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10 Brain-Stimulating Activities for a Loved One with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, they may face challenges every day. They may not be able to communicate as well as they used to or feel comfortable engaging in social activities. However, participating in activities with your loved one can be extremely beneficial. Research shows that spending time with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias creates a lasting, positive impact. With different brain-stimulating activities, you can help improve the life of your loved one.
1. Go outdoors. Take a walk, garden, go to the park, or play catch. Those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia often suffer from depression, high-stress, and agitation. Going outside can enhance mood and lower stress levels.
2. Play games. Board games or puzzles are fun for everyone and help keep the mind sharp, even with memory loss. If you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of free online activities you can try.
3. Listen to some of their favorite music. Music has been found to have many benefits for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Listening to songs they know can relieve stress and reduce anxiety, depression, and agitation.
4. Do something personal. You can brush their hair, encourage them to talk about subjects they enjoy, or make a collage. This can help create a positive emotional connection with your loved one.
5. Spend time in the kitchen. Whether you make simple recipes together or have them wash dishes or set the table, following a routine can benefit those with dementia. These types of activities can reduce stress and anxiety because they are familiar and can help them retain their sense of independence.
6. Read. Reading stimulates the brain and helps improve memory and thinking skills. Have your loved one read you a few pages from their favorite book, or an article from a magazine they enjoy.
7. Organize household items. This could mean a closet, pantry, office, or even a drawer. By organizing items, your loved one can reduce aggression, restlessness, and agitation.
8. Get some exercise. Physical activity helps maintain blood flow to the brain. Walking, swimming, doing yoga, or dancing are all ways you can help your loved one stay active.
9. Look at family photos. Physical aids like photos can help stimulate memories for those with dementia. Try labeling the photos to allow for a mental connection for your loved one.
10. Clean around the house. You don’t have to do anything too intense, but tasks like sweeping, wiping the table, or folding towels can help your loved one feel a sense of accomplishment.
Choose activities for your loved one based on their mood, interest, and ability. If your loved one resists, don’t push them. Choose a different activity or try again another day.