To make a connection is important for the well being of people who have Alzheimer’s. Here we will present you 4 special activities that can engage and reach people at any level of the progression of the disease, even with those who are in the later stages and might no longer smile or talk, let alone recognize loved ones. Sometimes, the caregivers are amazed to discover that their loved persons can unexpectedly function at a higher level when involved in some types of activities.
When choosing an entertainment it is really important to select things that your loved ones enjoy and are able to do them at their stage of the disease. If you attempt to engage with those people with Alzheimer’s the way you did before they get the disease, you might end up disheartened, disappointed, and maybe depressed. Getting in touch with these people at their ongoing developmental level, however, can lead to sudden pleasure for both of you. Some special activities are guaranteed to reach the persons at all stages of this disease.
The 4 most usual are:
- Being visited by a pet,
- Being visited by a child,
- Observing or creating artwork,
- Listening to or performing music.
Let’s look at each activity individually:
- Being visited by a pet
The animals can often touch people who have Alzheimer’s more deeply than the people. According to the author of the post Marie Marley from Alzheimer’s Reading Room, her life partner, Ed, who developed Alzheimer’s usually ignored her completely whenever she took her Shih Tzu, Peter, to visit him. The man gave all of his attention to the dog.
She was reminded of a Alzheimer’s patient at a mid-stage at the facility where he lived who always had a blank expression on the face and never answered her greeting. She never heard her talk to anyone else. But, her eyes always lit up when she took Peter with me. The one day when she arrived without him, she spoke to her for the first time, asking “Where’s the dog?”
There was another incident with one Alzheimer’s patient at the late stage whose face Peter licked when she held him up for her to see. She told her Peter wasn’t usually doing that with people he didn’t know, and she said that “Dogs are very selective”. That was the first evident remark she had made for months.
- Being Visited by a Child
It is a well-known fact that kids can reach people who had dementia at a deep emotional level that grown persons often cannot. Blank stares might stay blank when an adult person enters the room, but when a kid comes in, those stares might turn to smiles, even for patients in the latest stage of this disease.
Kids can play with patients just like the adults can. If you need some particular ideas, check the Alzheimer’s Association website, where you can find a list of 101 things a child can do with patients who had Alzheimer’s.
Arranging for a loved grandchild or some other young child to visit might be just what the doctor directed.
- Observing or Creating Artwork
If your loved person is able to go out, one journey to the art museum can be very useful. Just looking at the art, much like listening to music, has been proven to calm the patients with dementia.
Also, working on art projects is an amazing activity for people with Alzheimer because it uses the part of the brain that is less damaged by the disease.
People living with Alzheimer’s can usually still create striking art work that permits them to show themselves and connect with their beloved, even when they can’t speak anymore.
You can arrange many types of art projects for your beloved. Usual activities include coloring with crayons, painting with water colors, molding objects out of clay or making scrapbooks.
- Listening to or Performing Music
The music has also power to reach the Alzheimer’s patient on a profound level. Also, it might have some positive effects on their social functioning and health.
After listening to music, some patients are clearly calmer, more outgoing and in a better mood than before, which improves the quality of life for the caregiver and the patient.
The music has even been discovered to help those patients with dementia retrieve some memories that their caregivers had pretended were lost forever.
Often times Alzheimer’s patients at later stage can sing songs, including the lyrics, long after they have lost the ability to identify loved ones, dress themselves, or remember what happened to them 5 minutes earlier. You might even discover that the music is the only thing to which some patients at the late stage will respond.
As with all of these activities mentioned here, it is really important for you to be part of the process by interacting with the patient and sitting beside during the process of creating art. So, there you have it, pets, children, art and music. Try them all. We hope that one or more of these activities will be rewarding to you and your beloved in some way.
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