For years we have been supplying quality caregivers to those who need in home senior care in the Phoenix area. And for years we are always trying to find ways to keep the seniors in our care stimulated and interested in activities of daily living.
For a caregiver, it is sometimes difficult to find what to do that is in the best interests of the senior that you are looking after. Especially if they are afflicted with some sort of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. However, if you can keep your loved one with dementia occupied, then you are half way to winning the battle.
Mental stimulation of seniors with Alzheimer’s can work wonders for your mental health as well as theirs. This may sound simplistic but playing with them will provide you with a welcome break from your usual caring routine and could provide laughter for you both.
So here are five things you might not have thought of and would want to try.
#1 Put the Activities on the Schedule
Setting aside a specific time frame every few days will ensure that you are doing something fun with them. For the senior, it often proves to be the highlight of their week because they finally recognize something and respond to it. It breaks the monotony for them and can actively be used to calm them. They also see a light every now and then in the dark tunnel of the mind and they will often remember it and look forward to it.
#2 Participate and Observe
When you start your activities it is important that you not only be a part of the activity but also be an observer. Your loved one will enjoy the interaction but not every activity will produce a positive response. Before their slide into dementia they had their likes and dislikes and they still do but they are more difficult to recognize. Be aware of smiles and frowns and disinterest. If they turn away from an activity it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to do it anymore, it could just mean that they are bored of it. So try something else. But keep it fun and engaging. When they say that they are tired, it’s over. Don’t make it a chore, it should be fun for both of you.
#3 Stimulation Is Treatment
It is important to mentally stimulate the elderly in your care to keep their minds as sharp and active as possible. Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and other ailments must exercise their minds as often as possible. But finding the right ways to achieve this could take forever, unless you have a little bit of help and advice. Medical research has found that some forms of stimulation are better than others because of the way in which the mind responds to certain stimuli.
#4 Colors and Puzzles
Bright colors have been found to work exceedingly well. Here playing with rag dolls and brightly colored balls have worked wonders in keeping their mind active. In fact, if you ask them to do something as they are concentrating on the colors will stimulate different areas of the brain. This is, of course, purely for mental exercise and it has no direct meaning to it. However, there are certain activities that do have meaning and can also be used to exercise them physically as well as mentally. Examples of games that are brightly colored and serve a purpose are puzzles. You can find large piece jigsaw puzzles of clown and balloons. Not only do the colors draw their eye, but you can also encourage the individual senior to try and place the piece, with a little help of course! Puzzles are fun and can be of great benefit to the Alzheimer’s victim.
#5 Take it Outside
Outdoor activities that involve animals are also perfect activities for mentally disabled seniors. For example, walking a dog will afford them responsibility and give some meaning to what they are doing. It will also enhance their perception of themselves tremendously. The responsibility of looking after another living creature can brighten up even their darkest days. Dogs are perfect for such activities because they are loving and affectionate and provide a warm and loving response to any fuss and attention they receive. Obviously, any such activities must be carried out under close supervision to ensure that the safety of all is maintained.
Communication is so important between you and your loved one and many times that communication is on a non-verbal level. It is important that you be an observer at all times and activities like those above can increase your bond and be fun for both of you.