Thursday, January 29, 2015

These Stimulating Activities For Alzheimer Patients Can Help Them Stay Involved And Active

By Janine Hughes

Alzheimer's disease affects the memory, behavior, and thinking processes of those afflicted with it. It is the most common form of dementia, which unfortunately cannot be stopped from advancing, however its effects can be minimized with some stimulating activities for Alzheimer patients. Meaningful, thought-provoking, and comforting activities help these people maintain relationships and a sense of identity.

When patients are encouraged to take part in various activities, it can help stir up pleasant memories, build closeness with others, and give them a feeling of belonging and usefulness. This approach counteracts the sense of isolation which can result from dementia, and helps bring happiness and the ability to take pride in one's accomplishments back into the person's life.

Every patient is an individual with his or her own unique interests and skills which caregivers need to determine in order to select suitable activities for the person to participate in. The goal is to keep them occupied and make it fun, so they don't feel sad or bored. Some people have a particular time of day during which they respond most favorably, and they may prefer certain activities, these factors can be used to make a schedule for them.

Any hobbies the patient used to enjoy before they developed dementia may once again bring joy to him or her if reintroduced in a basic form. The familiar actions can spark memories in the patient, reminding him or her of their love for this activity. Getting outdoors for some exercise can benefit most patients, whether its for a nature walk, or therapeutic activity such a swimming, yoga, or Tai Chi. The boost in endorphins will naturally lift one's spirit.

Sorting, matching, and naming games can also be fun for the patient, and they help strengthen cognitive thinking. Examples include putting name signs on assorted items, preferably those which have special meaning to the patient, categorizing objects, assembling photos cut into puzzles, searching for products in a store featured on coupons, and even a simple game of catch with a large, soft ball.

Helping patients feel that they are needed and helpful can do a lot for their sense of self-worth. If they are assigned basic household tasks each day such as assisting with meal preparation, sweeping, washing dishes, or folding linens, it can help them feel as though they are a valued team member. This concept can also be taken a step further by having the person help with a canned good or toy drive for the needy.

Patients may also enjoy reminiscing about the past by looking at old photos or items of sentimental value to them, or by recording into a book a collection of stories from their younger years. This helps them remember who they are and where they have come from. Many will respond favorably to music from their past if it is played for them, by singing along or dancing.

Pets can add a lot of happiness to the lives of patients; whether it's the affection shown by a friendly dog or cat, or simply watching the antics and bright colors of fish in an aquarium or caged birds. Alzheimer's disease doesn't impair the senses, and most patients also enjoy a relaxing massage with lotion, shave, or a manicure and pedicure.

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