the disease. Other good ideas include:
- Puzzles and card games, especially those that help to sharpen memory
- Simple crafts, particularly those the patient might have enjoyed previously
- Basic household tasks help to keep the patient active and allow them to continue to feel useful and independent
- Listening to their favorite music not only helps memory, it is also a good way to relax
- Outdoor activities like gardening or light yard work
In the early stage of the disease, depression following a diagnosis is common and the person may not want to do anything. Getting the person interested in something they like is especially important at this stage. Journaling is a popular and useful activity to help early stage sufferer deal with the feelings and emotions they are going through.
As physical abilities and the senses decline, it is important that activities for people with dementia incorporate movement. Dancing or even taking walks and talking are especially beneficial. If the person is able, simple activities such as cleaning a pair of shoes or other basic task should be encouraged.
Activities for dementia in the Late Stage
The progression of the disease usually means that over time, the patient will have trouble remember familiar faces, events and tasks. There may be success at performing the most often repeated tasks, but this is not true for every patient. This does not mean that these tasks should be put aside, as the patient may still derive some enjoyment from doing them.
Any activities for people with dementia should excite the patient but the caregiver must avoid anything that may lead to frustration. More guidance may be necessary at this stage as the person tries to cope and get things done. Some good options in these cases are:
- Watching movies: This is helpful in the early stages and movies with humor may offer the best results
- Any activity that will provide a sense of accomplishment, but the caregiver offer praise that it was well done.
- Chores that the person normally performed before becoming ill should be encouraged, but should not take a lot of time. Performing these activities every day is the best.
Many activities for dementia are useful in helping in keeping the dementia patient active and happy. Physical activities are helpful in maintaining muscle mass, which is important as some people will eventually experience a loss of fine motor skills and even mobility.
The truth is, people coping with this illness can still enjoy a range of activities. Medical professionals often stress the need to remain active as a means of coping and as well as to keep both the patient and caregiver upbeat.