Engaging Activities for Seniors in Memory Care
Families want the best for their senior loved ones, especially those battling debilitating illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
As much as loved ones want to care for their dementia-ridden senior, they will eventually need to get the help of professionals if they want to win this battle.
Fortunately, you can easily access professional help by putting your loved one into the expert caregiving hands of a memory care facility.
Memory care services specialize in providing long-term senior care for older adults experiencing life pains due to dementia. In here, seniors get top-quality memory care services like:
- Assistance with daily living activities (e.g., bathing, dressing)
- Help with home maintenance and housekeeping.
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Provision of continuing care
- Provision of healthcare needs like therapy sessions and medication management.
- Safety and security
But one of the most enriching services they provide–not to mention a crowd favorite of the residents–is the engaging activities they prepare for seniors every month.
Memory care facilities know that medical interventions alone will never be enough to combat the symptoms of dementia. They need an enriching activity that can improve their health, and eventually, their quality of life.
If you plan on moving your loved one into a facility, here’s a sneak peek of some of the best activities they provide in memory care services. You can also introduce these hobbies to your senior loved one on your own if you plan to be their caregiver.
There is no activity more engaging and fun-filled than an exciting line-up of physical activities!
Memory care services include physical activities like walking, dancing, and mild stretching as part of each residents’ needs. They incorporate it in the list of monthly activities they plan for each month.
No matter what form, these exercises allow seniors to remain physically healthy despite their brain disorder. It also helps set their mood for the entire day, changing it to become positive and pleasant.
Furthermore, a simple exercise activity like walking outside lets seniors enjoy the sunny outdoors and stimulate their senses in the process.
Like exercise, the mind also needs its own workout sessions in the form of mind-stimulating activities.
Studies suggest that stimulating the brain can help slow down the progression of dementia symptoms and even stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain activity is also essential in improving the brain’s health and ensuring that its cognitive function remains intact. Some of the best forms of activities to enhance the mind’s ability include:
- Crosswords, puzzles, and card games (e.g., sudoku, a game of hearts, or bridge).
- Board games like Scrabble or games of the generals.
- Technology-based games
- Reading books published explicitly for a dementia patient.
- Writing in journals or keeping a diary.
- Taking a class
- Engaging in music or playing an instrument
Caregivers let seniors have the freedom to choose which activities they like to take on. They guide older adults until they get the hang of it.
Seniors in the middle to late stages of dementia are encouraged to start with activities fit to their retained ability. This allows them to gain self-confidence and feel a semblance of independence. After all, the purpose of these activities is to gain enjoyment rather than achievement.
This is another type of mind-stimulating activity focused on evoking good memories and positive emotions.
Caregivers or family members can do reminiscence activities with photos, videos, songs, or a familiar place. Some of the fulfilling activities you can do include:
- Making a scrapbook of your loved one’s old photos.
- Collaging pictures and making a timeline of their life.
- Watching old family videos.
- Going to sentimental places and telling each other’s favorite stories.
- Re-reading old love letters.
- Cooking a traditional family recipe
These activities stimulate happy memories and meaningful conversations that can bring joy to your senior loved one. They may find it hard to remember recent stuff, but their long-term memory is still intact.
Dementia patients often experience a hard time socializing with other people. It can be due to their impaired ability to communicate and difficulty in remembering things. Patients can become frustrated with their situation, thus resorting to social withdrawal and isolation.
Fortunately, memory care services provide all these engaging activities not only to have something productive to do but also to stimulate socialization from their residents.
Doing these activities allows them to interact with other seniors, chat with family members, and even get to know several of the staff and caregivers.
Let socialization be natural by allowing your loved ones to join in activities that pique their interest. It will also help if you introduce them to a small number of people first while maintaining a calm setting.
Arts and Crafts
For seniors who love dabbling in arts and crafts, memory care services have plenty of activities ready for the artsy senior–from simple fabric cutting for beginners to painting on canvases for the experienced ones.
Some of the activities that can improve their physical and mental being include:
- Painting and drawing using different mediums like charcoal and acrylic paints.
- Singing or making sounds.
- Knitting and crocheting
- Cutting pictures and making a scrapbook.
- Making holiday cards for loved ones
Other memory care communities even have art therapists that go the extra mile of using techniques to encourage seniors to express themselves. Thus, improving their behavior and attitude towards life.
Encouraging seniors and guiding them to do everyday tasks help re-establish their self-confidence, dignity, and independence.
Many seniors experience difficulty in doing daily living activities. But allowing them to do a small part of it (e.g., sorting their clothes, helping to set the table) makes them feel productive and joyful for the task they managed to contribute.
Just make sure to allocate tasks that they can handle without endangering others or themselves. This includes:
- Washing vegetables or mixing ingredients.
- Wiping plates or dusty walls.
- Sorting socks by pairs.
- Choosing what clothes they want to wear for the day.
- Organizing small items in the house.
- Watering small plants.
Either assist them or discreetly keep your eye on them while doing their assigned chores.