Being diagnosed with early onset dementia brings about many changes to a person’s life. Not only is there the stress and depression that comes along with an incurable disease, many people begin to isolate themselves from activities they once enjoyed. As a family caregiver, watching the decline of someone you love is no walk in the park either. Still, it’s important to Â be adhere to a sense of normalcy in a person’s life. That’s why making the effort to ensure your loved one’s life is full of familiar activities can help ease some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease as it progresses.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a list of tips for caregivers to create rewarding activities for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, depending on the severity of the person’s condition.
- Always keep your loved one’s skills and abilities in mind, and focus on enjoyment rather than achievement.
- Keep notes on what makes the person happy as well as what makes him or her anxious. Naturally, fill the day with the happy activities and avoid the others, if possible.
- Stick to a daily routine as much as possible and incorporate activities your loved one begins without direction (e.g., setting the dinner table). This also builds a person’s sense of self worth, leaving an individual to feel like a valuable part of the household.
- Creative activities that build on remaining skills can be particularly enjoyable for your loved one.
- Likewise with activities that relate to past work (e.g., a former farmer might enjoy helping with the yard work).
- The right time of day can make certain activities more enjoyable for both caregiver and the one receiving care. For example, bathing may be best in the evening before bed.
- Lastly, adjust activities to stages of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association notes that more repetitive tasks may be more appropriate as the disease progresses. Also, as a caregiver, be prepared to have your loved one take a less active role in activities.
Patience is definitely a virtue when caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Through promoting a strong sense of purpose in daily activities, you and your loved one can live a happier life that establishes a sense of normalcy, encourages self expression and aims reduce stress as much as possible.
Are there any other tips and/or activities you’ve found helpful when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
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