People who live with Alzheimer’s or dementia can lack stimulation which can lead to boredom. This is an incredibly frustrating situation to be in. Therefore it’s essential to provide things to do that are engaging and bring happiness to those who live with dementia and Alzheimers. Memory care in Michigan provides these activities automatically.

Activities that stimulate the mind can cheer them up and stop them from falling into depression. Meaningful activities will also reduce irritation and anxiousness.

The goal of these activities should be to:

  • Arouse memories and let them fondly reminisce about their old life
  • Emotionally connect with other people – staying in contact with friends and family is essential
  • Motivate them to express themselves
  • Help them engage better with life
  • Increase productivity

Read more to discover some of the best activities to do with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia.

 

1.) Simple Games

Oftentimes, things that are simple yet fun provide the best results. The main benefit is that your loved one is already familiar with them, and they will be easy to pick up. And as a bonus, they will help a senior with dementia or Alzheimer’s feel more productive.

Some simple and fun games and activities are:

  • Dominoes
  • Jigsaw puzzles (advanced stages of dementia require fewer pieces)
  • Crosswords
  • Older board games. Think scrabble, snakes and ladders, etc.
  • Untying knots – makes the hands work and the mind focus.
  • Going on picnics or having tea parties.

2.) Cooking

Cooking together is an excellent way to have them do something practical (thus giving them a sense of accomplishment). The incentive is a tasty reward at the end! Try to let them handle as much as they can (safely, of course). Depending on the stage of dementia they are currently in, they might just watch you cook, or they will take charge, and you’ll help them as an assistant would. You might also simply be needed for the most challenging steps of the process.

 

3.) Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are a great way for someone to express themselves and show their creative aptitude. In fact, being creative or good at art are not prerequisites for enjoying arts and crafts. Just doing this activity provides a whole spectrum of sensory stimulation. You might also consider adult painting books made specifically for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. Search about Alzheimer’s art therapy, and you can find some suitable products online.

 

4.) Reading Books

If your loved one used to enjoy reading but now struggles with it, you can read their favorite book to them. New books or even audiobooks are also fine to listen to. These can be better options than television if they don’t find tv interesting or if they aren’t able to read anymore.

 

5.) Exercise

Exercising and physical activities have many benefits for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can regulate your sleep, reduce restlessness, and make it easier to sleep in the evening. It might also help to foster a positive mindset and reduce the chance of falling into depression.

 

6.) Everyday Tasks

There are some everyday activities that can also provide stimulation. These can help both of you kill 2 birds with one stone – getting stuff done while helping your loved one feel productive and purposeful.

Some everyday tasks that can offer them a sense of accomplishment are:

  • Cleaning silverware
  • Folding laundry
  • Sweeping
  • Pairing socks

 

7.) Reminiscing About Life

People who have dementia often have stronger long-term memories for a longer period of time. So, it’s a great idea to discuss with your loved one things that happened in their life many years ago. And besides, you’ll get the chance to learn more things about your loved one’s past.

 

8.) Join in on Their Favorite Activities

Engaging with them while doing their favorite activities, interests, or hobbies is an excellent way to provide stimulation. It’s a good idea to ask them what they’d prefer to do first. That way, you can be sure that the activity will be the right fit for them. An easy way to start this conversation is to ask them to show you their favorite hobby. 

 

9.) Discuss Their Favorite Things

We all have our own unique hobbies and interests. So, it can be extremely engaging to discuss with them their favorite things. Ask about their favorite topics, interests, or sports teams. To make this even easier, you could also watch YouTube with them that focuses on their favorite sports team, singer, or public figures. There are many benefits to doing this: stimulate lively discussion, allow them to connect with their past, and make them feel like their valued as an individual.

 

10.) Pet Therapy

If your loved one loves pets but doesn’t own one, then animal therapy/pet therapy could be an excellent means of providing stimulation. It’s been proven that pets reduce stress, alleviate signs of depression, and reduce anxiety. They also give a pleasant sensory experience for people. And there are even more benefits. Pet therapy can reduce blood pressure, lower heart rate, lower stress by reducing cortisol (the stress hormone), and increase serotonin – that feel-good hormone. For all of these reasons, the best memory care in Michigan includes pet therapy programs. 

A senior woman hugs her dog

 

11.) Music Therapy

Music provides an excellent means of comforting an individual. Besides being sooting, it can also provide stimulation on its own. It can evoke strong emotions and help people reminisce easier about their past. Nostalgia is also a useful tool to help a person with dementia reconnect with their past memories. For these reasons, music serves a therapeutic purpose for people with dementia. 

 

12.) Going Outside

Folks with Alzheimer’s or dementia who say that they’re bored often don’t usually get out enough. Memory care in Michigan will ensure that they get enough stimulation from going outside. Another benefit of this activity is that it adds additional purpose to their life, giving them the opportunity to get some exercise to relieve anxiety and depression while also reducing problematic behaviors like agitation and insomnia.

While going out, they can also immerse themselves in nature. This is a great way to get fresh air and discover new sights and sounds. Plus, there are lots of stimulating things that you can both do together in the great outdoors. It’s even better if your loved one loves the outdoors, enjoys wildlife spotting, or has a green thumb.