Providing engagement for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s can assist in delaying the progression of the disease, and has even been linked to decreased incidence of depression. Unfortunately, for new and inexperienced caregivers, encouraging a loved one with Alzheimer’s to engage in activities can be difficult. It is important to know that while new activities may be met with resistance, there are a few simple tips that can help make a difference.
Sparking the Interest
Family caregivers often select activities that offer the most cognitive benefits, hoping to stimulate the mind. However, this may not always be the best approach. Sparking the interest of an Alzheimer’s patient is most easily done by selecting activities that he or she personally enjoyed in the past. If the senior once loved to be outdoors, gardening may be a great pastime. Perhaps they enjoyed reading in their spare time; listening to audio books is a simple alternative which can help stimulate cognitive functioning while bringing a smile to their face. Seniors are more likely to stay engaged with an activity that they truly enjoy.
Side effects of Alzheimer’s include apprehension and confusion which can make participation in an activity difficult, even if they are interested. One easy way to encourage their participation is to partake in the activity as well. Often times, Alzheimer’s patients base their actions on the actions of individuals they trust. Dive into the proposed activity yourself with a positive attitude, a smile and encouraging words. These verbal and non-verbal cues can help eliminate your loved one’s anxieties, showing them that the activity is safe. By giving them this sense of security, you create a model of what to do and they’ll likely be more inclined to follow.
Dealing with Resistance
As previously mentioned, family caregivers may be met with resistance. When dealing with this, it is important to not only look at the specific engagement activity, but the timing of when the activity is done. Choose to start activities during the time of day when your loved one is most receptive, which for many Alzheimer’s patients is in the middle of the day. If problems with sundowning are common, starting an activity in the late evening may cause increased agitation and frustration. It can also help to slowly introduce the activity into your loved one’s routine. It may take multiple attempts before they feel comfortable participating.
If you are having trouble managing the care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s with your other responsibilities, consider help from Home Care Assistance. Proudly serving seniors and families in Denton and Collin Counties, our caregivers offer quality care for Alzheimer’s patients and provide families with a renewed sense of peace and comfort. Learn more about our Denton and Collin County Alzheimer’s care services or contact us directly at 972-468-6010.