Dr. Marion Somers
Those who are afflicted with a form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s the staff and family need to use dignified, non-judgmental and respectful language, constantly demonstrating empathy through actions and support.
Everyone deserves a quality of life and it is important to focus on what an individual can do rather than what they cannot. What were their interests, their hobbies, what made them feel a sense of satisfaction. This takes some amount of gathering personal history to know their play, leisure, recreation, volunteer, work habits and abilities were.
Basically activities need to provide a variety of benefits such as:
Daily routine and structure;
A sense of purpose, involvement and interaction with others;
Mental stimulation to reduce loneliness and boredom;
Physical activity to improve overall physical health and wellbeing;
And lastly, the stimulation of all five ((5) senses (smell, taste, touch, visual and hearing).
The individual benefits from a mix of activities to meet social, physical, mental and spiritual needs. Balance is just as important for individual with any form of dementia. Activities that fulfill their lives daily, weekly and monthly need to include work, self-care, leisure and rest.
Our work activities usually give us a sense of value plus it shows our skills or former skills or talents. All the Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) help the individual maintain some sense of dignity and or independence. These activities are: caring for our bodies, grooming, dressing, feeding ourselves, toileting and bathing ourselves. Plus transporting ourselves from activity to activity or transferring ourselves from the bed to the wheel chair, walker or the bathroom. Every activity that supports independence or self-recognition helps maintain the sense of self.
Leisure Activities are those we do because we want to or are familiar with. Being able to pick and chooses is a positive plus factor. Leisure can also provide social interaction and enjoyment.
Rest activities can re energize or relax one and support feeling better as well as taking a nap or getting a full night of sleep.
Activity programing planning needs to include the following:
Physical, Mental, Social, Emotional and Spiritual.
The benefits of physical exercise may reduce the risk of depression;
Reduce restlessness and prevent wandering and improves overall alertness and cognitive functioning.
Mental activities may include: Brain games, Math games, Computer skills, Memory and reminisce, Sensory awareness and Reading activities.
There are many therapies that are relaxing such as: Yoga, Meditation, listening to music, Pet Therapy, Aroma Therapy and Dance Therapy.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to supporting an individual with any form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, but when you support the person with an understanding of their uniqueness, they will benefit and feel your support.