Meaningful Activities for Someone With Alzheimer's
The work we do and the activities we choose for fun tell the world a lot about us. Try to imagine your life without them. People with Alzheimer's disease lose the ability to do the things that make them who they are little by little over time.
It is common for caregivers to focus on the activities they need to stop the person with AD from doing, such as driving, working, going out alone, and making important decisions. However, in order to help the person maintain good self-esteem, it is important to also think about how to help him to continue to engage in meaningful activities, and participate in family and community life. To do this you need to decide what type of things he can do and help him adjust for abilities that are lost. As the old song says, you need to ''accentuate the positive.''
Think about ways the person can continue to participate in activities she enjoyed before becoming ill. For example, if she used to play tennis, but can no longer keep score, would she enjoy hitting the ball back and forth? If she enjoyed cooking, can you and she make a meal together? Can she stir a sauce if you watch to be sure she doesn't get burned?
Activities give structure to time. They should make the best use of a person's remaining strengths and skills and be based on interests and hobbies that have been developed over a lifetime. They can include activities that you did together, such as going for walks or gardening, which can still be enjoyed. Meaningful activities can also reduce the risk that that the person will become agitated or behave in ways that may upset him and others. People with dementia have difficulty planning and in choosing activities. When a person is in the early stage, just a reminder or a cue may be enough to get him going and he may be able to carry on from there. But eventually you will have to do more. You will have to choose the activity and create the physical and emotional environment in which the person with dementia can do it.
Without guidance, the person in your care may experience what is called the empty-day syndrome. Although people with Alzheimer's may not realize that they are bored, they may just doze or become restless and wander aimlessly about the house.
Like anyone else, people with Alzheimer's disease are more likely to feel good about themselves if they engage in activities that stimulate and satisfy them.