If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you may be wondering what you can do to help reduce the disease’s rate of progression. Simple activities and cognitive tasks can be a great way to improve their overall health, keep them engaged, and encourage them to live a life filled with dignity. But how do you help them do that? Artis Senior Living is here to guide you with a few quick tips to help your loved one forge lasting connections and remain an active participant in everyday life.
Structure and Supervise
Many seniors living with dementia still have a passion for their hobbies, but struggle with the planning process. Making preparations for them can go a long way. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends structuring activities for your loved one so that they can place all their attention on the task at hand. Then, you can step back and give them the independence they need by creating opportunities that encourage decision-making and self-expression.
When they require help, provide support and set them back in the right direction. If you get the sense that they are not connecting with the activity, make adjustments. Or simply ask them what you could do to make it more fun for them.
Consider Their Interests and Capabilities
When choosing activities for your loved one, it’s essential to think about their individual tastes and limitations. Have they always enjoyed singing? Play songs that you know they love to sing – and bring the lyrics if you think they will have trouble remembering the words. Did they play baseball in their past? They may not be able to run the bases anymore, but you can bring some baseball gloves and something soft such as a hacky sack to toss back and forth together.
Returning to lifelong passions might also help jog your loved one’s memory, making it a great opportunity for them to reminisce. It’s all about figuring out what they’d like to do and making it work with their current capabilities.
Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination
When we go about setting goals for ourselves, we tend to place emphasis on achievement. Try not to apply this mindset to your loved one’s experiences. Seniorlink suggests putting aside preconceived notions of outcome – what matters is that the activity stimulates your loved one’s engagement. Also, it’s best not to correct them unless safety requires it. There’s no wrong way of doing things, so long as they are enjoying themselves and are at no risk of harm.
Want to learn more tips on helping your senior loved one who is living with dementia? Check out the Artis Senior Living blog.