It’s not uncommon for seniors to lose their sense of purpose after they receive a dementia diagnosis. But feeling useful is essential to overall health and wellness. Research has linked living purposefully to a longer life span, better sleep quality, and improved brain health.
Many caregivers want to help their loved one stay engaged but are unsure where to start. They struggle to come up with meaningful activities that support independence.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Emotions
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect a person’s memory. As the disease progresses, a person may increasingly struggle to remember certain life events. While they may not be able to recall specific details of an event, they can still remember the associated emotions. Here are a few tips for caregivers who want to help their loved ones with dementia enjoy purposeful days.
Helping a Senior with Dementia Enjoy Purposeful Days
- Play music that triggers positive feelings.
Music is a wonderful way to uplift a person with dementia. Try playing music from their childhood or special times in their life. For example, play a song from their wedding. Your loved one might not remember where the song is from, but they will feel happy while they listen.
- Sort through old photographs.
Looking at photographs is another excellent activity for seniors with dementia. Take time to sit with your loved one and sort through old pictures. These can be images from their childhood or significant life events. A photograph can trigger the emotions they felt when the photo was taken, even if they don’t remember the circumstances.
- Explore local art classes.
Art is increasingly used to help seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown art can strengthen the brain, improve focus, and reduce stress. Check if your local community center offers any painting or drawing classes for seniors.
- Try gardening.
Many people like to garden, but it can be particularly enjoyable for those with dementia. Plants give them something to care for, which can help them feel needed.
- Let them help with chores.
Chores can help seniors with dementia feel like they are contributing. This can improve their self-esteem. Activities that involve repetition, like folding or sorting papers, can even be enjoyable.
Emotions Last after a Memory Is Lost
It’s helpful for caregivers to remember feelings linger even after a memory is lost. This includes emotions experienced after visiting with a loved one, exercising, or completing a task that makes them feel needed. Each interaction can positively impact the rest of their day.
Specialized Dementia Care at Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan
Heritage Senior Communities provides specialized dementia care for adults with memory impairment. Our thoughtfully designed communities feature plenty of activities to enhance our residents’ self-esteem and provide purposeful days. We invite you to schedule a private tour today.