Hobbies play an important role in everyone’s life, especially once your loved one enters their seniorhood. It’s important for them to stay physically and mentally active by pursuing exciting and interesting activities that challenge them.
Furthermore, hobbies increase one’s quality of life and help fill their time with meaning and purpose, especially for seniors in memory care assisted living.
Older adults with memory illnesses, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, can still enjoy their once-loved hobbies and even new activities. Of course, as their disease progresses, it might limit them from some activities, but there are many ways to modify these hobbies and turn them into something that your loved ones can do and enjoy.
Additionally, seniors in memory care can reap tons of physical and mental benefits by engaging in different activities. This includes:
- Reducing stress and anxiety, which can help in managing their symptoms.
- Increasing brain activity, which helps strengthen their thinking skills.
- Slows down cognitive decline.
- Learning and retaining skills.
- Greater sense of independence and improved confidence.
- Enhancing social interaction and communication skills.
- Building a new sense of purpose.
It is all about choosing the suitable activities that can match your loved one’s current abilities but still fits their interests. So, if you’re looking for some ideas, here are five great hobbies for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise is such a versatile activity that everybody can enjoy, no matter your age, fitness type, or condition. There are so many kinds of workouts that your loved one can participate in without compromising their health and safety. Some examples include:
- Walking around the neighborhood with their pet or a loved one.
- Water aerobics
- Stretching, sit to stand exercises, knee lifts, and chair workouts.
- Cycling or stationary biking
- Doing household chores
Besides enjoyment, daily exercises bring plenty of benefits to the overall health of your senior loved one, such as a good physique, improved balance, and weight management. In addition, it can also help enhance their mental prowess since working out increases oxygen and nutrient supply in the brain.
Additionally, seniors with dementia don’t need to remember their workouts as these exercises are simple and can always be done with a guide. This means less frustration and more room for fun for your senior loved one!
2. Art and Hands-on Work
Another meaningful activity that seniors in memory care assisted living can take on are arts, crafts, and handiworks. These kinds of projects fill each senior’s leisure time with meaning, enjoyment, and tons of benefits, specifically in the mental and emotional aspects.
For starters, doing creative works gives seniors a chance to express themselves through art. Plus, they get to feel the proud and joyful feeling of getting to create something by themselves.
Just make sure to choose activities that suit your loved one’s abilities and interests. Then, gently encourage or prompt them with the next step whenever they feel stuck. Offer suggestions if they feel torn between choices in art materials or subjects.
Lastly, make the activity more delightful by joining them, playing their favorite music in the background, or engaging them in a conversation.
Everybody has different interests, but if there’s one thing that can unite people, it’s music! This universal language never fails to connect people, and studies show that it can also help seniors with dementia.
According to Hopkins Medicine, listening to music serves as a workout for the brain by keeping it active and engaged. Additionally, if done regularly, any form of activity involving music can help slow down cognitive decline and brain aging, especially for seniors with memory problems.
Music also elicits emotions, feelings and even stimulates the brain to remember certain events. This is why music is often used as holistic therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into your loved one’s daily routine with only a turn or a click of a button.
Seniors who love food, eating, cooking, or all three can definitely experience the most fun by doing baking or cooking activities. Even if their skills have declined or have become limited, there are still tons of tasks they can do and enjoy involving cooking or baking. Some examples include;
- Easy recipes that involve “assembling” like fruit or green salad or sub sandwiches.
- Simple food preparation tasks like stirring the soup or adding ingredients.
- Making a fruit and veggie shake or smoothie.
- Helping with the finishing touches like icing cupcakes or adding edible designs.
Involving your senior loved one in a home task like cooking can help boost their confidence and sense of independence. In addition, it can help them feel good about themselves by helping you or the family with this task.
Furthermore, cooking and baking activities help them retain their remaining skills, learn new ones, and stimulate their memory. Just remember to keep the environment safe, calm, and enjoyable for your senior loved one. Also, avoid presenting complex tasks or decision-based activities.
5. Fun Games
Games have a way of molding fun and learning into a single piece, so you can never go wrong by choosing fun games as an afternoon activity. In fact, it is one of the best and most popular activities enjoyed by older adults in memory care assisted living communities.
There are various games to choose from, but make sure to pick ones that align with your loved one’s abilities, encourage mental stimulation, and are simple but not too childlike. Some examples include:
- Senior-friendly jigsaw and crossword puzzles
- Memory games
- Card games like Go Fish
- Board games like Snakes and Ladders
- Brain apps like Lumosity
- Sports games on Nintendo Wii
Let your senior loved one enjoy these games by playing them with other family members or fellow residents in the community. They will surely have fun while also socializing and stimulating their cognitive function in a lowkey way.
Seniors diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can still appreciate the fun and enjoyment that hobbies bring. So, make sure to fill your senior loved one’s time with exciting and meaningful activities that they love.