When arranging for a loved one to visit a daycare program or transfer to a memory care community, many Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers feel guilty. While it is understandable that they would prefer to keep their family member at home, both of these environments offer life enrichment services that are specifically tailored to the needs of individuals with these diseases. Many of the components of these services can be delivered at home, but it will take a lot of time and effort.
Gone are the days when dementia patients’ therapies were exclusively based on their physical needs. These patients were essentially held in a warehouse until the end of their lives. However, we now know that daily exercise, social interaction, creative expression, learning opportunities, and spirituality services will help people with different neurodegenerative diseases.
All of these factors are prioritized by reputable care providers and hospitals in order to provide patients with the highest possible quality of life for as long as possible.
Mind and body exercises
Exercise is important for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. People who participate in daily physical activity are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help delay the disease’s progression. Exercising is also an excellent way to relax and de-stress.
Physical activity courses are often used in adult day programs and assisted living facilities. From a series of basic stretches and movements combined with breathing exercises to chair yoga, there are several options. This gentle seated yoga encourages both physical and mental well-being. Participants may either sit in a chair or stand by using the chair for support.
Exercise can also help with a variety of other aging-related health problems, such as improving muscle strength and cardiovascular health, as well as lowering the risk of falling. Staying involved also has psychological benefits such as improved mood, trust, and self-esteem.
If you’re a caregiver planning an in-home activity program for a loved one, try to choose one that you can engage in as well so you can enjoy the same benefits. Check with your loved one’s doctor to make sure the activities you want to do are safe and helpful to both your loved one and yourself.
Dining and cooking
Cooking and food preparation honor the enjoyment and satisfaction that can be found in preparing and sharing a meal. Food offers an opportunity for socialization and reminiscence about favorite meals, special events, and traditional recipes, in addition to the obvious value of nutrition for older people. It’s a fantastic way to awaken the senses.
Easy crafts like baking cookies or making lemonade are popular in day care centers and long-term care facilities. Some board and care homes allow residents to assist with meal preparation on a regular basis to the degree that they are willing. You may also modify some of your in-home cooking routines and recipes to allow for your loved one’s participation. Everyone likes to feel useful and have a sense of accomplishment.
Simple cooking projects and recipes are a great way to keep dementia patients interested and involved in their care. Not to mention, if a finicky eater is involved in the preparation of their snack or meal, they are more likely to eat well.
Expression of creativity
According to studies, people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias also have a burst of imagination. Activities involving artistic expression, such as painting, poetry, and music, celebrate and inspire creativity. Many adult day centers and care communities provide organized arts and crafts programs, as well as musical entertainment and poetry readings on a regular basis.
Many people with dementia have intact parts of their brains that process music, and their reactions to music can be very strong. Music is a common way to communicate with people who have trouble speaking or talking and to relax an agitated or confused loved one.
Opportunities for education
It was once thought that people with dementia couldn’t learn or remember anything. We now know that this is not the case, and that even the most forgetful people will benefit from learning. There are organizations like Active Minds that provide on-site teaching to senior communities on relevant, timely topics that can be tailored to each group. Other companies provide seniors with adaptive computer technology that can challenge and stimulate memory and learning through an easy-to-use interface. Other options for inspiring and educating your loved one include reading to them, offering audiobooks, or playing with specially made flash cards and other adapted educational equipment.
For different people, spirituality means different things. It’s a bond with God or a higher being for others. Others describe it as an awe-inspiring experience, requiring intense concentration or mental discipline. Having a way to communicate with the spiritual world will help an individual find inner peace as they go through life. Determine your loved one’s preferences and assist them in participating in life-affirming activities.
If you want to enrich your loved one’s life at home, or you’re thinking about adult day care or a memory care community, it’s important to know what services they have that are tailored to help people with dementia. These choices aren’t just for fun or as a way to pass the time. These services are specifically built to make our elderly loved ones feel useful and active in their communities. Matching your loved one’s needs and desires to available services will make you and your loved one feel secure in the care plan you chose.
The Right Choice for Dementia Care in Chicagoland
Looking for a live-in caregiver that provides dementia care? We have high-quality, affordable caregivers you can count on here at Right Choice Home & Dementia Care. We give full and free consultations to all who are interested in and in need of quality home care for their loved one. No question is too big or small. Make the Right Choice!