As part of our recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, we want to provide tips to help those wonderful people caring for loved ones with the disease.
Are you a caregiver of a senior loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease?
Are there some days when the frustration of entertaining your senior makes you want to pull your hair out?
We have all been there and know that focusing their attention on a task that sparks their interest can really make the day go more smoothly.
Activities that Many Seniors Love!
- Plant a small garden: one that can be enjoyed more than one time, you will be able to water the plants together, watch them grow and harvest a treat! Try an herb garden using small pots, plant a window garden with flowers you can cut, plant some favorites in pots that you can keep on the porch and watch grow everyday. You may even be able to spot some bugs or butterflies enjoying your plants too and can start a conversation about that.
- Have fun with memory games: play a game anywhere that involves completing the sentence such as “a stitch in time….saves nine”, “a bird in the hand…is worth two in the bush”; play the game memory using a simple deck of cards where you have to turnover number or face card matches or with the board game Original Memory ; try games in this book: Keep Your Brain Alive; try this book: Brainfit: 10 Minutes a Day for a Sharper Mind & Memory (each of these available at a low price on Amazon.com).
- Give your senior a hand massage using her favorite smelling lotion or give him a foot massage and apply a moisturizing lotion. Play some relaxing music to set the mood.
- Make lemonade, squeeze your own lemons. Have your senior measure all the ingredients and pick a favorite pitcher and glasses. Talk about when your senior was a kid and had a lemonade stand or when they helped you set up a lemonade stand. How much did a glass cost back then? Create a stand in the kitchen for family and friends.
- Feed the birds in your yard, neighborhood or go to the nearest pond and feed the ducks some old bread crusts.
- Rake leaves in the autumn then have a cup of hot chocolate. Play in the leaves if desired!
- Set a fancy table with linen and china. Invite a few friends or family members for a meal.
- Go on a picnic to your own backyard or a nearby park. Pack a picnic basket with some favorite pick up foods.
- Make a scrapbook using old family photos and colorful paper or jot down your family tree. Use it as a time to allow your senior to reminisce about family loved ones, they may tell you a story you never heard before (it doesn’t matter if it isn’t real).
- Fold laundry together.
- Cut out shapes from the newspaper, magazines or construction paper. You can also use old wrapping paper with pictures. Make a paper chain with scraps.
- Make a daisy crown from flowers you pick around your neighborhood or in the park.
- Arrange flowers in a vase, make a bouquet from wildflowers you pick together.
- Take a nature walk. Talk about what you see, pick up interesting objects to save for future projects. Watch the birds, see how many you can name.
- Decorate cookies, cupcakes or a cake. Buy refrigerator cookies or a pound cake from the bakery so it is not too much trouble for you. If you can, bake with your senior in the morning and decorate in the afternoon.
- Read a favorite story or chapter from a favorite book aloud. Read bible scriptures together. Find a sunny spot to share the moment.
- Sing songs or listen to music together. Dance to the beat!
- Make funny faces at each other and smile, smile, smile!
These activities might sound like a lot of work to add to your already busy day, but a little planning with some help from friends and family members can make a big difference. Enlist your family, give them one of the items on the list for them to do and giving you a day off to recuperate!
Being a caregiver is a true calling. We hope these suggestions will add to your joy. If you have more suggestions and ideas to share with others, we would love to hear them and try them out!