Activities for People With Memory Loss/Alzheimer’s

  • Why are activities important for Alzheimer's Patients?

    Making connections with others is part of being human. People suffering from Alzheimer’s will often withdraw from activities involving family or friends.

    It is important that we make available to our loved one’s activities that can foster connections.

    Always be aware, however, of what they can tolerate and give them a break if they need it. What is most important is the time we actively spend with them.

  • What are some outdoor activities for those with Alzheimer's?

    If your loved one is able, take them to a concert. Go to the zoo or on a nature walk. Have them help in the garden or go to a garden center and pick out plants.

    Watch a sporting event together. Participate in a Memory Loss/Alzheimer’s walk with them. Make sure to keep them engaged by talking with them and asking them to describe what they think.

  • What are some less physical activities for Alzheimer's Patients?

    You can sing song from their past, watch old movies and TV shows and talk about what they enjoyed. If they did crafts, they can still participate in those activities even if they may not possess all of the skills to do them independently.

    Read out loud to them or have family pets around. Have them participate in simple household chores. Choose activities within their ability to do and that won’t exhaust them, but that will keep them connected and engaged.

Making connections with others is a main part of being human.  For those suffering with memory loss/Alzheimer’s it is no different.  Many of our loved ones with Dementia will withdraw from activities involving family and friends.  It is important that we make available to our loved ones as many activities that foster connections as we can.  Always being aware of what they can tolerate when dealing with memory loss/Alzheimer’s.  

Talk with them as you tackle some of these activities thereby keeping them engaged in the conversation while actively participating.

If our loved ones struggle or battles us when we try to engage them in activities, then we need to give them a break.  We can ask them what they may want to do or if the activity can be changed to better meet their needs.  What is important is the time we actively spend with our loved ones.

Activities that caregiver’s can continue to do with their loved one’s:

  • Music soothes the soul.  Sing songs from their past, play music from their past, go to music concerts if they are able.  Play a musical instrument for them or with them if possible. Dance with them if they are able.
  • Have them help in the garden or visit a local garden center to look at and pick out plants.
  • Go on a nature walk even if it is just outside of where they are living.  You can also do this if your loved one is in a wheelchair and there is a path nearby. Have them describe or you can describe what you are experiencing through sight, sound, the feel of warmth from the sun, the breeze, smells that are outside.
  • Cook and prepare meals with them.  Perhaps a family recipe that they loved to make or eat.  Even something as simple as a sandwich or salad for lunch.  Share a meal together or a favorite snack.
  • Bake a pie, cookies, bread or pasta.
  • If they did crafts they could still participate in those activities.  They may not possess all of the skills necessary to do the activities independently but they have muscle memory that can be accessed and it should be.  Simply holding yarn or maybe cloth to braid in their hands again will foster memories and make connections.  For those that built things with their hands helping with repairs or building something together is an option.
  • Reading out loud to your loved one is a great way for them to stay connected. Pick something that will interest them whenever possible.
  • Have family pets around or visit zoo’s or farms if able.  Animals represent unconditional love and most humans respond positively to pets.  You can talk with them about the family pet’s that they had when they were growing up.
  • Have them participate in simple household chores.  Our loved ones want to make sure that they can still help in daily chores.  Pick chores that are within their ability to do and won’t exhaust them.
    • Fold towels, sweep the floor, rake leaves, wash silverware, water house plants.
  • Watch old movies/Television shows with them. Discuss the actors that they know. Talk about favorite movies or television shows that they enjoyed.  Watch family video’s tapes disks.
  • Put puzzles together, look at maps and identify countries, capitals, states and bodies of water, play games together, cards, paint/color or work with clay.
  • Look at old childhood toys together.  What was the toy they played with the most often and why?  Who gave them the toy or did they save up and buy it themselves?  What was the most popular toy/game when they were young?
  • Discuss favorite family vacations/holidays.
  • Watch sporting events together.  Talk with them about sport legends when they were growing up.  What was their favorite team/player?
  • Look through old photo albums with them.  Get them to tell you about the pictures. Don’t push if they can’t remember just look at the pictures.  You might even ask what they think the people in the picture are doing if it is an action photo. Ask about relatives who are in the pictures.
  • Write to a friend or relative.  Keep a journal together.
  • Have/give a manicure/pedicure with your loved one.
  • Sort items by color and or shape.
  • Participate in a Memory Loss/Alzheimer’s walk to raise awareness of this disease.

A person dealing with memory issues isn’t necessarily the same as they were before however, they are still your loved one.  The companionship that is so vital for them to feel connected will only be accomplished through direct involvement by those who love them.  These activities are just a sample of what you can do to actively engage them and create the feeling of connectedness.  

If all else fails hug them, kiss their cheek, hold their hand, caress their face, comb their hair and tell them how much you love them.

Sources:

www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_101_activities.asp

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-03-06/stimulating-activities-for-alzheimers-patients/