In addition to the games and craft projects we’ve been discussing, there are many other activities that you can enjoy with your older loved ones. Whether your loved one is dealing with dementia or a physical illness, many of these activities can be adapted to fit their needs and abilities.
Boost their confidence with a hobby
Art projects may boost your loved one’s confidence and help them channel their inner creativity. While you can go all out purchase paints and other art supplies, you can also inspire an artistic activity with items you already have around your home. Try scrapbooking or making holiday cards and decorations. You might even consider taking your creativity to the kitchen. Baking or cooking a favorite recipe with your loved one could help improve their motor skills and the aromas may trigger happy memories. Don’t limit yourself to indoor activities, either–consider outdoor activities such as watering the garden or planting flowers or seeds. These kinds of pastimes can help your older loved one connect with nature and give them the opportunity to absorb some vitamin D.
Keep them involved in household chores
Keep your loved one engaged with household chores that are easy for them to accomplish so they can continue to feel like an integral part of the family. Simple tasks such as drying dishes, sweeping the patio or folding laundry allow older adults to feel that they are contributing to a team effort.
Treat them with a simple luxury
For a more relaxing activity, treat your loved on to a day at the spa by drawing up a warm bath or massaging their neck, shoulders or hands with their favorite scented oils. Simple grooming tasks such as combing their hair or moisturizing their skin can help give them a sense of comfort and belonging.
Reminisce with a favorite record, film or book
Listening to an old favorite album or watching a movie with your loved one will not only lift their spirits, but may also trigger happy memories from their past. Researchers have found that the ability to comprehend music remains intact even into the late stages of dementia, and music therapists have found that adults with advanced Alzheimer’s often respond to music from their past. Put together a mix CD of their favorite songs or artists and play it when your loved one is feeling down, or engage a child in your family by having them sing songs or read aloud from a favorite book.
Stay active with a beneficial exercise
Any amount of exercise provides both mental and physical benefits. It helps to maintain a healthy appetite and sleeping routine as well a clearer and calmer mindset. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even regular walking can help older adults maintain mobility. For gentle exercise, engage your loved one both mentally and physically by taking walks through museums, parks or gardens.
Read about which exercises are most suitable for your loved one here. Even simple breathing and stretching exercises can provide your loved one the stress-relief they need. Yoga classes geared toward older adults, as well as at-home exercises, can also benefit your loved one. Keeping your loved one active will help them feel more liberated and also increase awareness of their body and mind.
A number of simple everyday activities can be made appropriate for those with dementia, so it is all about finding the things your loved one enjoys most. Take a look at these resources from the Alzheimer’s Association and Dementia Today for more ideas on keeping individuals with dementia happy and health, and consult with your loved one’s doctor to determine what activities best fit their mental and physical needs and abilities.