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Creating Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s and Other forms of Dementia

Without question caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is an ongoing challenge. In home caregivers, in addition to providing care like medication management, bathing, feeding and dressing, are also responsible for finding engaging activities to keep their loved one active, mentally challenged and to prevent boredom.

Whether it’s a hobby or a task, therapeutic activities, like doing a jigsaw puzzle or setting the table can provide needed focus, create a positive attitude and increase a sense of self-worth. It is best to select activities that reflect your loved ones past interests or hobby, but never allow them access to materials or tools that could cause personal injury or damaged property. While trying to accommodate your loved one’s desires, caregivers must be consider any physical or cognitive problems that could affect their ability to be safe or become engaged with a new activity. Unfortunately, as the disease continues to progress over time, it may become necessary to select new activities on a regular basis.

For maximum enjoyment and effectiveness, caregivers should schedule all events and activities at a time of day when their loved one is typically most activity, mentally alert and at their best.  Appropriate activities will never create anger, anxiety or frustration for your loved one, or any additional stress for the caregiver. Instead, appropriate activities for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will focus on overall enjoyment, not achievement. Activities should always be enjoyable, but used as a time increase mental and physical capabilities.

At first, your loved one may be resistant to new activities and announce they don’t want to do them. Just be patient and encourage them to try. A good hint is to tell them that you could use their help or ask them for their advice on how they would do the task. Little by little their participation should grow and the activity should become a meaningful activity for all. 

Caregiving can easily become a most challenging round the clock responsibility that’s potentiality filled with stress for the entire family. For this reason, it is important for the caregiver to eat right, get plenty sleep and exercise, and to regularly schedule private time away from their patient.

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