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Keeping Your Loved One Engaged When They Have Dementia - 4 Helpful Tips

3 elderly people playing with a puzzle

Perhaps you’ve heard that puzzles, word games, photos, arts and crafts, music, dancing, gardening, walking and folding clothes are a few activities that someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s can participate in. This list just may seem small to family caregivers who need to fill days with activities their loved ones can find joy in. To top it off, when your loved one gets frustrated, it can be hard to keep going. Have hope, because there are many options! This article should help you discover exactly how and what will keep your loved one engaged when they are living with dementia.

1. Underlying Conditions

When it comes to improving your loved one’s life and engaging them in activities, they first need to be comfortable. Think about whether they have any underlying issues that may need to be addressed, such as health, pain, comfort, lack of sleep, or a need of water. Any issues that your loved one may be experiencing can cause them to respond differently to activities. If your loved one is comfortable and healthy they’ll be better able to engage in what’s going on.

2. Surroundings

Environment can play a part in the success of activities with your loved one as well. Noises can be distracting, temperature, and stimulations all have an impact. Do what you can to minimize clutter and noise. Make sure that your loved one has their cardigan or favorite lap blanket and try to keep them focused on the next step in the activity you’re enjoying together.

3. Getting Started

The best activities to enjoy with your loved one is something that they’re familiar with. For example, if they spent time working with art, then perhaps painting would be a fun activity. If they haven’t engaged in that activity for a while, it may be best to start out with something simpler, like a watercolor or a paint by number. Remember to try activities where you can focus on one or two steps at a time. Ignore mistakes, and keep in mind that trial and error might be necessary.

4. Simplify Bigger Activities

With people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it may eventually become necessary to simplify activities. For example, someone who played trumpet in a jazz band may eventually simply enjoy listening to records. If you have a loved one who spent time cooking, they may eventually simply get to the point where they enjoy tasting a great meal. Dancing may become swaying, etcetera and so on.

At the end of the day, nothing is more important than simply spending time with your loved one doing the things that they enjoy. You may be surprised at how engaged your loved one is even when they aren’t fully capable of doing everything they once did.

Don’t forget about respite care providers, adult care facilities, and community centers. Often these organizations go out of their way to provide activities on a daily basis that are engaging and fun. For more information about activities that keep your loved ones engaged and active, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a care facility like Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte. Learn more by continuing to browse the website, or feel free to contact us today.

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