Caring for an aging parent or loved one who has dementia can make the sanest person even a little bonkers. It is ok…sometime you just have to laugh at the craziness of it all. One of the craziest things caregivers deal with daily, is trying to find ways to entertain and keep their aging loved one with dementia engaged throughout the day. Of course, television is often an easy entertainment option; however the lack of stimulation experienced after hours of television watching does not benefit someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and could possibly exacerbate the condition.
Do not despair… there are some easy activity options that will benefit your loved one without stressing out the caregiver.
Music Therapy Benefits for Seniors with Dementia:
We have mentioned it before in our series on Activities and Seniors, but is worth mentioning again. Music therapy has a profound effect on seniors with dementia by helping to improve their concentration and awareness, reducing stress and tension, improving coordination, lowering blood pressure and improving memory and recall. Here are a few music activities you can do with your aging loved one.
- Sing along while making meals or driving in the car
- Reminiscent music: playing old time songs that help raise the spirits
- Name that tune game: ask your loved one to name the artist or song title
- Rhythm games: Use musical instruments like shakers, bells, or tambourines.
- Exercise, stretch or creative movement to rhythmic music
Art Therapy Benefits for Seniors with Dementia:
Studies show that seniors who participate in art can improve their symptoms associated with dementia. Art can help a person with dementia express their feelings and frustrations, while the creative process improves self-esteem. Here are a few art ideas you do at home.
- Make geometric patterns using shapes
- Floral arranging
- Clay formation
- Water coloring/ painting
- Pottery painting
Memory Games for Seniors with Dementia:
Today there are plenty of computer based memory games available to seniors with dementia. Most of these games are designed to help stimulate the brain in different ways, sort of like exercise for the body, but instead you are exercising your brain. Not all brain games are computerized though. There are a number of games you can do together with your aging loved one.
- Memory Jogging Puzzles: Based on old Saturday Evening Post covers
- Dice games: Farkel is a great dice game
- Board games: Bingo is a classic
- Word games: crossword puzzles and word jumbles
- Trivia games: so many themes to choose from including art trivia, geography, political, celebrity, food, music, etc.
Resources for Activities for Seniors with Dementia:
Here is a great list of resources to help you get started.
Music therapy resources:
Art Therapy Resources:
- Senior Ark: Links and resources for all sorts of crafts
- Craft Bits: Craft ideas that are simple
Memory Games Resources:
- Senior Boutique: Tons of games for seniors
- AARP Online Games: The AARP has a lot of brain fitness games online
In addition to the resources above, adult day care is an excellent option that provides daily art, music and cognitive activities to seniors who have dementia and Alzheimers. Be sure to check out Sarahcare for more resource ideas.
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