Life is all about following and fostering your passions.
Whether you find your purpose teaching in the classroom, digging up dirt in the garden, or getting your hands dirty restoring an old car, our passions are what give us meaning and purpose and provide an overarching story to our lives.
This principle holds especially true amongst those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
While this condition can certainly impact one’s physical and cognitive abilities, this only increases the need to feel a sense of accomplishment each and every day.
Let’s learn all about the best activities for our loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease to provide them with the sense of meaning and purpose that they deserve.
Designing Activities For Alzheimer’s Patients
Humans find some of their most meaningful moments in accomplishing goals. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis doesn’t change that. However, it does mean you likely need to tailor your loved one’s activities to suit their needs.
Of course, every Alzheimer’s patient differs in their cognitive and physical abilities. Your loved one may easily be able to complete fine motor skills while struggling with abstract, cognitive tasks or vice versa. Think about what your loved one most enjoys doing and design their activities to revolve around their interests.
In general, the best activities for mid-stage or late Alzheimer’s patients are those that are fail-free. These are most likely to imbue a sense of purpose and accomplishment in your loved one while reducing potential frustration.
Keep in mind that it’s important to create truly meaningful activities for your older adult, not just ones that fill time. Brainstorm interests they had in the past while keeping in mind that their favorite pastimes may need to be altered for safety.
If your senior loved one struggles with an activity, take a break. Think of new ways the activity can be simplified to reduce frustration, and don’t be afraid to ask your loved one how the activity can be more enjoyable.
And if you’re worried or overwhelmed, remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to an Alzheimer’s support group to give yourself and your loved one the outlet you deserve.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some fail-free activities that are sure to provide a sense of meaning and purpose to the older adult in your life.
A general rule of thumb — During all activities, be sure to exclude any sharp objects. If your loved one is prone to swallowing small trinkets, find suitable, larger replacements.
1. Arts and Crafts
Visual expression is the perfect activity for people of all ages and abilities.
Not only do bright, vibrant colors radiate an innate sense of joy but the tactile sensations found in many arts and crafts can help your loved one reconnect with their sense of touch.
Help your older adult create a photo collage by giving them cut-outs from newspapers and magazines and offering them a safe adhesive to paste their photo patterns into a scrapbook. Look for photos that line up with your loved one’s interests, such as cars, books, or vintage fashion.
When they need a break from creating their collage, reminisce over some old photos and ask them what they remember from the photos within. Often, these helpful visual cues can be just the boost that Alzheimer’s patients need to reconnect with their past.
2. Sing Along to Their Favorite Music
There’s a reason we call songs “catchy.”
Some tracks can stick around in our minds for years or even decades. Often, they pop up at the strangest times to remind us that our brains are a little bigger than we thought.
That’s right. That annoying power-pop song you heard at 8 years old will likely still be with you at 80. Fortunately, that also means that soft folk song that always wets your eyes will be with you until the day you die.
It’s just a matter of finding it.
Fortunately, it’s never been easier to help your senior loved one reconnect with their love of music. Whether you need to blow off the dust on their old record collection or cue up a golden oldie on Spotify, your loved one will appreciate you playing one of their favorite tracks from yesteryear.
Dean Martin might have gently woken them up Sunday mornings. The Mamas and Papas might have kept them company while waiting for rush hour traffic to thin out. Freddie Mercury may have introduced them to the power of rock opera.
Whether your loved one prefers to sing along at full volume or gently nod their head in silence, music is a fantastic way to reconnect with our past.
3. Cook Up A Family Recipe
A decadent rice pudding. The rich, buttery crust of a classic blueberry pie. The savory, salty aroma of chicken noodle soup.
Even more than visuals, smells and tastes work wonders when it comes to accessing past emotions and memories. Why? Because scents are processed by the same parts of the brain that are responsible for memory formation.
A familiar scent or family recipe passed down through the generations can transport your loved one back to their childhood and help them reconnect with the golden moments of their past.
Taking proper safety considerations into account, invite your loved one into the kitchen and allow them to complete the simpler tasks of re-creating a family recipe. Ask them for suggestions on how to implement the finishing touches and nudge the new dish a bit closer to how they remember it.
If your loved one struggles with eating, be sure to serve them up an easy-to-eat treat like theEATBar. Uniquely designed for those with swallowing troubles, each EATBar bursts with sweet meringue flavor and a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth center that makes it a cinch to fall in love with eating over and over again.
Not only is each EATBar packed with mouthwatering flavor, but it’s also a tactile finger food that may be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Finger foods promote self-feeding and independence and can help remind your senior family member of their childhood.
Coated in bright, vibrant colors and tasting succulently sweet, theEATBar might be the perfect treat for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s
Of course, the association of smell with memory can be accessed outside of the kitchen. Daffodils might bring your grandmother back to her days outside gardening as a young girl. A fresh bag of roasted peanuts might transport your grandpa back to spring training days at the ballpark rooting for his local baseball team.
Sharing food is a great way for your loved ones to bond over their past and ensure their memories live on.
Foster A Life-Long Appreciation Of Food
We all benefit from a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. Those living with Alzheimer’s disease are no different.
While Alzheimer’s disease research may eventually discover better treatment or even a cure, the most we can do at the moment is to design each day to be as frustration-free as possible.
Help your loved one feel a sense of accomplishment every day by introducing them to fail-free activities tailored to their needs and interests. Create photo collages. Watch classic movies. And imbue new life into a classic recipe for the whole family to share.
If your loved one struggles to reconnect with their lifelong love of food, introduce them to theEATBar. Coming in four delicious flavors like dark chocolate and creamy strawberry, there’s a bar for everyone no matter their abilities or preferences.
Starting with a satisfying crunch and gradually morphing into a melt-in-your-mouth sweet treat, every EATBar transforms eating from a simple activity into a memory to cherish.
Be sure to browse our blog for more tips on caring for your loved ones and the importance of making each meal one to remember.
As an extra boost, use our discount code BLOG15 to receive 15% off your order at checkout!