Activities: Engagement help in dementia care  

By Stefanie Wardlow, Senior Program Manager, Alzheimer’s Association

A person living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia regardless of the stage can participate in and enjoy activities. Because the person with dementia may withdraw from activities they previously enjoyed, it is important to help with engagement. Having an open discussion around any concerns and making slight adjustments can make a difference. For example, a large social gathering may be overwhelming, but the person may be able to interact more successfully in smaller groups or one on one. Learn more about this topic

Remember that an active lifestyle can:  

  • Enhance self-esteem
  • Structure time
  • Provide a sense of engagement, usefulness, accomplishment and dignity
  • Create feelings of security and togetherness
  • Reduce behavior such as wandering

Art is certainly one type of activity to consider. To be successful, consider current abilities, preferences, and feasibility in their current living space. A professional artist might become frustrated over the declining quality of work, but an amateur might enjoy a new opportunity for self-expression. 

Consider music, a powerful tool that can improve mood throughout the lifespan. Music may reduce agitation and enhance positive behaviors. Music can even benefit a person in the later stages of the disease. Think about musical preferences from different time periods of your loved one’s life. For example, a person in the early stages may enjoy recent music. Once memories are lost, music from their past may be more engaging.  Learn more about art and music in dementia care

Further, for more activity ideas join ALZConnected, our message boards and online support community, where every day, caregivers like you share new ideas and encourage one another.

Or join a local support group, go to Community Resource Finder to find a group close to you.

10 Tips for Activities at Home

1. Be flexible and patient. 

2. Encourage involvement in daily life. 

3. Avoid correcting the person. 

4. Help the person remain as independent as possible. 

5. Offer opportunities to make choices. 

6. Simplify instructions. 

7. Establish a familiar routine. 

8. Respond to the person’s feelings. 

9. Simplify, structure and supervise. 

10. Provide encouragement and support.

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