Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. If your loved one is one of them, you may be wondering what you can do to help.
Research studies suggest there are many things you can do to help a parent or loved one with this disease. Many different activities can help your loved one maintain their cognitive abilities.
Consider some of these ten hobbies and activities for Alzheimer’s patients. They can help your loved one cope with the challenges of living with Alzheimer’s.
1. Exercise is One of the Best Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients
If your loved one is able to, help them get some daily exercise. Studies show aerobic exercise can slow the progress of the disease.
Aerobic exercise includes cycling and swimming. It can also be as simple as going for a brisk walk. Be sure to adjust the activity level to what your loved one can handle.
2. Puzzles and Games Can Help Keep the Mind Sharp
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are characterized by a decline of cognitive function. Your loved one may have trouble remembering people. They may not know what happened yesterday.
Over time, they may be less engaged in activities they used to love. They might withdraw from conversations because they feel overwhelmed.
Activities that demand focus and problem-solving, such as puzzles, can slow this decline. Puzzles and crosswords engage seniors’ critical thinking skills. Games for seniors might ask them to problem-solve or plan.
Memory games can be particularly helpful. They keep your loved one using their memory skills.
Games can also be a great way to socialize. Social interaction helps keep conversational skills sharp and staves off depression.
3. Read a Book or Newspaper
Reading is another mentally stimulating activity that most seniors can undertake. Depending on the stage of the disease, an Alzheimer’s patient may not remember or understand everything they read. Although it can help to ask about what they read, the act of reading itself is helpful.
Reading newspapers can help Alzheimer’s patients connect to their community. Reading books allows them to use their imagination more.
4. Music is Therapeutic for Many Alzheimer’s Patients
Much has been written about how beneficial music is for people with Alzheimer’s. Much like reading or playing games, engaging with music is a stimulating activity.
Your loved one may enjoy playing an instrument or singing along to their favorite songs. Doing so also provides a creative and emotional outlet for patients. Old songs may even allow patients to share memories connected to music.
Music-making can also be a social activity. Find out if there are senior music programs offered in your area.
5. Encourage Hobbies Like Knitting
Many caregivers believe their loved ones have to give up hobbies like knitting or painting. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
These sorts of hobbies can provide stimulation for your loved one. Activities like knitting take a good deal of skill and concentration. Painting and other artistic activities allow for self-expression.
Always be sure the tools and activity provided are appropriate for the patient. For example, knitting needles can be sharp. Heavy needles could cause aches and pains if your loved one has arthritis.
6. Get Creative in the Kitchen
The kitchen is a gathering place for a family, and many family traditions revolve around food. Whether it’s baking cookies from scratch or making a meal together, there’s no reason your loved one can’t take part.
Again, you’ll want to make sure the activity is appropriate to your loved one’s abilities. Assign them tasks such as mixing or decorating cookies. Provide help with measurements or tasks like chopping vegetables.
Your loved one will have a sense of accomplishment when they help make a delicious treat or a meal for the family.
7. Simple Arts and Crafts Are Fun and Stimulating
Good activities for dementia patients also include arts and crafts. You don’t need to do anything too complicated. In fact, simpler is better in most cases.
Crafts provide a sense of accomplishment, as well as challenging people to problem-solve. It also puts their creative skills on display. Finally, crafting may let your loved one express themselves in a unique and fun way.
8. Household Chores Can Give a Sense of Accomplishment
You may think household chores like folding laundry are tedious, but for Alzheimer’s patients, they’re rewarding.
These simple tasks allow your loved one to help you, even in a small way, which makes them feel useful and important. Completing the task can give a sense of accomplishment too.
If you can, try to tackle chores together. Be sure the tasks you assign to your loved one are appropriate for them.
9. Watch TV or Videos
Many people think watching TV or a movie is a “brainless” activity. They don’t need to pay attention or think too much.
For an Alzheimer’s patient, watching TV, a movie, or a video can be quite the opposite. They’ll need to pay close attention to follow the narrative. They may also want to engage by asking questions.
10. Connect with Nature
If your loved one has always had a green thumb, there’s no reason for them to stop tending the garden. Gardening and other outdoor activities for Alzheimer’s patients have many benefits.
Gardening is just one way to connect with the great outdoors. If it’s not your loved one’s cup of tea, there are other things you can do to get back to nature. You could consider going for walks or hikes.
Getting back to nature is good for you too, so taking part in these activities can help both you and your loved one.
Discover Nearby Programs and Caregiving Help
These are just some of the great activities for Alzheimer’s patients to take part in. If you can, look into programs and caregiving assistance in your area. Reach out to us today and discover what activities await your loved one.