One of the most basic necessities of life for everyone, including those with Alzheimer’s, is to feel loved and needed. Our days are filled with a variety of activities that either tip the scale in favor of these positive feelings, or pull us downward into a feeling of despair. Planning appropriate activities for your loved one with Alzheimer’s can make all the difference in his or her demeanor and outlook.
Dr. Verna Benner Carson, creator of the Alzheimer’s Whisperer® program, suggests a plan of scheduling activities as they naturally occur during the day, such as:
- Wake-up hygiene tasks: washing, brushing teeth, getting dressed.
- Preparing and eating breakfast.
- Having a conversation about current events or past memories.
- Preparing and eating lunch.
- Reading and sorting mail.
- Clearing the table and washing dishes.
- Listening to music, working on a puzzle, or taking a walk.
- Preparing and eating dinner.
- Watching a movie, playing a game or cards.
- Reading a book or magazine.
For those who enjoy being outdoors, the following ideas can provide a sense of self-worth and relaxation:
- Help plant bulbs or seeds in pots or a small garden, or weed the garden.
- Help fill bird feeders and bird baths, and enjoy birdwatching.
- Enjoy a special snack outside, such as ice cream or fresh squeezed lemonade.
- For sensory stimulation, pick up leaves, rocks, flowers and grass, and talk about how different they smell and feel (which can also lead to reminiscing).
- Sit in the shade and read poems or short stories.
In thinking through the activities that will be most fulfilling for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, she suggests considering:
- What particular skills or abilities does the person have?
- What does he or she enjoy doing?
- Can he or she begin activities without direction?
- Are there any physical problems to keep in mind?
The stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is currently in is also something to carefully consider. Dr. Benner Carson points out that in the middle stages, it’s helpful to break tasks down into simple steps, using a process of “cueing” to allow the person to complete the task alone. In later stage Alzheimer’s, other techniques, such as “hand over hand” (placing your hand over that of your loved one and guiding through a task) are more successful.
At Nightingale Homecare, we implement the techniques recommended by Dr. Benner Carson as part of our Alzheimer’s Whisperer certification, focusing on maintaining the dignity and highest possible quality of life and independence of our clients with Alzheimer’s. Contact us at 602-504-1555 any time and allow us to share in your loved one’s journey through Alzheimer’s with our caring and compassionate Phoenix home care services.
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