For a person living with dementia, the need for a good quality of life, full of activities and engagement does not diminish. There are many safe and rewarding activities that people living with dementia and their carers can introduce into their lives.
Ideally, some dementia care options should compensate for lost activities; promote self-esteem, maintain residual skills and not involve new learning, provide an opportunity for enjoyment, pleasure and social contact; and, be sensitive to the person’s cultural background.
It’s best to consider the person and what they enjoyed in their lives. This means knowing the person’s former lifestyle, work history, hobbies, recreational and social interests, travel and significant life events.
Assisting people with dementia to feel they are making a contribution:
A wonderful way of assisting people with dementia to feel useful and able to contribute to society is to give them jobs that utilise skills that have not been forgotten. Washing up, watering the garden, sweeping or buttering bread are some such activities.
Make sure the activity is done in a safe area, without any potential spills or accidents. Ensure there is good lighting and remember that each day is different – what can be done one day, maybe difficult the next.
Remember to be patient and if your loved one wants to take a break, have a rest and try again later. Ask for their input on how the activity could be changed to make it more enjoyable for them.
Enjoy the process and not focus on the outcome – it doesn’t matter if the puzzle doesn’t get finished, what is important is that your loved one enjoyed the activity and felt useful.
Try not to over-stimulate and be selective with outings. Avoid crowds, constant movement and noise which many people with dementia find overwhelming.
Tap into emotions by playing music or spending time with babies, children or animals, which can provide positive feelings.
Excellent memories of past events are often kept and looking through old photos, memorabilia and books enable the recall of earlier times. The opportunity to relive treasured moments can be deeply satisfying.
If reading skills have deteriorated make individual audiotapes or find beautiful picture books and magazines in the person’s areas of interest. Sensory experiences such as massage, hair brushing or using fresh flowers and fragrant essential oils can also be enjoyable.
Ten dementia care at home activities to try with your loved one:
- Sing songs or play music.
- Do arts and crafts. Scrapbooking, knitting or embroidery. Keep tools and patterns simple.
- Organise household or office items, particularly if the person used to take pleasure in organisational tasks.
- Clean around the house. Sweep the patio, wipe the table, fold towels or try other household tasks that help the person feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Tend the garden or visit a botanical garden.
- Read the newspaper.
- Look at books the person used to enjoy.
- Cook or bake simple recipes together.
- Work on puzzles.
- Watch family videos.
How Home Care Packages can help those with dementia:
Home Care Packages can be tailored to support people living with dementia at home and eligible clients can receive an additional 10 per cent supplement of funds, per home Care Package level, to support additional dementia care needs.
How can Oxley Home Care Help?
Oxley Home Care offers tailored, early intervention and health and lifestyle coaching to people with dementia. Each person assisted is treated as an individual with their own history, memories and likes/dislikes taken into consideration, with services offered from early onset dementia through to palliative dementia care.
Oxley Home Care’s support services for people with dementia and their carers include:
- Personal care, showering, dressing, grooming, dental hygiene and denture care
- Activities to assist and minimise behaviours
- Preparing and serving meals
- Daily living support, including domestic assistance
- Transport to social events
- Shopping and errands
- Companionship and leisure activities
In addition, Oxley Home Care’s respite support allows carers to rest and re-energise with peace of mind, on a regular basis.
To find out more about getting the right support and care for you or a family member with dementia, contact Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.