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Creating Activities for Those with Alzheimer’s

There is no doubt that caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is an ongoing challenge. In addition to providing care like bathing, feeding and dressing, caregivers are responsible for finding engaging activities to keep their loved one mentally active and to prevent boredom.

Whether a craft or a task, therapeutic activities, like caring for plants or helping with tasks like, folding laundry or setting the table can provide needed focus, create positive self-esteem and an increased sense of self-worth. Try choosing activities that relate to 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 cater to your loved one’s desires, caregivers must be aware of physical or cognitive problems that could affect any new activity. It will probably be necessary to continually select new activities as the disease continues to progress over time.

Activities for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia should always focus on enjoyment, not achievement. For maximum effectiveness, caregivers should try to schedule activities at the time of day when their loved one is typically most activity, and mentally at their best.  Well-chosen activities should never create anxiety or frustration for your loved one, or any additional stress for the caregiver. Instead, activities should be fun, used as a time to calm down and to increase mental and physical activity.

At first, your loved one may say they don’t want to do it. Be patient and encourage them to try. Tell them you could use the help or ask them for their advice on how they would do the task. Little by little their participation should grow and become a meaningful activity for all.

Care-giving can easily become a 24/7 responsibility that’s filled with stress for the entire family. For that 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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