8 Brain-Engaging Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms are likely to get worse over time. If you love someone who has an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is painful to watch the development of dementia and gradual loss of independence. But there are some things that can help slow its progression, like activities you can do together that can engage the brain and enhance your loved one’s quality of life. Every moment is precious — these are some ways to make the most out of them.
8. GardeningGetting outside in the fresh air and playing in the dirt is more than a fun hobby. Gardening can help a patient with Alzheimer’s express and increase creativity. It doesn’t have to be huge — plan a garden plot or even a window garden where your loved one can see and interact with it regularly! Pick some flowers and vegetables together, and make it a ritual to care for them each day. You’re not just growing plants; you’re growing memories.
7. Getting Some SunlightIf they don’t like to garden, getting out into the sunlight is still a good idea. Vitamin D is synthesized by the body with exposure to sunlight. There is an observational link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia, though scientists have not yet determined if there is cause and effect there. Still, getting out into the sunlight for a bit is unlikely to do harm, and may stir positive memories while helping the body.
6. StretchingStretching is a gentle exercise that helps get energy levels up, and recent studies suggest it might also aid memory and brain fitness. It also helps with an Alzheimer’s patient’s physical ability and flexibility.
5. Arts and CraftsFrom creating a holiday wreath for the front door to decorating a picture frame with shells for a present, arts and crafts help to keep the hands busy and the creative juices flowing.
4. Quilting and Knitting
If your loved one enjoys quilting and knitting, encourage them to continue! This relaxing activity not only keeps their hands busy, but also is a good creative task for the mind.
3. Listening to MusicListening to music is a great way for someone with Alzheimer’s to return to old memories. Live or recorded music can create an impression, and may be an opportunity to open a conversation about the past.
2. Putting a Puzzle TogetherPutting together a puzzle can keep problem-solving and logic skills sharp. Find something interesting, and be sure to stay involved helping to put it together. Working on a puzzle is an opportunity to have a nice conversation as well as an excercise to improve the memory and the mind.
1. Cleaning and Organizing
Cleaning and organizing does more than bring a sense of order to a room or home. It can help anyone feel a sense of accomplishment about a job well done.
The best part of trying these activities with your loved one is that the two of you will share a great time together. Make it memorable and enjoy this time.