Finding activities that are fun and engaging for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge. Add in vision impairment, and it might seem extremely daunting. Even so, it is very important to ensure every day holds possibilities for purpose, joy, and meaning – decreasing the level of agitation, frustration, and other challenging behaviors and emotions in dementia. For seniors with low vision and Alzheimer’s, engaging activities are an essential component of health and wellbeing.
First consider the older adult’s current and past interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. Then brainstorm ways to tap into those preferences. We have put together some ideas to help you get started:
- Come up with a playlist of the older adult’s favorite songs or genre of music, and then sing along, dance, keep the beat with a tambourine or simply a sealed container of dried beans and rice. Reminisce about memories the songs evoke.
- Read aloud, choosing articles or stories that are easy to follow and on topics which are interesting for the senior. For instance, a sports fan may enjoy hearing an update on his or her favorite teams and players, and then discussing highlights from the past as well.
- Get moving for increased circulation and muscle tone, as well as to help encourage daytime wakefulness and improved nighttime sleeping. If weather permits, exercising outdoors is a wonderful option to add in vitamin D and fresh air. Seniors with low vision and Alzheimer’s can still enjoy walks in nature. Try pointing out the particular birds, flowers, and trees that you pass along the way.
- Experiment with a variety of tactile art mediums which can be manipulated without the use of vision, such as sculpting sand or clay. Or try creating a 3-D work of art by gluing shells, buttons, dried pasta, etc. into a shape or pattern.
- Include a senior loved one in ability-appropriate tasks around the house. Food preparation offers many different options, such as washing and tearing lettuce for a salad, peeling and breaking apart oranges or bananas, and mixing ingredients for a cake. Or ask the senior to help with folding laundry or sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
- Try pet therapy. Specially trained pet therapists can provide a safe, trusted dog or cat for the senior to pet or hold. While this might seem simplistic, the joy and relaxing effects of spending some time with an animal can be significant.
The CareWorks Health Services caregivers are highly-skilled when it comes to engaging seniors of any ability level to help make everyday life more fulfilling. We offer customizable Huntington Beach senior services, including companion care, special needs care, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (949) 859-4700 to hear more! For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.