March 11, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

happy ladies dancing

Finding activities which are fun and engaging for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease tends to be a challenge. Add in vision impairment, and it could seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, it is vitally important to make certain each day holds possibilities for purpose, joy, and meaning – decreasing the level of frustration, agitation, and other challenging emotions and behaviors in dementia.

The first step is to think through the older adult’s past and current hobbies, interests and lifestyle. Then think of methods to tap into those preferences. We have gathered a few ideas to help you begin:

  • Come up with a playlist of the older adult’s favorite songs or genre of music, and then sing along, dance, keep the beat with a tambourine or simply a sealed container of dried rice and beans. Talk about the memories the music evokes.
  • Read aloud, choosing stories or articles that are easy to follow and on topics which are of interest to the senior. For example, a sports fan may enjoy hearing an update on his/her favorite players and teams, and then discussing highlights from the past as well.
  • Get up and moving for improved muscle tone and circulation, as well as to help promote daytime wakefulness and improved nighttime sleeping. If weather permits, exercising outdoors is a wonderful option to add in vitamin D and fresh air. Try walks in nature, pointing out the individual birds, flowers, trees, etc. that you pass along the way.
  • Experiment with a number of tactile art mediums that can be manipulated without the use of vision, such as clay or sculpting sand. Or try creating a 3-D work of art by gluing buttons, shells, dried pasta, etc. into a shape or pattern.
  • Include the senior in ability-appropriate tasks around the house. Food preparation offers a variety of options, such as washing and tearing lettuce for a salad, peeling and breaking apart bananas or oranges, and mixing ingredients for a cake. Or ask the senior to help with folding laundry or sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox.
  • Give pet therapy a try. Specially trained pet therapists can provide a safe, trusted cat or dog for the senior to pet or hold. While this may seem simplistic, the joy and relaxing effects of spending some time with an animal can be significant.

Our caregivers are knowledgeable in creative tips on how to engage older adults of every ability level to help make daily life more fulfilling. Give us a call at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for trusted Alzheimer’s care in Syracuse and nearby areas today!