By: Cacey Armstrong (LSW, Memory Care Case Manager)
Dementia can cause our loved ones to withdraw from their everyday activities. It is important to maintain their relationships and previous daily activities. Why you ask, because someone who has dementia or memory loss can find many benefits in activities.
- Activities are good for mental stimulation. It is great to keep their minds busy because a lot of people who have dementia realize that they are forgetful.
- It lowers anxiety. Forgetting things consistently can cause high anxiety when they are not focused on what they are forgetting they have a lower anxiety level.
- Improved self-esteem and decreased depression, they feel welcome and have support from not only their relationships.
- Activities help increase healthy social interaction. Socially isolating someone with memory loss will only increase their depression and anxiety.
- Some studies show activities help their sleeping habits too.
Maybe you’re confused as to how to put activities into our loved one’s life that has memory loss. Activities are not as hard as they may seem! They can be everyday life skills. Some examples are activities are as follows:
- Exercise (can be a chair yoga series or something as easy as going for a walk)
- One-on-one (Talk about the past, show older photo albums, create a memory box)
- Cleaning, this may not seem like an activity but it is far more popular than you would think, they feel helpful and these aren’t tasks they usually forget how to do (sweeping, dishes, folding laundry, etc.)
- Group Activities (Bingo, UNO, music (listening or singing), reading a story, trivia, telling jokes, pet therapy (any animal that is friendly enough to visit works!))
Activities are great for everyone involved. They especially benefit the loved one dealing with memory loss. It can also give the caretaker some time to enjoy the loved one instead of trying to help them cope with their anxiety or depression. Activities are a healthy way to improve mood, behavior, and sleeping patterns rather than resorting to medications. Always remember, the loved one may feel down after the activity is over with but focus on how the loved one felt during that activity. The important part of activities is not always the end goal but the process.