Because of the nature of dementia, many patients may no longer have an interest in hobbies they used to enjoy. Still, providing activities for dementia patients can be therapeutic and help ease frustrations due to their condition. Learn more about how daily activities support patients’ wellbeing and discover ideas to try with your family member.
How Daily Activities Help Dementia Patients
Memory challenges are often the most pressing issue for many patients with dementia. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort to engage with loved ones or encourage regular activity.
Activities Offer Distraction from Daily Challenges
While caregivers report that agitation and restlessness are typical with their loved ones with dementia, engaging activities are one way to cope. Adults in the early stages of dementia may resist traditional therapies, as well. But crafts, art projects, and other activities and games may be a welcome distraction.
Involving Loved Ones Preserves Family Ties
During a time when patients dealing with Alzheimer’s may no longer recognize family members, low-stress activities can allow them to spend time together. Cooperative activities, where the patient and caregiver or family member both participate, can also help maintain a connection.
Regular Activities Keep Patients on a Schedule
Maintaining routines is beneficial for people dealing with dementia. Scheduled activities can aid in orienting patients throughout the day. Patients may also look forward to participating in regular activities with caregivers and family members.
8 Activities for Patients with Dementia
Activities for dementia patients in Singapore range from arts and crafts to music and more. Here are eight ideas for engaging with your family member or patient.
Listen to or Play Music
Listening to music is one way to help ease dementia patients’ anxiety and aggression, notes Mayo Clinic. Putting on their favorite music genre can also stimulate their memory, though caregivers should be cautious when introducing music therapy as a regular activity.
If the reaction is positive or reflective, music can add interest and vibrancy to patients’ lives. Traditional music can also help them feel connected to their culture, which is especially vital for patients for are feeling isolated.
Cook or Bake Simple Recipes
Cooking or baking can be rewarding for people of all ages and abilities. For those with dementia, simple recipes can afford older adults the opportunity to create something tangible and delicious.
Even preparing kaya toast or slicing cucumbers (with a senior-safe knife) for Hainan chicken rice can be engaging and feel productive for dementia patients. Tasks like setting the table or polishing silverware can also be worthwhile kitchen activities for older adults.
Try Sensory Boxes or Materials
Though many patients with Alzheimer’s experience a decline in cognition, sensory experiences can still prove beneficial. Materials with varying textures can be interesting for adults with dementia.
Putting together a box or bag with a handful of items is also a low-prep activity. Fabric scraps, cotton balls, yarn, and other bits and pieces cater to the senses. Choose objects with various textures and sizes for more variety and tactile appeal.
If you’re not afraid to get a little messy, try materials like play dough, malleable clay, or even slime for a more interactive activity. Adding essential oils to the sensory experience can also be beneficial. Studies show that oils like rosemary and lavender may alleviate the effects of dementia in some patients.
Create Collages of Favorite Subjects
With a pair of safety scissors and a stack of magazines, dementia patients can create collages based on their interests. Because cutting with scissors requires small motor abilities, some patients may not be able to manage this activity.
However, those with the dexterity may find this activity soothing. Another positive aspect of creating a project is that patients can share the final product with friends and family. The sense of accomplishment can be immensely rewarding, too.
Watch Classic Films
With the availability of streaming content and even free downloads online, you can find many classic films that your loved one may remember. Even if former favorites are no longer familiar, watching old TV shows and movies can offer a sense of nostalgia.
Viewing films – especially as part of a community or family movie night – can help patients socialize and connect with others. Themed nights can also elevate the experience for patients and families alike.
Play Simple Games
Engaging games for dementia patients in Singapore range from puzzles to building blocks. Depending on the person’s state of cognition, some tasks may be more difficult than others.
Avoiding anything that could present frustration is crucial – but offering simple puzzles or a set of building blocks may be a great way to pass the time.
See the World (from Home)
Whether your loved one has explored the world or prefers to stay close to home, technology allows them to travel virtually. You can tune in to live feeds of nearly any place in the world – from zoos and animal reserves to art museums and notable landmarks.
Especially if the dementia patient is an avid traveler or history buff, exploring through video footage could be a worthwhile experience.
Try Dual-Task Activities to Improve Memory
Though many activities are enjoyable for people with dementia, dual-task exercises may be beneficial in other ways, too. As The Straits Times reports, the physical exercise plus mental challenge aims to help people with dementia retain their memory abilities.
Further study is necessary to determine how helpful these sessions might be. But performing the tasks at home may help your loved one keep their memories with them a little longer.
Final Thoughts on Activities for Dementia Patients
Learning how to care for a loved one with dementia can be challenging. But while keeping your loved one at home may be difficult, there are many potential benefits, too. One is ensuring that your family member receives personalized care and connection with their loved ones. By doing these activities together, you can reassure your loved one and enhance their quality of life, despite a dementia diagnosis.