There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common type. Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. If you are caring for someone who has dementia, introducing activities, whether independent or group activities, can lead to a happier and healthier life.
In this blog, we will be covering a range of activities that can support your loved one or service user when living with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Music has been proven to be a powerful connector, with studies showing that music accesses a different part of the brain to language, whilst reducing anxiety and depression. People who have been diagnosed with dementia engage with music, even if they no longer respond to words.
Playing music that can either take them back in time, or soothe and relax can create an emotional reaction. Starting slow with gentle music, along with looking for negative reactions should both be points to look for when engaging with this activity.
Activities to improve memory
Simple daily activities create pattern and routine that also promote person-centred care and independence. These are activities that your loved one or the service user can also look forward to with a better understanding of time and date, leading to improve their quality of life.
If physical ability is not an issue, these simple activities can have a very positive effect:
- Making their bed in the morning
- Choosing the clothes for the day
- Putting on their clothes
- Let them set the table for breakfast, lunches or dinner, etc
- Involve them on planning their meals
- Separating whites and coloured clothes for the laundry
- Let them decide on what type of music to listen to
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
A programme that is often done weekly, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy focuses on group involvement and is extremely easy to adapt to different cultures making it a very popular and enjoyable game. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy helps with stimulating cognition and qualitative life as well as improving memory.
A game-like format with activities that can be tailored, including:
- Discussions involving debate
- Word games
- Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts are particularly valuable for people living with dementia or Alzhiemer’s, as they help stimulate the brain in a range of ways. With studies showing that arts and crafts boost cognitive function in various areas of the brain, it can enhance function, communication and social interaction in people with dementia. Activities may include:
- Gardening and flower arrangement
- Creating greeting cards
- Community art projects
As well as the mental benefits of arts and crafts, they also can boost physical movement and strength, improving mood and general wellbeing.
Improving memory and training the brain are both benefits of reading. Also, stimulating parts of the brain that encourage imagination can further lead to more increased general activity. Studies have shown that people who are mentally active are less likely to decline cognitively as they age.
Interacting with other people and service users is like exercise for the brain, ranging from simple conversation to exploring different topics. It has also been proven that interacting socially with friends and family can boost self-esteem leading to more exercise and better sleep.
Physical exercise can be a fantastic way to improve wellbeing and anxiety. With the most important aspect for finding activities that not only are tailored to them, but also are safe for them to participate in.
Reducing pain and fall risk, along with improving sleep and flexibility are also some of the many benefits, with activities ranging from:
- Light exercise
- Stretches and strength exercises
Activities for dementia
Understanding what makes the person unique can help you plan suitable activities for them. Activities will often need to be simplified and are more likely to focus on the 5 senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
Activities can help people living with dementia with things from creating routine, to achieving a sense of purpose. If you or your team need support and training in recognising and dealing with safeguarding concerns, please contact us and we can discuss your training needs and available funding.