When you’re caring for someone who has dementia, one helpful way to manage their symptoms and progression can be to keep their mind engaged. Keeping their brain active in this way is thought to slow down degeneration, and can even be an important part of preventing conditions like dementia in the first place.
Here are a few ideas for engaging activities you can take part in with someone living with dementia.
Exercise is good for everyone. Not only does it keep our bodies in good shape, but it also releases endorphins, which help to lift our mood. So, it’s good for battling depression and keeping the mind and body active. Going for walks outdoors is especially a good activity because being in nature is also highly engaging and stimulating.
Arts and crafts
Creative pursuits have been found to be especially good for engaging dementia patients and stimulating different parts of their brain. You could try drawing, painting, knitting, or making something with them. If they’re not particularly arty, then one good option is to buy adult coloring books for them to color in.
A similarly creative active to try is listening to and making music. Simply listening to music can lift our moods and make us think back to past memories we associate with certain songs. You can also try playing musical instruments together or singing, especially if these are things that they used to enjoy doing.
Activities like brain training are thought to combat the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s by keeping the brain active. Crossword puzzles, wordsearches, and other mentally stimulating puzzles are great for the brain. Jigsaw puzzles are another good option, and they’re fun to do together.
Cooking and baking
Cooking and baking are great hobbies at any stage in life. They’re stimulating and engaging, and you have something tasty to show for it at the end. This could also help to keep patients’ appetites up and keep them eating healthily. The progression of their symptoms will determine how involved they can get in these activities, so be sure to adjust accordingly.
Looking at old photos
Reminiscing is another good way to stimulate the mind. Try looking through an old photo album or home videos and getting them to talk about the people in them or what they remember about the day they were taken. You might want to let them take the lead with activities like this as it can be frustrating to be asked lots of questions if they don’t know the answers to them.
If you need additional support as a carer for someone living with dementia, then contact Bermuda Run to see if our independent living and assisted living communities are suitable for them.