Caring for a loved one with dementia is by no means easy. You always have the challenge of trying to reach out and connect with them. Providers of home health care in California offer suggestions on engaging activities for people with dementia. These activities will help you better bond with your ward and care for them.
The Challenge Of Communicating With People With Dementia
Before we go on with these activities, you should first understand the challenges you will encounter. Dementia is a progressive condition that results in significant impairment in communication ability. Some of the early signs of dementia you will encounter include:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Lack of direction
- Repeating questions
- Unusual words for objects
- Losing interest in everyday activities
- Delusions and paranoia
Note that the actual symptoms can vary from one person to another. These also change at each stage of the disease. You may need to change your approach in response to these. That part is where it can often be challenging.
Nevertheless, there are still things that you can do to improve communication. Such simple steps help you establish a bond with your loved one. They become more open to engaging in activities with you.
Keeping It Simple
You don’t want to add to the confusion your loved ones experience. Keep everything simple. Use ordinary words when talking with them and speak clearly. You should also refer to the real names of people and objects to help your loved ones remember.
Communicating and engaging with someone with dementia is often not a straightforward affair. Expect that you will often go off-tangent at times. Your loved ones may also struggle to respond to your questions. Give them plenty of time to process things and answer before moving to the next questions. Be patient in responding to their often repetitive questions.
Do Not Contradict
Keep in mind that dementia patients see the world differently from you. Thus, do not contradict what they might think as “true”. They might look for a relative who has long been dead. Instead of correcting them, you can assure them that the person is doing just fine. That helps reduce their anxiety about their situation.
Understand Their Behaviors
A dementia patient’s behavior might seem erratic to outsiders, but they do have meaning for these people. Be patient in understanding these. Ask calmly why they are acting that way. The conversation will help you determine the most engaging activities for them.
The Activities You Can Do With A Dementia Patient
At first glance, you might think there are very few activities you can do with your loved one with dementia. That is not the case, as there is a lot you can do. The right activities can help your loved ones’ journey of self-rediscovery.
But you will need to be careful in choosing these activities. Here are three pointers that you should consider.
The activity you choose should match your loved one’s current emotional state. Note that they can be unpredictable at times. You want to ensure they are not preoccupied with something else so they would not get distracted.
Go For Stimulating Activities
While their condition might limit what they can do, you still want a loved one with dementia to stay active physically and mentally. Your chosen activities should give them that stimulation. For that, look at the things they love to do and use these as a basis for your choice.
Choose Failure-Proof Activities
Dementia patients feel frustrated when they struggle to do things. Avoid that by choosing activities they can accomplish easily. Be ready to assist them in completing the activity. But also make sure that they have enough leeway.
With that, let’s go through some of the activities you can try out.
Even with the early signs of dementia, patients often still have the urge to perform household chores. That is especially the case if they are fond of it during their younger years. Cooking is one such activity that you should let them try again. It can be stimulating to their senses like smell and taste.
When choosing the recipes they can do, go for ones that are easy to follow. For example, no-bake cookies that they can prepare on their own. You also want something they can eat themselves so that the activity will be rewarding to them.
Sewing, Knitting, or Crocheting
Garment-related tasks are another simple set of activities your loved one can do. This time, it would be all about their sense of touch and practicing the dexterity of their hands. For safety, you should be the one to thread the needle before handing it to them. Guide them in doing the stitches. Once they get the hang of it, you can gradually let them finish the project.
Aside from fabric-related crafts, you can also let them try beadwork. This works on the same principle. You can also play a simple game with them. Place an assortment of fabrics in a box and let them feel each. Let them play around with the fabrics, such as folding them.
Create A memory Box
As the name says, a memory box is a container that holds things connected to your loved one’s past. These can be pictures, letters, or items related to their previous work or hobbies. Looking at these will help your loved one stay relaxed and happy, even if they are already showing early signs of dementia.
You can keep the box fresh by changing the contents regularly. That helps give your loved ones a sense of excitement as they wait what they wait to see what they will rediscover next. As they rummage through the box, encourage them to tell the stories they recall about the items.
Listen To Stimulating Sounds
Listening to different sounds can be both a relaxing and stimulating experience for someone with dementia. This is particularly the case with music. Gather recordings of songs and other pieces they love and listen to them together.
You can also bring instruments and do an impromptu music session with them. Singing can help them release the tension they are feeling and also express their feelings. Even if they can’t recall the lyrics of a song, you can join in to help them feel more comfortable.
For full sensory stimulation, encourage your loved one to explore the outdoors. Visiting parks is a great option here. They can relax on a bench and watch as people walk by. Here, you can make it a small gathering of family members so that they can socialize again.
You can also visit places that are significant to them. For instance, check out a restaurant where they and their spouse first met. While there, let them share stories about the place and reminisce. Dementia home care service providers like Amavi can help you in organizing these outdoor activities.
Let The Best Home Health Care In California Help You
Whichever activities you and your loved ones try, you might need some help in ensuring that it will succeed. Amavi is ready to be there and provide them with the best home health care in California. With that, they can enjoy these to the fullest. Contact us today for appointments and we will help you deal with early signs of dementia in your loved ones.