Activities to Engage Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

Some advise from David Troxel about AlActivities to Engage Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia

David Troxel is an internationally known expert in Alzheimer’s disease and memory care. He has worked for over 25 years in the Alzheimer’s care field developing and teaching care techniques as a consultant, writer and speaker. He co-authored the book The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care, along with many other influential books and resources relating to Alzheimer’s care and training.

The main challenge many family caregivers face when trying to keep their loved one active and engaged.

“When someone has dementia, they often lose the ability to initiate. We have to be their “Start Button.”

Have you noticed this with your loved one? Have they lost their Start Button? If you’ve experienced this issue, here are some ideas for activities that can help a loved one with dementia:

Exercise and Fitness – Walking, chair exercises, dance, chair yoga, and stretching are all very important for people with dementia. In fact periods of exercise twice a day can make a difference.

Music – Music and song lyrics live in a different part of the brain than words and language. Have you ever noticed how many elders even with declining language skills can still sing every old song?

You can use music with your loved one by listening to old songs, going to concerts, or watching a movie musical on DVD (If you hit the closed caption button on your DVD player you will see the subtitles and have an instant sing along).

Simple Chores – Folding clothes, sweeping, dusting, or drying dishes is an easy way to engage participation.

Being Outside – Enjoy time outside on the patio, do some simple gardening or take a walk. You also get natural vitamin D exposure and are allowing yourself to have time for reflection and sensory connection with nature.

Enjoy Your Community – Take a trip to the local museum off hours, go to neighbourhood youth softball games, or visit a local nursery to pick out some rose plants. Don’t become isolated.

Reminisce – Your house is full of interesting mementos from the past. Your family member may be able to share memories, stories, photo albums, scrapbooks or heirlooms and tell you about an object’s special history or meaning.