Spring is the start of warm weather, longer days, and nature’s return to life. It’s an exciting time of year for anyone, but it can be significant for older adults with dementia. Are you looking for new activities with your loved ones with dementia? Here are some ideas.
3 things to remember:
- The timing must be right. People who have dementia can be unpredictable, so be prepared to be flexible and patient.
- Choose failure-free activities. As you plan activities, pick projects that will be frustrating and failure-free.
- Select stimulating activities. Dementia patients need to stay active physically and mentally as much as possible.
Depending on their abilities, your loved one may create the entire recipe from start to finish. Or they may only be able to help with a step or two. And if they cannot perform any of the processes but are interested and engaged, they may benefit from simply watching you cook.
Keep it simple with recipes such as:
- No-Bake Cookies
- Garlic bread
- Fruit Salad
Take a walk together
A walk in the park or at a nearby hiking trail can be a delightful experience for seniors with dementia. You could scope out potential walking locations before bringing your elderly family member to ensure the paths are accessible and easy to navigate.
Birdwatching can be an enjoyable and relaxing activity in the springtime. You could reach out to your local Audubon Society to learn more about birdwatching in your area or head to the park to see what birds you can identify.
Work in the garden
Many patients with dementia likely had a garden at some point in their lives, making gardening an excellent activity for dementia patients. Whether outdoors or inside, working in a garden is the perfect way to stimulate the mind and the senses.
Picnic in the Park
Choose a warm and sunny spring day to pack some sandwiches or snacks, and head to the park to spread a blanket on the grass or set up at a picnic table. Enjoying a meal while watching the activity in the park can be very engaging for older adults with dementia.
Do Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts, such as painting or coloring, can be a way for a person with dementia to express themselves. It can also give them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Adult coloring books are always a good option for seniors with dementia as they provide clear structure and can be very soothing to fill in. You could look for coloring books with flowers or spring-themed nature scenes so your loved one’s art matches the time of year.
Painting is another great craft for older adults who like visual art. You and your loved one could try to paint springtime scenes from your imagination, or you could use an existing photo or painting for reference. Painting pottery can be very relaxing, too, and you could even paint flower pots in your indoor or outdoor garden.
Play an Instrument
Taking part in music-making activities, such as playing instruments in a group, can benefit a person with dementia in the following ways:
- improvement in cognitive function
- increased emotional well-being and mood
- sense of social involvement
Encouraging them to play an instrument they used to play may help them reminisce and feel more connected with themselves.