Engaging in meaningful activities is important for all of us. This doesn’t change when a person is diagnosed with dementia. Just because someone has some memory loss doesn’t mean they won’t find joy in doing the things that brought them joy earlier in life. Here are some great ideas:
1. Old Hobbies
Did your loved one quilt, crochet or knit? Put a homemade quilt or skein of yarn in their hands and let them feel the weight of the quilt and the scratchiness of the yarn. You may be surprised to find that your loved one can still crochet or knit a little bit, even though they have serious memory or cognitive deficits. Often, the muscles remember what the brain has forgotten.
2. Spend Time with Animals
People who grew up on farms may enjoy an outing to a petting zoo or family farm where they can touch and talk to horses and other farm animals. Ask questions about animals, old pets, or what it was like to grow up on a farm. This is a great activity to involve grandchildren in, since many kids today are not familiar with farms.
3. Watch Favorite Movies or TV Shows
Did your parents grow up watching westerns like Gunsmoke or family dramas such as My Three Sons? Perhaps they were more interested in musicals like “The King and I” or “Singing in the Rain.” You can find many favorite movies and shows from the 40s, 50s and 60s on Netflix or other streaming services.
4. Listen To Their Favorite Music
Download songs or set up radio to stream that features music from their teenage years. Many internet radio stations include everything from classic rock to big band sounds, their favorite music should be easy to find.
5. Look Through Old Photos
Photo albums with pictures from their childhood or young adulthood are best for this. Old periodicals are another good option, particularly those that include many photos such as Life or Time magazines.