Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, can often become restless, irritable, and anxious when they are left alone or not engaged in an activity, especially during the middle of the day. As their caregiver, you should always be prepared with fun activities to occupy them and keep them entertained and distracted from any symptoms they may be experiencing. Here are safe exercises for Alzheimer’s disease you can try from today.
A fun and easy way to engage those who have dementia is painting. You can provide paint, brushes, and canvases, but aging loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble following instructions or staying focused on one thing for long periods. If you don’t think your loved one will benefit from creating a painting for someone else or a wall in their home, then allow them to express themselves by creating paintings based on scenes they remember during happier times in their life. The result might be abstract art that they find more comforting than other types of art because it brings them back to simpler times. By incorporating familiar objects into paintings, you can turn an activity that would otherwise be boring into something fun.
Helping with Simple Chores
Yes, you can keep your loved one busy with chores. This may seem like a no-brainer, but getting in and out of bed, taking a shower, and/or brushing their teeth are all activities that people with Alzheimer’s can handle on their own. And they don’t require a lot of brainpower. Depending on where your parent or loved one is in their disease, asking them to make their bed or fold towels may be too much—but helping them make dinner or wash dishes is perfectly manageable. Older adults with milder forms of dementia have been known to get up and cook breakfast for themselves after putting together a list of ingredients they need to buy at a grocery store when they didn’t have enough energy to go shopping themselves.
Playing with a Fidget Blanket
Fidget blankets are similar to regular blankets but have a series of activities to keep you busy. Some may have simple shapes like concentric circles that you can trace with your finger, while others may have a series of pushbuttons that can be pushed in different combinations to produce different sounds. Fidget blankets are available at most local department stores and popular e-commerce sites. While you may think fidget blankets might cause problems for people with Alzheimer’s disease who already suffer from sensory issues, they’re a good option for aging family members with dementia who need something to do. They’re also very affordable.
Watching Family Videos
Watching videos of familiar faces from your loved one’s past is a wonderful way to help aging family members connect with memories. While there are many great resources for finding old family photos, you can also turn to online video-sharing sites like YouTube. Even if you can’t locate any old home movies, simply watching a handful of brief clips will quickly transport your loved one back in time and make them feel more connected with their younger self. You may even be able to find footage of yourself as a child (if you’re close enough in age). From your loved one’s perspective, that alone could be a fun way to pass some time!
Making a Vision Board
Something as simple as making a vision board has been proven helpful for people with dementia. It allows them to use creativity, which is an integral part of any activity program that you will put together. All you need is a bunch of magazines and some glue and scissors. Cut out pictures that might inspire your loved ones and help them stay interested in life, such as nature scenes, colorful flowers, and animals they enjoy. You can keep it reasonably vague to remind them of happy times and provide some inspiration when they look at it throughout their day.