Thinking of ways to be more productive or increase one’s activity is common for anyone planning new goals or resolutions—especially at the start of a new year.
However, those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia may find that their loved one has new or increased feelings of apathy. If that’s something you’ve noticed in your loved one or for the person you care for you might be wondering what you can do to help them stay active.
We spoke with Alzheimer’s Orange County (AlzOC) staff member and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Toni Shapiro to discuss what caregivers should know about activity planning for persons with dementia.
Prior to working at AlzOC, Toni worked as a geriatric social worker for home bound clients. She often found that her clients would often be watching TV for large periods of time. The problem? They could no longer initiate activities by themselves and required guidance and encouragement to do things. The solution? Toni explains that the key was finding activities that the person with dementia could do and was capable of.
“We would sketch out a daily plan which could easily be followed on the clients’ good days.”
Now as a member of our dementia care specialist team, she continues to educate others on the importance of adapting to their loved ones’ capabilities and what they can do to help them stay active.
“It’s imperative that caregivers keep in mind what their loved ones’ abilities are and that they are not too hard or too easy (which is boring) for the person. This is no easy task sometimes! I find that it’s helpful to create a daily activity plan. For example, grooming is done after breakfast and then we go on our walk.”
Try this: Consider incorporating them into daily chores, if possible. Those may include:
- Putting away the silverware
- Raking the leaves
- Washing the dishes
- Setting the table
- Helping prepare the food
- Sort socks and fold laundry
View and download other ideas for daily activities here.
Remember to be flexible and keep in mind that your loved one may sometimes be experiencing physical pain or might just be having a bad day. It may be best to do physical activities like taking the dog for a walk or do chair exercises earlier in the day.
“Issues such as fatigue and sundowning can occur in the late afternoon when you might want quiet activities such as listening to a concert or painting.”
To get help creating an activity plan for your loved one or if you would like to learn more about our services and how we can support you and your family, call our Helpline at 844-373-4400 to speak to one of our dementia care specialists. Review the links below for additional caregiver resources and helpful information.
Eat Right For Might – Nutrition for a Healthier Mind
Read about the impact food can have on brain health here.