How a few easy activities help people with Alzheimer’s disease
Did you know that people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia need not just a person to take care of them physically but also mentally?
We often do not think that when the label “incurable” is stuck, it does not mean that we can help only for basic needs (bathroom, toilet, eating and changing clothes, medication under the hour), until the inevitable. On the contrary, the right attitude and approach is to help a person live his life in the most complete way, despite the disease. That is, to provide him daily with an environment in which he can be active, both physically and mentally. Of course, in theory this seems easy but once an adult at home shows symptoms of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, we understand how important each detail is and how different the lives of people around should become.
A variety of activities not only stimulate the brain and help reduce “aimless wandering”, which is common in people with dementia but also increase mood and improve quality of life. That is why special programs and activities are organized in the homes for adults, where there is also memory care, which help to preserve the cognitive skills of the residents. Trained professionals encourage them to get involved in the activities in order to feel calm, to feel that they are achieving their goal and are in the right place without the perception that they are lost and do not know anyone.
However, what are the best activities for older people with dementia and how are they applied in centers or homes specializing in memory care? Here are a few that seem simple at first glance but are proven to work and that is why – applied to this day around the world.
Exercise offers a number of benefits to the body and mind, regardless of age. Regular physical activity helps to improve strength, endurance, coordination and balance. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which according to studies can prevent memory loss and have a positive effect on brain health, especially in people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. For older people with mild dementia, less strenuous daily physical activity such as walking, yoga or light weightlifting is recommended.
Arts and Crafts
Over time, Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can gradually afftect a person’s communication and language skills. However, research has found that creative activities such as painting, coloring, knitting and pottery provide an opportunity to express for those who have trouble communicating. Researchers believe that art “provides” patients with access to parts of the brain that language lacks and helps them share their thoughts and feelings in a whole new way. In addition, art is a powerful way to stimulate the senses, improve mood and reduce stress. These benefits provide an answer to the question why art therapy is extremely often and appropriately applied in homes with memory care.
Fitness for the brain
Puzzles, games and other similar activities are the so-called “Brain trainings”. They help to strengthen cognitive functions and progressively slow down age-related delayed movements and reactions. The social aspect is also important here – fun board games, dominoes or chess, for example, require the participation of more people, which also stimulates brain function.
Music is known for its calming function and ability to evoke memories. For decades, people have used music therapy to meet physical, mental and emotional needs. Studies at Stanford University have found that music stimulates areas of the brain that increases blood flow. Some adults who suffer from dementia and take part of music therapy show improvement in cognitive skills. That is why it is the basis of any program, organizing in homes with memory care – patients can get involved by listening to music, singing, clapping or playing instruments that at first glance seem simpler and more accessible, such as drums or tambourine.
As you can see, there are many stimulating activities and hobbies that can help improve the quality of life of adults with dementia. Of course, the best activities are those that bring pleasure or confidence. At Blocks, the Memory Care service offers activities and events that aim to help people with various forms of dementia by encouraging them in their hobbies.
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