Winter Activities with Alzheimer’s Patients
For someone with Alzheimer’s, keeping the mind active is important. Continuing to participate in activities they’ve enjoyed in the past can help people with Alzheimer’s by stirring up memories, fostering emotional connections, making them feel more engaged, encouraging self-expression, and even reducing the anxiety and irritability that often goes along with Alzheimer’s. Which activities are best? It depends on the person, their interests, and what they can tolerate without becoming frustrated. During the winter months, when cold weather can make it challenging to stay active and engaged, there are still many things you can do to help keep your elderly loved one occupied.
- For those who enjoy music, it can be good to sing together. Hymns or other old favorites can bring up happy memories and elevate the mood. It may even be fun to try dancing!
- Puzzles and simple sorting games are a good way to stay occupied. A baseball fan might enjoy sorting baseball cards, or you might spend some time counting coins together. Puzzles with large pieces may be easier to do than those with tiny pieces.
- Simple chores can be a good activity to do together. Folding laundry, watering plants, clipping coupons, organizing a drawer- these simple tasks can help keep your loved one’s mind active.
- Everyone loves a little bit of pampering. Brush your loved one’s hair, or give a manicure or hand massage.
- Old hobbies can sometimes be simplified so that they may still be enjoyed. A good example of this is knitting or needlework: your loved one may be capable of simpler patterns, which allow him or her to continue doing something that was once a well-loved activity.
- Create something together. Paint with watercolors, draw with crayons or colored pencils, or make a collage or scrapbook of old photos. Alzheimer’s can sometimes make people feel less self-conscious, and free them to be artistic.
- Exercise is important, even when a daily walk isn’t possible. Indoor activities like low impact exercise, yoga, and even stretching can help stave off the ailments of old age while improving the overall mood.
- Reach out to others. Find a simple charitable task your loved one can do. If knitting is still an option, perhaps you can knit caps together for cancer patients or new babies. Ask at the local homeless shelter about assembling “blessing bags” with items like snacks, toiletries, and socks. Sometimes, the best way to occupy someone’s time is by helping them do something for someone else.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, we know it can be challenging. That’s why Elder Care Connections is committed to collaborating with families to find caregivers who aren’t just capable but are also compatible with your loved one’s personality and needs. Contact us for an in-home evaluation, or to learn about all we have to offer.