Dementia affects millions of Americans but being diagnosed with dementia doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t need stimulation any more.
In fact, we’ve got some awesome hobbies for elderly folks with dementia that can help keep body, mind and soul active and which may even help slow down the progress of the dementia.
There’s no doubt that just plain old exercise done on a daily basis is an excellent activity for Alzheimer’s and Dementia sufferers.
It helps to make you more able to balance (and thus, less likely to fall), and it reduces stress hormones in the body (which may trigger episodes of deeper dementia) and helps you to sleep better too.
Even if the person who is doing the exercise doesn’t remember doing it – they still benefit from it, so there’s never a good time to stop exercising with dementia.
Arts & Crafts
Creating things, even the simplest of things, is a very human urge and someone with dementia may not remember much or be able to do much but they can probably hold a paint brush or scrunch up colored paper.
This kind of activity often requires the aid of a concerned relative or paid helper but it can be really helpful.
Try knitting, sculpting, painting, drawing, wood working, whatever they feel comfortable with and which brings out the most happiness for the individual.
Offer words of encouragement, but try not to take over the action, it’s important that the person builds something that they can feel proud of.
While it’s not a good idea to leave someone with dementia unattended in a kitchen because of the fire risks and burn risks and sharp edges, it’s fine to help them prepare a meal.
Not only will this give the person something fun to do, but at the end of the effort, there’s a tasty, healthy meal waiting and many people with dementia could use eating better meals.
Simple Games And Puzzles
Believe it or not, solving puzzles or doing simple games can be very good for people with dementia.
The activities seem to stimulate the formation of memories, improve mental capacity and even help to ensure better hand-eye coordination.
Sadly, they’re not going to be a cure for the condition, but they can help deliver real, measurable improvements on a day-to-day basis.
Just make sure that the games are simple enough not to cause frustration. You might even consider buying a Nintendo Wii.
There’s something truly primal about the human response to music and someone may be able to clap along or dance to music even if they struggle to remember where they are.
There is a lot of research that suggests that learning new music or new dance steps can help to form new connections in the mind and even people with very late stage dementia respond positively to the right tunes.
All you need to make this happen is a radio and a safe place where they won’t fall or bump into things and hurt themselves.
Spending Time In Nature
Going outdoors is a great way to stimulate all the senses and folks with dementia can really enjoy a walk in the park or a forest.
They may also, earlier in the progress of the disease, find that they really enjoy gardening and the feel of soil and plants in their hands.
Even sitting on a bench and feeding some birds can be a great way to pass some happy times in the world.
Another great way to help dementia patients feel in touch with the lives that they may not always remember is to get them to make a scrapbook of memories.
Conversations about times past can help strengthen memory connections and also bring you closer to the individual suffering from dementia.
Final Thoughts On Hobbies For Seniors With Dementia
Getting older isn’t easy and some health conditions can be distressing but that doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun.
All of these hobbies may be fun for seniors with dementia and they don’t require lots of money, just time and space to do them in.