Alzheimer's patients need activities to help stimulate cognitive functioning, promote social interaction, alleviate depression and improve self-esteem. A visit from a loved one may inspire recollections of past events, especially if your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Visitations to your loved one's Alzheimer's care facility may also help foster relationships and strengthen bonds.
To help your loved one become more engaged with life and spark pleasant memories, share any of these activities on your next visit:
1. Listen To Music They Have Previously Enjoyed
Bring along favorite recordings. Ask questions such as, "Do you remember this artist? He was always your favorite musician." Also, play a song with significant meaning, to conjure up pleasant memories of the past.
2. Share A Family Photo Album Or Video Recording
Dig out the family picture book to take along on your next visit. Seeing photos of loved ones, past and present, could jog the memory of a person in the early stages of Alzheimer's. As you turn the pages, recount significant events associated with the photos, and encourage your loved one to recall them.
Do you have a video tape of family and friends? If possible, take a short video clip of family or friends on your mobile phone. Sharing a video may evoke memories.
3. Play Games Together
Work on jigsaw puzzles, play memory games or enjoy traditional board games such as Scrabble or dominoes. Bring along a deck of cards and teach your loved one a new game. He or she may enjoy playing solitaire games after your visit. Any of these games are good for cognitive function.
4. Take A Stimulating Walk Together
Under supervision from a loved one, an Alzheimer's patient may greatly benefit from an outing away from the usual environment. Visit a botanical garden or take a nature walk. Being outdoors in nature may help stimulate the appetite and promote better sleeping. Additionally, a brisk walk during good weather provides important exercise.
Your loved one's mental outlook and mood may receive a boost from an outdoor walk or outing. Natural sunlight can boost the mood significantly. Alzheimer's patients often suffer from anxiety and depression, and outdoor exercise may alleviate some of these symptoms.
When meeting others, encourage your loved one to stop and chat. Point out various landmarks, wildlife and settings. These may inspire a discussion, encouraging your loved one to become less detached.
5. Discuss Current Events
Living in a memory care or nursing facility may make the individual feel isolated from current events. Read the newspaper together. Encourage discussions on local and world news.
6. Cook Or Bake Together
Assisting in food preparation can help the individual feel useful. Whether making a batch of homemade cookies or preparing a home-cooked meal, allow your loved one to become fully involved. Have them add their favorite ingredients. To encourage further social interaction, ask your loved one to invite a friend or fellow resident to your "dinner party."
7. Bring Along A Child Or Pet
Being around children and friendly animals can have a positive effect on individuals with Alzheimer's. Children have a way of sparking creativity and imagination, and they may evoke wonderful memories. If the facility allows pets, bring along a friendly cat or dog. A warm hug from a furry friend may do wonders to reduce stress.
As a Final Consideration
In conclusion, always keep your loved one's safety and best interests in mind. If they express displeasure or stress over a particular activity, allow them to choose a different diversion. Also, when venturing out of a secure environment, supervision is a must. This will help keep the person from harm's way should they become disoriented with unfamiliar surroundings.