Activities to help a loved one with dementia stay focused and engaged
Memory problems can have a devastating impact on a person’s confidence. Frustration, loss of motivation and anxiousness - all common symptoms of dementia- can all too quickly lead to people withdrawing from activities and social groups they previously enjoyed.
Yet it is at exactly this point, when dementia symptoms take hold, that social engagement and activities to stimulate both mind and body become more important than ever to keep life purposeful and ward off depression.
Choosing dementia friendly activities
Start by having a chat about your loved one’s concerns. What is it they find difficult or stressful? Most activities can be modified to make them accessible in some shape or form once you know what the problems are.
Even small adjustments can make a big difference. Large social gatherings with a lot of background noise are often overwhelming for instance, but meeting smaller groups of friends in quieter surroundings can easily make things much more enjoyable.
Use the following tips to help find activities that will be dementia friendly and fun:
1. Focus on enjoyment, not achievement
A good place to start could be with activities you know the person enjoys and which make use of existing skills and talents. The emphasis here needs to be on getting involved and having fun so that frustration doesn’t creep in if the person feels their abilities are declining.
2. Encourage involvement in daily life
Build familiar, repetitive tasks into the daily routine. Simple things like setting the table, or sweeping the floor can provide a sense of achievement and help an individual feel like a valued part of the household.
3. Don’t be afraid to try new activities
Even if the person has never showed any great interest in a particular activity before doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it now. Activities based around reminiscence, gentle exercise or a sensory response can be surprisingly enjoyable.
4. Relate activities to past work life
A former office worker might enjoy tasks that involve organisation - like sorting coins into a holder, or a farmer might like getting outside and working in the garden.
5. Consider possible physical problems
Try to make adjustments to tackle any physical problems that may make it harder to join in. New glasses, hearing aids or simply shortening the session if concentration levels are limited can all make a big difference.
6. Consider the time of day and the person’s mood
Take account of when the person seems happy, anxious, distracted or anxious and try to time activities to the part of the day when they are likely to be most responsive.
Can specialist dementia care homes help to keep people engaged?
Care homes that specialise in dementia care are experts in providing a stimulating environment to help people stay focussed and engaged for as long as possible.
Dementia friendly activities and therapies will be on hand, and the carefully designed rooms with adapted equipment can help people to access and enjoy activities more easily.
Here at Quarry Mount our Activities Coordinator devises a whole range of innovative and stimulating activities specially designed to help those with dementia live a fulfilling and rewarding life.
So whether it’s interacting with animals, experiencing nature, gardening in our secure garden, visiting interesting places, singing along in our regular sing-songs, taking part in various crafts and games or enjoying our visiting entertainers there is always something going on to stimulate and engage.
Quarry Mount is a dementia specialist care home in Swindon with a strong sense of community and a truly welcoming atmosphere. The home has been carefully adapted to meet the needs of those living with dementia so to find out more about the services we offer, please give us a call on 01793 250455 to arrange a visit.