Seniors suffering from memory loss and other forms of dementia need to stay engaged in meaningful activities to enrich their lives.
Caring for them means you need to set up activities that would engage and stimulate their minds while also being practical.
It would be difficult at first since you need to experiment with different tasks that would appeal to them. But it would all be worth it because the right activity will help them overcome their self-consciousness and slow the progression of dementia symptoms like:
- Anxiety and depression
- Sundowning and sleeping problems
- Agitation and aggressiveness
- Declining cognitive function
- Socially isolating oneself
The satisfaction of successfully completing an activity helps build their self-confidence while also allowing them to enjoy and have fun.
Here are six great activities for memory loss patients you can try doing with your senior loved one.
1. Doing Simple Crafts
Studies and several dementia-ridden patients have already proven the advantages of doing arts and crafts towards their health condition.
For starters, engaging in simple crafts allow seniors to express themselves, especially when the disease starts to rob them of their communication abilities. It would become an outlet for which they can express themselves, their thoughts, and feelings.
Moreover, arts and crafts can help them unleash their creative side and gives them a way to reconnect with their lost passion. Some activities to try include:
- Making a DIY picture puzzle.
- Painting or drawing
- Knitting or crocheting
- Creating a scrapbook
- Making a DIY bracelet from creative beads and yarn.
Doing simple exercises is another fun, no-fail activity perfect for seniors experiencing memory loss. They can do it while sitting, standing, lying in bed, or with a companion.
Ideally, seniors need to complete 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises per week. But you do not need to overexert your loved one to reach that quota. Any amount of physical activity daily will do, no matter how small.
Stick to mild aerobic workouts like walking around the neighborhood or dancing to their favorite tune. Allot at least 10 minutes per day for this particular routine.
Some of the most significant advantages of exercising for seniors with dementia include the following:
- Keeps the heart and blood circulation healthy
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves mood and overall behavior
- Reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Improves balance and ambulatory abilities
- Induces feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction
3. Cooking Simple Recipes
Dementia impairs memory and other cognitive skills needed for cooking. But that does not mean that your loved one cannot revisit their passion for cooking.
The act of preparing and cooking meals proves to be a therapeutic activity that can relax your loved one’s mind and reduce agitation. It can also be a way to stir their memories, maintain their abilities, and strengthen the emotional bond between loved ones.
Here are some pointers to remember before you plan a cooking session with your senior loved one:
- Stick with easy recipes like salads or soups.
- Give your loved one simple tasks to do, such as mixing or pouring.
- Prioritize safety by closely, yet discreetly monitoring their movements.
- Use blunt utensils, monitor the burner, and wipe away spills immediately.
4. Cleaning and Organizing
Another failure-free task that will keep your loved one occupied and moving while also encouraging independence is doing simple household chores.
Cleaning and organizing the house is one of the best and most cost-efficient activities for memory loss patients. It gives them a feeling of being successful after they finish specific tasks, helps them practice their coordination, and aids in burning off extra calories.
Moreover, contributing something to the household means a great deal to them and helps keep their dignity intact. Some of the best chores you can assign to them include:
- Folding small pieces of laundry or sorting it.
- Sweeping or vacuuming the floor.
- Help in preparing easy meals or snacks.
- Setting the table
- Dusting pieces of furniture
- Organizing items
Doing these simple home activities allows seniors to build a routine and exercise their muscles every day, even with small movements.
5. Music Therapy
Many people consider music to be a massive part of their lives, no matter their age and status. It evokes different emotions and feelings, making it a great way to express oneself.
Despite the memory loss, seniors battling dementia still enjoy listening to music and singing their favorite song. Studies suggest that music therapy helps older adults deal with the symptoms of dementia. Some of its benefits include:
- Strengthens memory recall
- Stimulates a positive attitude and behavior
- Helps control some behavioral issues
- Relieves stress, anxiety, and depression
- Helps rehabilitate their physical mobility
- Stimulates interest
Music also promotes communication as it sometimes triggers specific memories from resurfacing, giving seniors a new sense of achievement in remembering things.
Moreover, music can help lighten the mood, avert stressful situations, and calm distressed individuals, even caregivers.
Think of music genres that your loved one is fond of and make a playlist out of it. Use specific tunes to help set the mood, such as soothing ones during the night time or a lively song for mood-boosting.
Contrary to popular belief, seniors can still enjoy the pleasure of reading books during the early to middle stages of dementia. They may experience some difficulties remembering a complicated plot or character names after a while, but they can still comprehend and process information.
So if your loved one is a bibliophile during their early years, then you can add reading books into your loved one’s “best activities for memory loss” list.
Reading will keep their minds stimulated and active despite the disease. Thus, slowing down some of the cognitive-related consequences of dementia. Here are some tips on how to introduce reading to your loved one:
- For seniors who loved to read books, you can ask them what novel they want to read or if they want to revisit their favorite books and characters.
- Opt for easy-to-read books equipped with large texts and non-complex stories.
- Start with short stories or picture books for adults.
- Read with them or to them but only if they want.