Suggested Activities for Stage 1 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 with Alzheimer’s at this stage, always remember that while this person’s mind is deteriorating, 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 can enjoy coloring (with pencils, not crayons), 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 with the mild 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 Stage 2 Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and those suffering from it will
go from mild to severe symptoms or stages. When a loved one reaches the
second stage of Alzheimer’s disease, they are beginning to lose
the ability to recognize family and friends. 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 in this medium functioning mental state.
It is important to stimulate the senses when choosing activities and to consider what this person liked to do prior to their Alzheimer’s disease. Some may enjoy working with clay, others might like to color or paint, or simply arranging flowers can be an activity.
People in the second stage of Alzheimer’s disease can still wash dishes, fold laundry, and dust. They can also assist in simple 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 in stage two of Alzheimer’s disease.
Outdoor Activities for Those with Dementia
With the warm, summer weather it’s nice to do activities that take you outside. For people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the outside world can be full of ways to trigger a memory. There are many outside places you can go and sit for hours with a senior to let them enjoy their 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 older woman with Alzheimer’s can suddenly come alive 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 older man with dementia will feel right at home sitting next to a stream with a fishing pole in his hands. This is a familiar and stress-free excursion that lets them 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 out of 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 on them. A garden and a stream don’t come with clocks. You want something a person with dementia has enjoyed for their entire lives and it will mean a great day reliving their past instead of struggling to remember their present.
Contact our caregiver agency to learn more about suggested activities for stage 1 and 2 Alzheimer's.