Dementia Care: Tips for Introducing New Activities to Seniors

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Introducing New Activities to a Senior with Dementia

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It is vitally important that seniors in the early stages of dementia be encouraged to engage in meaningful, mentally stimulating activities. Participating in these types of activities can improve quality of life, relieve depression, and may also slow the progression of the disease.

As a trusted provider of senior home care in Sonoma County, we strongly believe in the importance of staying engaged when living with dementia, and wanted to give families and caregivers a few tips for how they can help their loved one enjoy new activities. Because some of the symptoms of dementia can leave a senior feeling agitated, frustrated and even afraid, it is important to pick activities that are:

  • Appropriate for current abilities. In order for a senior to enjoy a new activity, it must be appropriate for his or her cognitive level. While it is important to pick activities that aren’t too complicated, keep in mind that if the proposed activity is too simple and childish, your loved one may become offended or bored.  Additionally, many seniors with early dementia are afraid to try new activities for fear that their condition will cause them to appear foolish. Be sure to provide your loved one with emotional support to help them feel at ease.
  • Focused around individual interests. The proposed activity also has to be of interest to the senior. Consider your loved one’s prior hobbies, interests and occupation when developing a new activity. From gardening to playing video games, there is a wealth of options for seniors that can boost brain health. You may even want to get the family involved in the chosen activity. Familiar faces and laughter can help lift the spirits of a senior with dementia.
  • Structured and easy to follow. One of the earliest symptoms of dementia is the inability to make rational decisions or follow a set process. Therefore, activities for dementia patients need to be structured in order to provide a sense of safety and understanding. Regular music or art events such as weekly sing-alongs or watercolor classes are easy to arrange and are enjoyable for most seniors. Home Care Assistance Sonoma County also offers an in-home wellness program, the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which uses fun and structured brain games to promote cognitive vitality and mental acuity for seniors and older adults. Click here to learn more.

When introducing a senior parent or loved one to a new activity, it is also important to be patient, look patient and act patient. Make suggestions instead of giving orders or instructions and don’t criticize or ask “why” questions. If things don’t go as planned, take it in stride. Even if the activity wasn’t completed successfully, if your loved one felt engaged and confident, then the activity was a success.

To learn more information about Sonoma County dementia care for a senior loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance Sonoma County today. Our experienced and friendly Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer questions and can also help you schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. Call 707-843-4368 – we look forward to hearing from you!