Keeping a parent with Alzheimer’s stimulated goes a long way in maintaining a good quality of life. Studies have shown that keeping seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia engaged leads to increased positive emotions, improved overall quality of life, a better attitude toward the disease, and a decrease in problem behaviors.
You’re never too old to have fun or go back to the activities that brought you joy in the past. Let’s take a look at 6 fun activities that can maintain a high quality of life for your senior parent with Alzheimer’s.
Gardening is a fantastic activity for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Not only does it provide mental stimulation, but it’s a great way to get some exercise and spend time outside, which all play a vital role in mitigating the effects of the disease.
Everything they do while gardening, whether it’s harvesting, digging, planting, or watering, will help them build muscle and reap the benefits of low impact exercise. And the best part is that they get to do it all outdoors, which is a natural de-stressor in itself.
Like any type of exercise, make sure your parent starts small and takes precautions. Begin with planting a flower bed or a few vegetables and go from there. Also, make sure you’re applying sunscreen, avoiding gardening when it’s too hot or cold, staying hydrated, and removing any trip hazards.
Familiar TV & Movies
Your aging parent’s favorite TV show or movie can be a great source of entertainment and joy at the end of the day. It’s also a great time for you to bond with your parent about something that they enjoyed when they were younger.
Pick something you know they’ve had a good time watching in the past and be present with them as they enjoy the film. Movies and shows are a great way to stay mentally engaged with a plot, character, or theme, and can be one way to support memory care.
When choosing a movie, make sure to pick one that’ll avoid frustration for your loved one. Shorter movies, simple narratives, positive plots, and movies they’re already familiar with can reduce the chance of getting confused and frustrated with the movie.
Brain Games & Puzzles
Brain games and puzzles can have a significant impact on working memory and executive function. Not to mention they’re pretty fun once you get sucked into one.
Depending on your parent’s cognitive ability, word games are a direct and stimulating way to improve memory and present manageable challenges to your loved one. Scrabble, Wordle, word searches, and easy crossword puzzles offer varying degrees of challenge depending on what they’re capable of.
Board games, card games, and jigsaw puzzles are a great way to keep your parent engaged while also bonding with them. All the games mentioned have been proven to help cognitive function and you can have fun with them as they improve their quality of life.
Low-stress exercise plays an important role in mitigating the effects of Alzheimer’s. A long walk in nature or just around the neighborhood can give your parent the exercise their body needs and offer the opportunity for stimulation from their surroundings.
Walking can also provide social interaction for your loved one. Observe the environment with them or try to organize walks with their friends and other family members for an added social benefit.
Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts give your parent the opportunity to express themselves, engage in a failure-free challenge, and provide tactile stimulation. It’s accessible to everyone and there’s an artistic activity for every stage of Alzheimer’s.
And according to the American Academy of Neurology, the risk of cognitive impairment is reduced for the elderly who participate in activities such as drawing, painting, coloring, journaling, and crafting. Have them pick up that paintbrush or pen and create whatever comes to mind.
It’s easy for your loved one to isolate themselves when they’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, isolation and a lack of social interaction can continue to cause harm to the brain and accelerate the negative effects of the disease. It’s important, especially early on, to encourage your parent to engage socially.
A study from 2018 found that loneliness and a lack of social interaction can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s while engaging in social activities can even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
A great way to keep them engaged in the early stages of Alzheimer’s is to set up a social calendar. Planning things in advance like a bingo night, lunches and dinners, social walks, or family gatherings are a great way to keep them on track with socializing.
Keeping a parent with Alzheimer’s engaged and stimulated can be a full-time job. If you need full-time care or just a few nights off a week, Golden Care can help you find the right fit for in-home care.
We bring expert care to the comfort of your loved one’s home. Contact us today for a free consultation.