Suggested Activities for Early Stage Alzheimer's
There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and each stage has different needs for the in-home caregiver.
In the early or mild first stage of Alzheimer’s disease, a person will experience frequent short-term memory loss, coordination problems, depression, and other symptoms. This stage can last two to four years before the disease progresses.
When providing home health and home care resources for your friend or loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease at this stage, always remember that while this person's cognitive function is affected, they are still an adult. Any activities that you provide for them should be intended for adult use, not children. It’s also important to provide an activity that the person has previously enjoyed, and not something that is completely new or could cause frustration.
Enjoying Time Together
In this high-functioning stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the person can still do household chores such a raking leaves, sweeping, setting the table, and caring for plants and pets. They might enjoy coloring, doing puzzles, crafts such as painting and sculpture, putting photos into albums, and watching movies. Taking walks, going shopping, attending church, and visiting museums or attending a social tea can also be a pleasant and easy way to spend time together.
Individual circumstances will vary and the person living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may need guidance or assistance with cooking and their ability to drive themselves may become impaired during this stage.
Whether playing cards together or participating in an exercise program together, the important thing is that the person with Alzheimer’s remains engaged in the activity. Such sensory stimulation helps preserve their basic skills—such as being able to button a shirt—and function as independently as possible for as long as possible.
Suggested Activities for Early-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and symptoms will progress from mild to severe. When a loved one reaches this stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the ability to recognize family and friends becomes a challenge. Other symptoms at this stage include increased paranoia and delusions, not being able to dress themselves or oversee their own daily hygiene, insomnia and more.
During this moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease, in-home caregivers can help by being aware of what this person can still do on their own.
It is important to stimulate the senses when engaging in activities that the person liked to do prior to receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Some people may enjoy working with clay, others might like to color or paint, or simply arranging flowers.
At this stage of Alzheimer’s disease people can still accomplish tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry, and other household tasks. They can also assist in food preparation like stirring ingredients together. Walks are a good way to spend time together or attending church regularly can be pleasant.
Despite the memory gaps, it can be enjoyable to spend time reminiscing by talking and looking at photographs when spending time with the person who is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Outdoor Activities for Those Living with Dementia
With the warm, summer weather it’s nice to do activities that take you outside. For people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, the outside world can be full of ways to trigger a memory. There are many outside places you can go and sit for hours to let them enjoy the surroundings as they reminisce.
A good example is botanic gardens. These often have a wide variety of places to sit and relax surrounded by blooming flowers. An elder living with Alzheimer’s disease can have a memory sparked when she remembers the daisies in her own garden as a child or the years she spent trimming her rosebush.
Fishing can have the same impact. An elder living with dementia will feel right at home sitting next to a stream with a fishing pole in their hands. This is a familiar and stress-free excursion providing opportunity to just enjoy the moment. They aren’t worrying about what they can’t remember, and people aren’t there correcting them. Their companions can just listen to the stories that will flow about the other times they’ve gone fishing and all those ones that got away.
The important things to look for in these activities are places for them to sit that don’t have a time crunch. A garden and a stream don’t come with clocks. You want something a person living with dementia has enjoyed for their entire lives and it will mean a great day reminiscing of their past instead of struggling to remember their present.
Contact us to learn more about suggested activities for the ones you love who are living with Alzheimer's disease.
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