For those living with Memory Loss either at home, in a long-term care home in Burlington, or at a Memory Care facility/environment, it is important to retain regular movement and stimulate the mind. Activities such as puzzles, games, crafts, exercise, and gardening are just several of the daily tasks that should be encouraged.
As each day presents different scenarios, challenges, and new opportunities for the person living with Memory Loss, the activities need to be flexible. All programs and activities should focus on being failure-free and success-oriented. The chosen activity should be entertaining while stimulating. If the person living with Memory Loss becomes overly frustrated, consider moving on to a more success-oriented activity. Taking a break from the task at-hand can diffuse a negative situation and adjust the current mood.
Below we list some great activities for people living with Memory Loss.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Physical activity is important for the physical and mental well-being of everyone, especially for those living with dementia or receiving Alzheimer’s Memory Care. With any level of Memory Loss, there can be sleeplessness, restlessness, and signs of depression. Participating in regular exercise on a daily basis can improve sleep patterns and work as a mood booster. It can also increase blood flow to the brain.
Art & Creative Classes
Did you know that arts and crafts classes are used by Memory Care therapists to encourage sensory stimulation? Painting, colouring, knitting, and using craft materials offer an outlet for people living with Memory Loss to express their thoughts and feelings in tangible ways. These activities are useful in times where the vocabulary is limited or at a loss.
Simple One-Step Activities
Everyone loves a competitive game from time to time. It is recommended when you participate in a game with a person living with Memory Loss that you focus on games that have only one or two steps. Cottage games like Cornhole, Frisbee Toss and Lawn Bowling to name a few that are simple adult games. They are fun, interactive, social, provide light fitness and are easy to follow so that the person receiving Demetia Memory Care can always be included and follow along without frustration or embarrassment.
An herb garden can be started as a small hobby and grow as the person living with Memory Loss becomes enthralled with the daily care of the plants. This type of garden is perfect for those who may not be able to get outside easily to tend to an in-ground garden. Set up the herb plants on the kitchen windowsill or create a mini, indoor garden at a manageable level for the person.
Puzzles & Word Games
One of the best therapies for those living with Memory Loss is enjoying simple puzzles and word games. Using their brain power while having fun is a productive way to spend time. Most puzzles and word games can be easily manipulated to match the ability of the person living with Memory Loss.
Bake or Cook
The aroma of fresh baked goods and savoury dishes can bring back memories of times spent with loved ones in the kitchen. People living with Memory Loss rely on performing tasks that bring joy and allow for them to display their abilities. There may be some kitchen duties that require assistance or control by a support person for safety reasons, but by allowing the person with Memory Loss to do as much as they are comfortable with can encourage stimulation and enjoyment.
Clean Around the House
Having a sense of normalcy or purpose can help those living with Memory Loss and a regular routine can support their need for daily activities. Limit the activities to ones the person receiving Alzheimer’s Memory Care is physically and mentally able to perform. The goal is to create a task that gives a sense of purpose without causing frustration. Try endeavours such as sweeping, dusting, wiping tables and chairs, folding towels, and rearranging knickknacks. Break larger tasks into one-step-at-a-time tasks to help accomplish goals.
Music is known to feed the soul! For some, slow expressive music stimulates powerful memories of childhood, family gatherings, and times with their sweetheart. Those living with Memory Loss that had an emotional or professional connection with music will find it therapeutic and stimulating. If the available music library is limited, the local community centre or public library may have a more vast selection to borrow from. Live music is another wonderful activity to partake in.
Watch Family Videos or Go Through Picture Albums
People living with Memory Loss may benefit by watching old family videos or looking through old picture albums. Video’s and albums can assist with reminiscing or help people living with memory loss be reminded of the people in their lives from yesterday and today. Families will often provide labeled pictures to assist the person living with memory loss refresh their memories of who they are and what role they play in their lives.
Reminisce About Their Life
Dementia Memory Care programs often encourage reminiscing about the past. For those living with Memory Loss, there may be parts of their life that bring great joy to speak of. Regardless if the stories are missing portions or end up being long tales, it is important to allow those living with Memory Loss to remember as much as they can of their past.
Animal therapy has been proven to help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and boost one’s mood. For areas that do not have animal therapy services, a visit with a family member, friend, or neighbour’s well-behaved dog or cat can help. Visiting a local animal shelter or farm can also bring joy while diminishing any depressive thoughts.
The great outdoors provides amazing physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Stimulating activities can include, but are not limited to, walks or hikes, birdwatching, visiting a botanical garden, feeding the ducks at the park, or even sitting in a glorious flower garden. For those unable to venture outside, consider bringing nature inside with related books, videos, and freshly picked flowers.
Memory & Company’s Respite Hotel Service
For support and assistance with those living with Memory Loss, turn to the friendly and welcoming Team Members at Memory & Company. We offer VIP treatment services and respite for Alzheimer’s caregivers with our Premium Day Program and Respite Hotel Service.
Our short-term respite care services near Toronto include cognitive and physical fitness programs, music, pet, and art therapies, socialization groups, and personalized programming. Contact us today!
Victor Kwong is the Founder, Co-Owner, and Director of Innovation & Technology at Memory & Company. He has a background in teaching and policing, and currently works as a spokesperson, Public and Media Relations Officer for a metropolitan police department. Victor is passionate about working with seniors and maintaining human interaction. He is also the recipient of an award for rescuing seniors from a fire at a long-term care facility and the recipient of a life-saving award for resuscitating a passenger and coordinating the subsequent emergency landing of an international flight.