June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. Dementia affects 47 million people worldwide. Here we share a guest post that we hope will be useful.
Staying active and engaged throughout goes a long way in benefiting physical and cognitive health. With that in mind, it is especially important for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to engage in physical and mental activities on a regular basis. There are some activities which are particularly beneficial for people with dementia, such as outdoor activities and exercises, mental games, art, and music, as well as maintaining the day to day routines. By offering routine and structure for an individual with dementia, you will be in a position to maintain their sense of security, maintain cognitive function and calm their aggressive or anxious behaviour. Some activities also go a long way in helping to provide some level of security and control over their lives, especially for people who are still in the initial phase of dementia. For individuals who are in their last phase, a combination of these activities will go a long way in ensuring they are still in a position to communicate and engage their memories. To keep yourself or your loved ones occupied as well as actively engaged in helpful activities, here are a few activities that are proven to be beneficial for dementia sufferers.
- Folding Towels
Although it appears to be a simple activity, folding towels can be beneficial to a dementia sufferer. Asking the person to assist you in folding your laundry will go a long way in helping to keep them occupied. Additionally, given the fact that this is a simple task, your loved one will most likely feel successful at it, and this will encourage them to take part in many other activities to keep their victorious spirit moving. Remember, the goal is to ensure the patients are happily engaged. You may begin with hand towels because these can be folded with ease. No matter how poorly the work is done, you need to congratulate them because you want to make them feel good about their milestone accomplishment.
- Try Tai Chi
Exercise-based interventions, according to research, are effective in preventing falls. The best example of this is Tai Chi. An ancient Chinese way of exercising, Tai Chi makes it possible for people to carry out slow movements with controlled levels of breathing. Since it is a relaxing kind of activity, Tai Chi creates a sense of calm while slowing the decline in cognition. In addition to enhancing body balance and preventing falls, this form of exercise is an excellent source of fun and a means of minimising stress for those suffering from dementia.
- The Memory Box Technique
A rummage or memory box can assist dementia patients to feel connected to their past, making it possible for them to be in touch with their memories, hobbies, and loved ones. With this approach, you can use any kind of box, fill it with the item they love or used frequently. These may include old photos as well as the non-essential keepsakes, or even items they used while carrying out their hobbies. For instance, if they worked in an office, create a box which reminds them of what they used to do while in office. Include items such as papers, pens, pencils, clips, junk emails, and letters, file folders, clipboards among others. If they carried out handy tasks, you can put bolts, nuts, fittings, wood, sandpapers and other items they used. This technique can work for any kind of hobby or job. All you need is to get creative and find items which will be safe for them to handle.
A memory box can help enhance the mental capacity of the dementia sufferer as they remain in touch with the things they love. Alternatively, you may seek professional help on matters to do with mental care for your loved one. This can be the best approach for enhancing your loved ones’ memories because it involves the input of experts. You can visit Parc Provence to learn more about professional care for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Create an Emotional Connection
For a good number of dementia sufferers, a sense of rhythm and movement is usually retained. In that case, listening and dancing to music, maintaining contact with animals, children, and babies can help create positive feelings. Dementia patients usually have a perfect memory of past events and looking at some memorabilia may help them recall their earlier times. Getting the chance to recall treasured moments in life can be satisfying in a significant way. If the reading skills have faded, you can create some recordings for them. You can also find magazines and newspapers that touch on topics that interest the person with dementia.
- Playing Cards
Playing cards is an excellent way to keep older adults engaged. A person in their early dementia phase may enjoy playing card games such as solitaire, blackjack, and old jack. On the other hand, a person in the later stage of the condition may enjoy separating the cards by colour or merely shuffling them. Pay attention to what interests them the most. If they seem frustrated or overwhelmed, you may reduce a few cards so they don’t have to deal with a large number.
Knitting can stimulate different sections of the brain including attention and memory span. These two functions are strongly affected by dementia. For that reason, knitting will help put the functions back in action, keeping them strong amidst the gradual loss of cognitive capacity. This activity, along with other similar projects will help in reducing the loss of cognitive ability by approximately fifty percent, hence stabilising the progression of the condition.
It is important to ensure your loved one takes part in one or more of the above activities. If they are less interested or seem to resist, do not force it. Give them a break and try again later. You may also think of other activities that will keep them engaged and challenge their cognitive abilities. However, as you think of what activities they can do, make sure you consider the aspect of fun. What’s important is for your loved ones to feel useful and enjoy what they are doing.
Date for your diary: 13th June is Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day- join in and raise money for a worthwhile cause.