Keep Family Members Engaged in Daily Activities
Involving family members in the daily care and activities for a loved one with dementia who is living at home can provide meaningful engagement for everyone.
Start by having the family member identify activities that typically interest the person with dementia. For example, if the person enjoyed cooking, baking, or doing household chores, make sure to leave out common items that may prompt them to participate, like a bowl of vegetables to peel and chop or a pile of socks to fold. Leaving unfinished tasks can give a sense of purpose.
Provide paper, pens, puzzles, or books that align with previous interests to encourage activity. Look for ways the person can contribute around the house so they feel useful. Compliment their efforts to positively reinforce their involvement.
Encourage Reminiscing and Conversation
Conversing with someone who has dementia can become challenging, but family members can spark memories by discussing the past. Share old photos, letters, or meaningful possessions to prompt nostalgic storytelling. Relive family traditions, vacations, important events, and happy times. Sing familiar songs from their youth.
Avoid quizzing their memory or correcting factual inaccuracies. Instead, engage in the joy of reminiscing. Share laughs over funny memories. Let them take the lead in conversation. Simply making eye contact and actively listening shows you care.
Adjust Activities As Interests Change
Dementia progresses differently for everyone. Previously enjoyed activities may no longer appeal, while new interests emerge. Pay attention to changes over time.
If fixation on a peculiar activity causes stress, like dismantling appliances, seek alternatives to satisfy the urge, like sorting coins or taking apart an old radio. Find safe outlets aligned with their abilities.
See each day as a new opportunity to connect. Patience, creativity and compassion are key when adapting to their evolving needs and preferences. Meeting them where they are will strengthen your bond.
Make Outings Enjoyable Experiences
An occasional change of scenery can lift one’s mood and stimulate the senses. before heading out, consider the person’s abilities and energy level that day. Choose an accessible, familiar environment at a time when it won’t be crowded.
Pack supplies for comfort like a favorite blanket or sweater, snacks, and activities for passing time like a photo album or music player. Keep outings brief to prevent fatigue. Most importantly, maintain a calm, patient demeanor if challenges arise. The goal is to ensure the person feels happy and supported.
Staying involved in daily care creates purpose for the family and enriches life for the person with dementia. Adjusting activities over time provides meaningful engagement no matter where one is on their journey.