The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America recently announced that it will provide families affected by Alzheimer’s disease with information about simple therapeutic activities they can do to keep their loved one engaged and active while at home.
“Stimulating the brain is beneficial both for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO. “Staying active and engaged can help improve mood, reduce stress and avoid caregiver burnout, and it’s even more important at a time when people are staying indoors for prolonged periods. There are many fun activities caregivers can do with their loved ones to help exercise their minds together, using things they already have at home.”
Here are a number of simple activities that can be done at home and their potential benefits:
— Reminiscence: Reminiscence activities help with memory recall. Often accompanied with art and music therapies, it utilizes the five senses to help individuals recall specific positive memories. Activities include reminiscing with family picture albums, listening to music the loved one enjoys or dancing to favorite songs.
— Tactile stimulation: Tactile sensory stimulation involves the sensation of touch and texture. Various textures, sizes and shapes like smooth, rough, hard, soft, furry, etc. can be used for this activity. The sense of touch also includes the differentiation and recognition of temperature, pain, and body position. Activities include flower arranging, small tasks or chores like folding towels or matching socks together, stuffed animal therapy or creating a collage and doing other arts and crafts projects.
— Brain exercises: These activities challenge and stimulate the brain, keep the mind active, enhance memory and improve cognitive skills and concentration. Brain exercises include trivia, word puzzles and memory games, reading books or storytelling.
— Social stimulation: Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Ways to socialize include video chats including FaceTime and Skype, text messaging, sending a thoughtful email, telephone calls, mailing letters or cards, sending photos electronically or by mail, and connecting through social media.
— Virtual Therapeutic Programs/Virtual Tours: AFA now provides virtual community classes through its Facebook page. All of these programs are facilitated by credentialed professionals. These therapeutic programs vary from dance/movement therapy, music therapy, art therapy, fitness classes and Broadway singer performances. Virtual tours are another cognitively stimulating activity that can be done from home. Virtual tours allow exploration or visiting cities, museums and other sites through a computer or mobile device. Use any internet search engine to learn more about virtual tours.
Finally, ask the loved one what they like to do and find a creative way to introduce a new activity that involves these interests.
For more, visit alzfdn.org.