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6 Creative Activities for Older Adults with Dementia

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Even when living with dementia, your senior loved one’s creative nature can persist. Projects enabling self-expression keep life fascinating. Constructive pursuits affirm your loved one’s abilities and self-worth. Some endeavors preserve hand-eye coordination, motor function, dexterity, and strength, along with happy memories. Here are a few ways to kindle your loved one’s creative energies.

1. Decorating Picture Frames

The ways to embellish picture frames are limitless. Choosing from various materials engages your loved one’s senses and decision-making skills. Customizing the artwork hones concentration, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.When the project is complete, your loved one can insert a photo that invokes pleasant memories or offer the frame as a gift, bringing joy to the recipient. Decorations can honor special occasions such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and holidays.

You can find inexpensive, unfinished wooden frames at craft and dollar stores. While there, also get acrylic paint, water-based varnish, and brushes so your loved one can dress the wood. You’ll also need craft glue for affixing the trimmings to the frame. Once the painted frame is dry, your loved one can glue on the embellishments. Provide a few options like shells, pasta, beads, colored tissue paper, braided rope, ribbon, buttons, straws, and scrapbook paper.

Once the glue sets, have your loved one apply two coats of varnish, drying the frame between coats. Then, if desired, insert a photograph. To commemorate an occasion, provide related embellishments. For example, a Valentine’s Day gift could feature red paint and candy hearts, imprinted with loving sentiments.

2. Growing Herbs Indoors

Herb cultivation activates the sense of touch, smell, sight, and taste. While tending the plants, your loved one is using his or her motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When inhaling herbal fragrances, he or she gains the benefits of aromatic plant oils. Meals flavored with herbs awaken your loved one’s taste buds, making food more appetizing. Dried herbs can be used for potpourri, sachets, and tea.

Herbs need bright light to thrive. Ideal spots are windows that face east, west, or south, with at least six hours of unobstructed sunlight. To keep plants growing upright, ask your loved one to rotate the pots daily. If the house lacks sunny windows, keep plants under a full-spectrum grow light, left on for at least 12 hours daily.

Plants amenable to indoor cultivation are bay laurel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and lavender. Best grown from seed are basil, chervil, and cilantro, re-sowing them after they produce seeds. Other herbs that grow well indoors are parsley, sage, tarragon, peppermint, sweet marjoram, and chives.

3. Baking Bread

For seniors with dementia, baking yeast bread from scratch can be therapeutic due to the sensory stimulation it provides. While measuring ingredients and proofing yeast, your loved one is alert and focused. Kneading bread dough eases tension, helping him or her feel calm. When collaborating with a kitchen helper, your loved one is communicating and interacting socially.

When your loved one sees the finished loaves, the accomplishment will boost his or her self-esteem. The scent of freshly baked bread may perk his or her appetite.

Tasty bread options to consider baking are multigrain, egg, sourdough, herb, potato, rye, challah, focaccia, and cinnamon-raisin. Since yeast breads need time to rise, allot four hours for the entire baking process.

Older adults with dementia may need assistance baking or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Santa Rosa, CA, families trust in Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

4. Arranging Flowers

This activity offers tactile, visual, olfactory, and motor stimulation, and it gives your loved one the opportunity to make choices and decisions. Simultaneously, his or her brain is busy recognizing patterns and comparing colors and textures. Flower arranging also imparts relaxation, a sense of purpose, and the pride of achievement.

For a fresh flower arrangement, choose blooms with sturdy stems, such as calendulas, Gerbera daisies, carnations, lilies, snapdragons, and chrysanthemums. If possible, provide your loved one’s favorite flower, evoking happy memories. Also obtain filler such as baby’s breath, ivy, ferns, eucalyptus, statice, poms, or stock.

Have a few types of non-breakable vases on hand, from which your loved one can make a selection. If your loved one can safely handle pruning shears, let him or her cut the flower stems. Show him or her how to make an angled cut, which increases water intake.

To boost flower longevity, your loved one should change the vase water every two days and re-cut the stems by ½ inch from the bottom. Your loved one can also preserve blooms by adding a crushed aspirin tablet to the vase water.

Aging adults with dementia can benefit from engaging in creative activities with a partner. For families living in Santa Rosa, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

5. Building Birdhouses

This hobby is well-suited to men, particularly those who’ve enjoyed repairing objects and working with their hands. Crafting a birdhouse channels your loved one’s focus while enabling him or her to feel useful. Sanding, painting, and assembling the pieces engages motor function, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.

When your loved one sees the completed birdhouse on the property, he or she will be gratified by providing shelter to local birds. Then, hearing and seeing the happy inhabitants will bring a smile to your loved one’s face.

Birdhouse kits are sold by garden centers, online retailers, and hardware, craft, and hobby stores. Designed for bird lovers of all ages and skill levels, they come with detailed instructions and precut wood pieces. If tools are difficult for your loved one to manage, you can buy birdhouses assembled with glue. If certain bird species frequent your area, choose specific kits that will invite them to your loved one’s yard. Designs are also available in cute styles such as gazebo, church, and log cabin.

6. Making Centerpieces

The benefits of crafting centerpieces are similar to those of flower arranging. Additionally, the keepsake is permanent. If your loved one designs several displays, rotating them may instantly refresh his or her joy, or he or she can offer them as gifts.

Provide a choice of objects to star in a centerpiece, such as a pillar candle, glass jar, or upturned flower pot, painted with your loved one’s artistic touch. Another option is layering different types of shells or quartz stones inside a clear vase or lantern.

For a seasonal centerpiece, provide complementary accessories such as mini flags for Independence Day, gourds for autumn, pine cones for winter, plastic eggs at Easter, and ornaments at Christmastime. You can find supplies for centerpieces at flea markets and craft, dollar, and thrift stores.

Once your loved one has selected the focal object for the centerpiece, set it on a large tray, cake stand, or plate. If using silk flowers, provide a Styrofoam block to insert them. Next, have your loved one arrange items around the base, such as silk foliage, berries, and flowers. Curly ribbon is a pretty embellishment. To further personalize the project, include a cheery photo from your loved one’s past, summoning good memories.

Seniors with dementia often require assistance with day-to-day activities. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Santa Rosa Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To learn about our dementia in-home care plans, give us a call at (707) 843.4368 today.