“It is very important for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia to be socially and mentally stimulated,” says Lonette Bentley, Executive Director at Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola, the beautiful new memory care community opening this December in Pensacola, Florida.To the extent they are able, it is beneficial for your loved one with dementia to continue with the interests and activities that he or she has always enjoyed. In addition to enhancing their overall quality of life, engagement activities can reduce behaviors such as anxiety, agitation, apathy, depression and wandering while also offering a sense of purpose and self-esteem.”
According to experts with the Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association, many of your loved one’s favorite activities can be modified to reflect their current ability and stage of memory loss.
The Value of Social Engagement Activities
The AARP.org article, “Activities for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, affirms that while activities don't necessarily slow the progression of Alzheimer's, they do improve your loved one's quality of life.
Games, housework and the other activities can also help maintain motor skills that aid daily tasks such as buttoning a shirt or recognizing household objects. Projects that match a person's skill level also give them a sense of ownership and independence. When your loved one with Alzheimer’s completes an activity, they gain a sense of accomplishment.
Activities also help relieve a caregiver's frustration by keeping the loved one stimulated and by fostering emotional connection and self-expression.
“For people with Alzheimer's disease, a successful activity, whether it's listening to music or playing a game, helps create meaning and pulls from past interests.” Says Cameron Camp, Director and Senior Research Scientist, Myers Research Institute, “Activities allow the person to be part of a family and community and gives him or her the chance to be more engaged with life. There will always be part of that individual who wants to help, participate, and succeed.”
Your Guide to Creating Socially Engaging Activities
When considering various engagement activities for your loved one, The Alzheimer’s Association suggests using the following criteria for success:
- Pay attention to what the person enjoys most – Take note when the person seems happy, anxious, distracted or irritable. Some people enjoy watching sports, while others may be frightened by the pace or noise. What activities did they enjoy most in their past life?
- Focus on enjoyment, not achievement –Find activities that build on remaining skills and talents. A professional artist might become frustrated over the declining quality of work, but an amateur might enjoy a new opportunity for self-expression.
- Encourage involvement in daily life –Activities that help your loved one feel like a valued part of the household – like setting the table – can provide a sense of success and accomplishment.
- Identify favorites –The person who always enjoyed drinking coffee and reading the newspaper may still find these activities enjoyable, even if he or she is not able to completely understand what the newspaper says.
- Relate to past work life –A former office worker might enjoy activities that involve organizing, like putting coins in a holder or making a to-do list. A farmer or gardener may take pleasure in working in the yard.
- Keep the person's skills and abilities in mind – A person with dementia may be able to play simple songs learned on the piano years ago. Bring these types of skills into daily activities.
- Consider if the person begins activities without direction –Does he or she set the table before dinner or sweep the kitchen floor mid-morning? If so, you may wish to plan these activities as part of their daily routine.
- Be aware of physical problems –Does your loved one get tired quickly or have difficulty seeing, hearing or performing simple movements?
- Consider time of day –Caregivers may find they have more success with certain activities at specific times of day, such as bathing and dressing in the morning.
- Adjust activities to disease stages –As their Alzheimer’s progresses, you may want to introduce more repetitive tasks. Be prepared for the person to eventually take a less active role in activities.
“By following these expert tips, you can plan activities that will be meaningful to your loved one while also providing them with personal enjoyment and important therapeutic benefits.” Adds Lonette,“You can also try some of the engagement activities listed below which have proven successful with our residents here at Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola.”
Engagement Activities You Can Try Today
Here are some favorite activities you can try with your loved one at home:
- Exercise: Walk, swim, do yoga or tai chi, dance
- Arts and crafts: Paint, draw, garden, knit, play an instrument or sing
- Games: Play sorting games or solve puzzles
- Daily chores: Do laundry, wash dishes, clean up
- Reminisce: Look through old photos, trinkets or souvenirs, talk about past memories
- Entertainment: Listen to favorite music, watch classic films
- Pet therapy: Spend time playing with a friendly pet
- Sensory activities: Give a massage or manicure, comb hair and enjoy pleasant aromas
Supporting At-Home Caregivers and Families with information and Guidance
At Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola, we understand the many challenges memory care caregivers face, and we’re always here to help. In addition to providing exceptional memory care for loved ones with memory loss, we also offer a variety of resources for families to help them meet the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s while continuing to have meaningful interactions and relationships.
We invite you to read Clarity Pointe’s valuable articles and tips on Alzheimer’s for at-home caregivers that you can put to use today. And as we prepare for our grand opening this December, we invite you to visit our developing website for ongoing updates and information.
Clarity Pointe … Our Difference is Clear
Clarity Pointe’s Specialized Memory Care “Living” Neighborhoods are truly changing lives for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – and for those who love them. At Clarity Pointe, our mission is to ensure our residents lead connected and rewarding lives.
Unlike other providers that offer a secure memory care wing in a skilled nursing or assisted living center, Clarity Pointe Pensacola offers three freestanding, purpose-built Memory Care communities that are solely and entirely dedicated to Memory Care Assisted Living. Our communities blend luxurious surroundings with specialized care that is individualized to each resident and delivered by a compassionate, expert team of professionals.
We stay current on the latest trends and advancements in Alzheimer’s care and implement them into our residents’ care plans. Always moving forward, we combine the latest in evidence-based programming with luxurious, residential living and compassionate respectful care.
For each of our residents, we offer a life that is engaging, fulfilling, inspiring and meaningful.