Tips For Encouraging Continuing Engagement In Alzheimer's Patients

People with Alzheimer's disease lose the ability to participate in activities they once loved as their disease progresses. Sports, hobbies, and daily activities such as cooking unfortunately usually fall by the wayside. While Alzheimer's patients' interests may wane, it is still important to keep them engaged in activities. Here are five tips to encourage interaction.

Utilize Assisted Living Services

Whether you place a parent in an assisted living facility, have in-home assisted living services, or take advantage of senior daycare programs, planned activities are a big part of the amenities they offer.

Assisted living facilities and senior daycare programs regularly schedule events to encourage participants to socialize with one another, such as dances or holiday gatherings. Many women with Alzheimer's disease still remember how to knit or crochet and holding a group for this or other arts and crafts will provide them with an artistic outlet.

Watch Old Movies and Classic TV Shows

Alzheimer's disease affects the most recent memories first. This is why a person may not remember what happened yesterday but has little or no difficulty remembering the things that happened decades ago.

Many assisted living facilities and adult daycare programs have a movie night where they play vintage films and television shows from an era when a senior was at their prime. Home health aides who provide assisted living services can easily duplicate this activity in client's homes as well.

Stroll Down Memory Lane

If your loved one is still at home, request their assisted living caretakers to encourage Mom or Dad to talk about the past. They can ask open-ended questions that require a response on the senior's part. Looking at photo albums or watching old home movies is another way to stimulate their brains and encourage engagement.

Listen to Their Music

Most people love music, and music almost always triggers memories in people, both those with Alzheimer's disease and those without. Assisted living facilities often play the "oldies but goodies" for their residents. It can have a calming effect and may even increase lucidity in some people.

If the senior is still at home, assisted living caregivers can turn the radio to an oldies station or if their charge still has a record player, ask which singers and groups are their favorites and play them for them.

Get Moving

Just because a senior has Alzheimer's disease doesn't mean they can't still exercise. Go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine on days when conditions are right. Even if the senior has mobility issues, they can still be directed in stretches from their chair.