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Research has shown that activities play a large part in preventing the progression of dementia. It’s also known that socializing prevents loneliness, despair and suicidal thoughts.
The Alzheimer’s Association defines activities as "things we do," like getting dressed, doing chores, playing cards — even paying bills. They can be active or passive, done alone or with others. Activities represent who we are and what we're about.
A person with dementia will eventually need your help to organize the day. In addition to establishing a routine schedule, like bathing, dressing, eating at close to the same times every day, included some activities in your day. Planned activities can enhance your loved one's sense of dignity and self-esteem. Participating in activities will give him or her a sense of purpose and meaning to life. They can make the best of his or her abilities and even induce a sense of relaxation. These activities can also reduce wandering or agitation.
There are many activities that people with dementia can participate in– just be sure that the activities are age-appropriate. Participating in children's activities can be humiliating.
Now that spring and warm weather are here, there are a variety of activities that you and your loved one can enjoy. Need some ideas?
Get outside, breathe the fresh air, feel the sun on your face and get some exercise.
You’re doing it anyway, so why not get your loved one involved? Let your loved one:
The sunny, warm days beckon you outside! Exercise during the day will help your loved one sleep better at night.
Care giving can be an exhausting responsibility. Fortunately, many assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes offer adult day care programs. Your loved one can spend the day, participating in activities, surrounded by peers. These programs give you much needed time to yourself and gives your loved one a chance to socialize in a dignified, safe environment. As your loved one’s disease progresses and his or her memory impairment becomes more severe, you may wish to explore your options for a long-term solution. These days, both assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities offer Memory Care. Research the ones in your area. Visit them personally and talk to the staff and learn about the memory support services they offer for residents with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia. Some will even offer separate and specialized memory care neighborhoods within the community. For example, Inn on the Pond offers Inspirations Memory Care, a program developed and implemented to provide those with Alzheimer's and dementia a balance of independence, dignity and fulfillment with safety and security.