Activities for Your Loved One, Part 2
One difficult thing to manage as a family caregiver is stepping in for your loved one when he or she needs help and understanding that they are not always helpless. The Alzheimer’s Association has talked about this difficulty stating, “[A]llowing the person with Alzheimer’s [or other related dementias] to feel that his or her autonomy is being respected, to the extent possible, is ethically important and the appropriate alternative to unnecessary coercion.” In other words, respecting your loved one’s abilities should be prioritized, even under those circumstances when you are unsure. Of course, you know your loved one better than everybody else and can probably accurately determine whether or not they can complete certain tasks. Above all, it is a good idea to try and include them as much as possible in daily routines so that they can help you help them. Often, people diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder can perform a variety of tasks, even if they have lost some capabilities like driving or engaging in in-depth conversations. So, we urge you to respect their autonomy to the extent possible, and hopefully, we can provide you with some ideas for some activities to do with them that is sensitive to this topic.
- Cutting coupons: Use this activity to discuss with your loved one what they want from the store. When an individual has a “say” in something, they will often feel respected and in control of their situation.
- Rake leaves or garden: Gardening was mentioned in part one, but it is really a great activity to a) get some physical exercise, which is important and b) feel accomplished when it is done. If your loved one is physically capable of gardening and raking leaves, then this may be a great activity for them.
- Give them a choice: This isn’t a specific activity per se, but it is an important practice when communicating with your loved one. Because degenerative neurological disorders can often confuse your loved one, asking them open ended questions may be difficult and confusing. But asking “yes” or “no” questions is a way to give them the choice they want to make in an easier format. This is just something to keep in mind.
- Do crafts for special occasions: If you have a sibling whose birthday is coming up or if the holidays are around the corner, ask your loved one if they want to help you make a birthday/holiday card, or anything similar. These activities allow your loved one to participate in important holidays so they feel included. Many times, living with dementia can feel isolating and limiting, but participating in purposeful craft making can help your loved one participate to the extent possible.
- Ask them for help with light chores: If there are things around the house that you think they are willing and able to do, then include them. This can include cleaning dishes, washing windows, washing the car, folding laundry, cooking dinner, etc. Allow them to be a part of maintaining the house if you think the situation is safe. Again, you know your loved one better than anyone else, so we trust that you can make the best determination of what kind of activities are appropriate for them.
If you have any questions, please call ElderCare at 888-285-0093 or visit our website! Thanks for reading.