Finding engaging and fun activities for a family member with dementia can be a challenge. Add in vision impairment, and it could seem nearly impossible. Nevertheless, it’s extremely important to ensure each day holds opportunities for joy, purpose, and meaning – decreasing the level of agitation, frustration, as well as other difficult behaviors and emotions that are common among those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
To begin identifying enriching activities, consider the senior’s current and past hobbies, interests and lifestyle. Then think of strategies to draw on those preferences. For those living with vision loss and dementia, we’ve put together some ideas to help you get started:
- Enjoy music. Put together a playlist of the individual’s favorite songs or genre of music, and then sing along, dance, keep the beat with a tambourine or simply a sealed container of dried beans or uncooked rice. Talk about the memories the music evokes.
- Read aloud. Choose stories or articles that are simple to follow and on topics that are interesting to the older adult. For example, a sports fan may enjoy hearing an update on his or her favorite players and teams, and discuss highlights from the past as well.
- Get moving. Simple movement and exercise will help increase muscle tone and circulation, as well as to help encourage daytime wakefulness and better nighttime sleeping. If weather allows, exercising outdoors is an ideal option to incorporate vitamin D and fresh air. Try walks in nature, pointing out the sounds, birds, flowers, trees, etc. that you pass on the way.
- Experiment with a number of tactile art mediums. Identify materials that can be manipulated without the use of vision, such as clay or sculpting sand. Or try creating a 3-D work of art by gluing buttons, shells, dried pasta, etc. into a pattern or shape.
- Include the senior in ability-appropriate tasks around the home. Food preparation offers a variety of options, for example, washing and tearing lettuce for a salad, peeling and breaking apart oranges or bananas, and mixing ingredients for a dessert. Or ask your loved one to help with folding laundry or sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
- Try pet therapy. Specially trained pet therapists can provide a safe, trusted dog or cat for the older adult to pet or hold. Although this may seem simplistic, the joy and relaxing effects of spending some time with an animal may be significant.
The caregivers at Seniorcorp are specially trained in creative ideas to engage seniors of every ability level to make daily life more enjoyable while fostering independence. Highly trained professionals are available to provide senior services in Norfolk, VA, and surrounding areas. Give us a call today at 757-640-0557 to learn more about how a trusted care partner can help your family.