Seniors are gearing up for success at the Lake Charles Alzheimer’s care community, Sage Oak. Our boutique senior living community is a newer concept for the Calcasieu Parish and offers more individualized attention to residents–including ways to keep the body and mind moving.
The best activities for seniors with dementia are failure-free. Questions that don’t have a correct answer, games that don’t require a winner, or engaging ways to pass the time can benefit a person living with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy-body, or another type of dementia.
Family caregivers often experience burnout while supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It can be a full-time job that doesn’t provide a salary. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 203,000 Louisiana residents support a parent or spouse with dementia. These individuals provide 316 million hours of care every year.
Many of those hours are spent preparing meals, managing medications, and supervising. What many family caregivers forget or don’t have time to provide are engaging activities. A lot of the mood changes or chances for depression in people with dementia can boil down to a sense of inactivity and boredom.
Celebrating the successes, no matter how big or small, can make a world of difference to a person living with cognitive impairments. Let’s explore a few dementia-friendly activities for seniors.
Seven Easy Activities to do with People with Dementia
Keep these easy activities in mind for your next interaction, whether you’re providing home care or visiting a loved one in a memory care facility. Don’t forget to check with your loved ones’ primary care doctor before beginning new activities that may be strenuous.
1. Get Digging
Gardening can be therapeutic for people at any stage in life. People with dementia benefit from digging in the dirt because it provides a tactile experience. The sense of touch can be very calming to people living with Alzheimer’s. Other benefits of gardening include:
- A chance to be outside and receive sunshine and fresh air
- An opportunity to interact with good bacteria that promotes a healthy immune system
- Increasing physical activity
- Enjoyment and engagement with plants can increase serotonin levels
If you have an outdoor area to grow or even just dig in the dirt, great! However, this activity can be easily accomplished at the kitchen table with a small pot. When the weather is unfavorable, residents at Sage Oak of Lake Charles do a little growing while enjoying snacks.
2. Craft with Clay
If your loved one enjoys gardening, think about making your own pots. One study in 2018 discovered the increase in mood and self-esteem produced by pottery.
Clay is a versatile activity that allows creative expression. You don’t need a professional set-up or kiln to provide enjoyment again and again. Let your loved one play with the clay and feel the benefits. After the activity, you can store it away in a small container for future fun.
3. Pet Therapy
The benefits of a furry friend are endless. The right dog or cat can provide friendships that know no bounds. Petting animals can be incredibly calming, and they’re also great at listening without talking back.
It can be challenging for a person with dementia to care for a pet, but a visiting service animal can provide a lot of relief. If a friend or a family member has a well-behaved animal, invite them over for visits. Contact local service animal providers and hospice companies to inquire about visiting pets.
4. Reel in the Years
One way to bring families closer together is through shared memories. Learning the history of those memories creates even tighter bonds. Alzheimer’s and dementia affects short-term memory, but with the right triggers, your loved one may be able to recall the past.
Bring the memories out of your mom or dad with:
- Photo albums
- Vintage magazines
- YouTube walking tours
5. Body Movement
Experts recommend 150 minutes of physical activity per week for all adults. Leading your loved one in seated exercises or watching a workout video together can knock out two birds with one stone.
Physical inactivity is often a contributing factor to caregiver burnout. It’s hard to find time to care for yourself on top of providing care to others. Be your loved ones’ workout buddy and do physical activities together. Try things like:
- Chair yoga
- Tai Chi
- Balloon volleyball or tennis
- Walking in place if mobility allows
6. Mind Movement
Family game night is about more than bringing relatives together. For people with dementia, games, puzzles, and trivia can provide valuable benefits. Working out the brain on a regular basis can help create new neural networks around the brain sections affected by memory loss.
Bingo is a bit of a cliché activity for seniors, but it’s a one-stop-shop for benefits like:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Alertness and concentration
- Repetitive movements
- Memory recall
7. Household Chores
If you’re acting as a caretaker to a loved one with dementia, having extra help around the house can be a blessing. If that help is an engaging activity for your husband or wife, it’s a win-win.
It may not actually get chores done, but it’s imperative to let people with dementia feel like they are contributing in some way. Give them a sense of purpose and increase their self-esteem with activities such as:
- Folding towels
- Untying knots
- Sorting silverware
- Organizing socks
- Watering plants
Don’t expect your loved one to do the “chore” perfectly. Think of it as a way to connect with them and celebrate their contribution to the family. Always celebrate.
Find Dementia-Friendly Activities in Lake Charles, LA
Sage Oak of Lake Charles would like to be a resource for your family and your journey with dementia. The activities discussed above are a small sampling of our daily life.
In addition to a fulfilling activity schedule, our senior apartments and small-scale approach to care provide immense benefits to seniors living with memory loss. Providing senior care goes beyond health services and activities of daily living. Our community offers social experiences that add a lot of enjoyment to the lives of older adults.
One significant difference of boutique dementia care is intimacy. Instead of dining in a large room that can isolate residents, the kitchen and table are the home’s focal point. Residents live in a family-style environment that caters to their personal needs.
Visit Memory Care in Lake Charles
Start celebrating success. Let our team members do the heavy lifting of providing care so you can enjoy quality time with your parent or spouse again. Contact Sage Oak of Lake Charles to discover a new life for you and your loved one.