We can’t know for certain what will happen to each of us. But what we do know is that stimulating the brain and the body are both advantageous and necessary for all of us. Keeping minds sharp, bodies strong and spirits high benefits our overall well-being.
This is especially important for seniors in the early stages of dementia. Studies have shown that actively using their brain helps keep them alert and oriented much longer. Thus, they will be less likely to simply sleep or watch television all day and lose memory or mental abilities.
Here are some fun activities you can enjoy with the seniors without tiring them out .
Share Music – Music is universal. Find and play songs from their era for a sing-along. If they can’t remember the words, give them a tambourine or triangle so they can play along with the melody.
Play Games – This can be board games with the family, cards with other seniors, or bingo at the local church. Not only is this important for stimulating the mind, but seniors need the socialization. Arrange for transportation to/from these activities if you can’t do it yourself.
Look at Photo Albums – Pulling out old photo albums from their childhood can help seniors remember the past. And you benefit by listening to their stories. Be patient if they can’t remember all the names of people in the photos. Encourage them to share memories instead.
Work on Puzzles – Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to stimulate the brain and share time as a family. Remember to match the difficulty of the puzzle to the ability of the senior so they don’t get frustrated.
Interview the Senior – Learning about the past can be entertaining for both the story-teller and the listener. Ask the senior questions about their siblings, their school years, or their favorite childhood pastimes. You will learn history while the senior feels special.
Create a Flower Arrangement – Purchase silk flower stems and a vase. Help the senior arrange the flowers in the vase. Swap them out for new flowers every season.
Read to Them – Eyesight tends to lessen with aging. Reading the newspaper to seniors keeps them entertained. You can also read aloud from their favorite book. Grandchildren who are learning to read can share their favorites too, and grandma will enjoy the illustrations.
Video Chat – Arrange for someone to be with the senior to ‘call’ a second party on video chat or Skype. They’ve talked on the phone, but never like this!
String Beads – Buy a variety of beads and some elastic or string. (Larger beads are better for arthritic hands.) Help them make bracelets and necklaces. You’ll have to help with fasteners. Let them decide whether they will keep it or give it to someone else.
Look at Maps – Maps can conjure up a wide variety of conversations. What countries / capitals can they identify? Where have they been? What do they know about each of the states? Pull up photos on a tablet/laptop of famous landmarks in those states.
So there you go folks. We have got you thinking, now think about some more fun activities and engage the seniors around you in creative yet fun activities. Remember, participation is key. No activity can replace the companionship you’ll provide by being there with them.
At Inspired Care Home Health, we realize the importance of keeping seniors active. When you can’t be there, we encourage our caregivers to pursue these pastimes with your loved ones.