Staying active, both mentally and physically, keeps us happy, healthy and young at heart. If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, this is true for them as well. Although your loved one may no longer be able to do some of their once-favorite activities, there are ways to adapt their interests into something that is easy to enjoy. “Most people with memory illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia live ten or more years following their diagnosis,” says Winsome McLeod, Executive Director at YourLife™ of Stuart, a new Memory care community in Stuart, FL.“That’s 10 plus years where happy memories can still be made and enjoyed. Sadly, many seniors with memory issues have seven or eight hours of leisure time a day. That’s a lot of free time, and if it isn’t filled with meaningful activities, it can cause health and behavioral issues and generally reduce their quality of life.” “At YourLife™ of Stuart, our purpose is to help our residents remain active and enjoy life to the fullest,” says McLeod. “We work together with family members and the residents themselves to create personalized care plans that are filled with activities that promote dignity and encourage self-esteem. As our residents participate in their hobbies, they feel connected to the world around them. It doesn’t matter how complicated or simple the activities are. What’s most important is that they spark inspiration.”
The Benefits of Hobbies, Activities and Passions
Finding activities that Alzheimer’s patients enjoy helps them remain active socially, physically and mentally. There is a variety of other benefits as well, including:
- A greater sense of independence and confidence
- Existing skills remain longer and decline at a slower rate
- Experiencing a greater sense of self-worth
- Reducing risk of stress, depression and anxiety
- Encouraging social interaction and meaningful relationships
- Improving physical health
- Reducing challenging behaviors such as agitation, aggression and shadowing
7 Engaging Hobbies for Individuals With Alzheimer’s
- Daily Exercise It’s a well-known fact that staying active is beneficial for everyone, no matter how old or young they are. Exercise helps improve balance, stimulate circulation, encourage flexibility and build strength. It can help individuals with Alzheimer’s lessen the risk of falls, reduce stress and encourage better sleep. Best of all, even if your loved one doesn’t remember doing the exercises, they will still reap the benefits. Simple exercises such as taking a walk, gardening or swimming are great full-body activities that can be done daily.
- Arts and Crafts Creative pastimes are some of the most common forms of activities you’ll find at senior centers and communities. They give individuals the joy of creating something and, best of all, don’t have to be long and complicated. Simple knitting projects, painting with watercolors, sculpting with clay or even wood-working can create some amazing results. The most important part for caretakers is to be interested in the process and help prompt or encourage next steps if the individual gets stuck or frustrated.
- Cooking Many people have fond memories of cooking with friends and loved ones over the years. It’s a great activity to connect with others, and it also has the added benefit of helping people with dementia eat better. What’s more rewarding than sitting down to a meal that you helped create? It also encourages socialization, teamwork and a sense of problem solving. While complicated recipes are usually a no-go, most individuals with dementia can help with smaller tasks, like mixing ingredients or setting the table.
- Puzzles and Games Games are some of the best activities for Alzheimer’s patients. There is a wide variety of games and puzzles that can help encourage memories, strengthen mental capacity, enhance hand-eye coordination, use association to forge mental connections and more. Playing games together is also fun and encourages socialization. Choose activities that aren’t too childlike, but aren’t overly frustrating. For example, jigsaw puzzles with large pieces or simple card games like Go Fish are excellent options. These days, there are also hundreds of electronic games and apps that can be played with the wave of a hand or the touch of a button. Nintendo Wii provides physical activity without being too strenuous, and electronic puzzles provide entertainment without having to worry about losing pieces.
- Music and Dancing Music truly is a universal language. It’s something we’ve participated in and enjoyed for our entire lives. For individuals with Alzheimer’s, music can also affect the brain by forming connections and sparking interaction. There have been many studies done showing how favorite melodies and music can help reach dementia patients, even if they’re in the late stages of the disease. Music is incredibly easy to incorporate into a person’s daily life, whether that’s through singalongs or an impromptu dance party. Simply turn on the radio and watch the magic start happening.
- Spending Time Outdoors Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are still able to enjoy the beauty of nature, and there are many outdoor activities they can participate in. Gardening is a great activity because of the tactile nature and simple tasks involved. Taking a stroll through the woods can be a delight for the senses. And watching the birds at the feeder can spark delight and be a quiet source of entertainment.
- Scrapbooking Reminiscing over old pictures can spark memories from long ago. In fact, individuals with Alzheimer’s often can remember events from decades ago with startling clarity. Scrapbooking with old family photos is a fantastic way to stimulate memory and preserve family history. You can also simply look through old photo books with your loved one and encourage them to talk about the individuals and events in the pictures.
At YourLife™ of Stuart, we invite you to live your life just as you choose. For more information, please contact our staff at 772-207-4191. We’d be delighted to see how our Memory Care community can cater to your or your loved one’s needs.
Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Stuart was created with one purpose – to provide the most exceptional memory care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. As memory care specialists, we focus all our energy, attention and resources on creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families. Because memory care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We see each resident as an individual, understanding that everyone has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities. With that information, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence. Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection. Through our signature programming, YourStory, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and health and wellness programming, scheduled outings and other special events to personal care, assistance and multiple therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Stuart, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more!