One of the best things you can do to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is to spend quality time with them. Visits can take on more meaning and deliver real benefits when time is spent doing activities together. It can significantly improve their quality of life and help with managing some of the more difficult symptoms of disease, such as confusion, depression, agitation and insomnia. Quality time filled with activities also helps you grow and cultivate your bond with your friend or loved one.
Here are some beneficial ways to spend meaningful time with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Playing games together is an excellent way to engage your loved one’s mind while having fun. Various games encourage socialization, boost knowledge, and improve concentration. Studies show that games can even help combat the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Some great choices include:
- Branded games like Scrabble and Connect Four
- Crossword puzzles
- Rolling dice
- Word Searches
Playing card games is another excellent way to stimulate your beloved senior’s mind. They reduce stress, help improve memory and sharpen cognitive functions like concentration. Many card games can be adapted to be easier and more engaging by using different decks and easy-to-see cards, and by modifying the rules to be more straightforward.
A few good choices include:
- Crazy Eights
- Go Fish
- Old Maid
Jigsaw puzzles combine cognitive activity with therapeutic value. They are very soothing, creating a way to decrease stress while improving communication and overall wellness. Choose puzzles that feature images of your loved ones’ favorite things, hobbies, and places they visited. Note that there are also companies that produce puzzles specifically designed for memory loss patients.
Create a Memory Book
Create a memory scrapbook with your loved one! Sharing proud moments and happy memories will help build their self-esteem while offering a bridge to both the past and the present. Scrapbooking and looking at photos also provides an effective distraction technique to help them refocus when they’re having a bad day.
Find old—and new—photos and make scrapbooks to commemorate and celebrate their life and family memories. Ask your loved one what their favorite memories are and what they want their family to know about them as a starting point. You may be able to create several memory books with different themes. If a book is too difficult, consider creating a memory box filled with images that they can reach for and find comfort in when feeling stressed.
Creating art with your loved one is another way to soothe them while instilling a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Making art has been shown to reduce anxiety and agitation. It helps to calm patients down and refocus their attention when they get distracted.
Some excellent options for creating art include:
- Creating collages
- Drawing pictures
- Filling out coloring books in vivid hues
- Making tie-dye shirts
- Painting with watercolors
- Simple crafts
Activities like these will help you stay connected with your friend or loved one suffering from memory loss and will help them feel better overall. Get creative and continue to look for new ways to help them get the most out of the rest of their life.