It is not always easy for a senior to pursue a hobby or hop in the current trend of “in” activities for older adults. After all, they have been through a lot of life changes as they reach their golden years. There’s retirement, adult kids leaving the nest, getting diagnosed with a disease, and for some, it’s transitioning to Alzheimer’s assisted living.
Alzheimer’s and dementia memory care communities provide a caring and nurturing environment for seniors with memory and cognitive impairment problems.
These facilities offer residents everything that can help them thrive and get better. From 24/7 supportive care and assistance to movie theaters and game rooms for entertainment.
Moreover, memory care units strive hard to improve the health condition of seniors by engaging them in simple yet fun and helpful activities. Take cues on some of the best activities residents enjoy in their community below.
1. Mentally-Stimulating Activities
Like us, seniors with dementia need hobbies and activities to bring pleasure, feel successful, and keep themselves in high spirits. It will also keep them occupied and prevent them from getting bored, which often leads to displays of challenging behaviors, like sundowning, paranoia, and agitation.
Furthermore, mental stimulation allows them to maintain brain activity and even improve their cognitive functions. Some senior-friendly mental activities for patients with dementia include:
- Playing board games, poker, or puzzles.
- Play a crossword, memory game, or video game.
- Read a book specifically published for dementia patients.
- Engage them in a simple conversation.
Make sure to choose activities that your loved one would like or be interested in. It is also essential to pick fail-free pursuits so that older adults can feel productive and successful.
2. Simple Chores
Another way to engage seniors is by allowing them to assist in simple household chores. Let them do the ones that you think they enjoyed doing the most before their dementia. It would be better to choose activities that would make them feel successful but won’t make them feel too tired.
You can try letting them fold small laundry clothes, dry plastic dishes, help prepare meals, or organize the contents of their bedroom table. Seniors in Alzheimer’s assisted living may not be able to do this since housekeeping and maintenance staff handles the chores for them.
But instead of housework, caregivers can let their elderly patients do some personal chores, such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, or picking their outfits for the day.
These simple yet meaningful activities can stimulate both their physical and mental faculties. Plus, this will make them feel good about themselves as they contribute something to the household.
3. Arts and Crafts
If your senior loved one loves experimenting with colors and making crafts, then you can let them dabble in it as a form of activity.
Arts and crafts activities help seniors express themselves and stimulate the creative part of their brain. At the same time, they get to have fun and use their tactile sensation to create their masterpiece. Some hobbies to try include:
- Painting or drawing using non-toxic art materials
- Knitting and crocheting
- Flower arranging
- Playing with homemade dough
- Making bracelets and necklaces with beads.
The good thing about these activities is that there’s no right or wrong way to do them. They will be creating something out of nothing, which is both satisfying and enjoyable.
Moreover, being absorbed in a hobby prevents symptoms from arising, allowing them to enjoy and make the most out of their day.
4. Reminiscing Activities
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease usually have defective short-term memory. However, their long-term memory usually remains intact and has a much stronger recall than recently learned information.
That’s why doctors sometimes use reminiscent therapy to stimulate the long-term memory of seniors with dementia. But besides its therapeutic benefit, you can also use it as a fun activity to engage your loved one in a conversation about their best memories. Some reminiscing activities you can try with your loved one in Alzheimer’s assisted living include:
- Looking through their old photo albums or making new ones.
- Create a DIY picture puzzle or a memory box
- Watch family videos with other close relatives.
- Look for souvenirs or things that have sentimental value to them.
- Engaging them in a conversation to talk about their favorite childhood memory.
These activities stimulate their memory and encourage them to socialize and practice their speech and communication skills.
5. Experiment with Sounds and Music
A music’s calming and relaxing effect makes it a perfect activity and therapy for older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, it has a unique power to stimulate memories or elicit emotions, especially if music had been a huge part of your loved one’s life before their disease. If music has a soothing effect on your loved one, then you can try several activities that involve music, such as:
- Allowing them to listen to their favorite singer or band.
- Create a Spotify playlist of their favorite genre. You can also create one that they can play before sleeping or during their workout sessions.
- Watch videos of their favorite band together or virtually attend a live performance.
If your loved one is a fan of music, you can also incorporate it during their other activities. For instance, you can play a mellow song while they paint, or play a semi-upbeat one while they do their chores.
6. Physical Stimulation
Older adults need regular physical activity, even low-impact ones, to keep their physique healthy. At the same time, it is also a great activity for them because it’s fun, failure-free, and they get to move their bodies!
Moreover, they can do this activity wherever they want—inside the house, outdoors, or with fellow seniors in their Alzheimer’s assisted living community. Some of the fitness routines you and your loved one can engage in include:
- Walking on the treadmill or around the neighborhood.
- Water aerobics
- Senior-friendly yoga and tai chi
- Fishing and gardening
Just make sure to pick exercises that fit your loved one’s age and fitness level. It is also vital to consult your doctor first before working out.