ClearCare: Helping you care for others

5 Tips for the Best Activities for Seniors With Dementia

May 7, 2012   //   Comment

Providing in home care for seniors with dementia can provide much needed relief for family members. Meanwhile, care also provides safety and a sense of routine for elderly individuals struggling with memory loss and cognitive impairment. While seniors dealing with a dementia diagnosis may be displaying symptoms of confusion, agitation and depression, it’s still important to keep them engaged. By providing your caregivers with suggestions of activities that are appropriate for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you’ll be providing care tailored to help your clients thrive.

1. Set Time for Activities:
While providing care and companionship for a senior with dementia can be full of unexpected activities and daily monotony of medication reminders, housekeeping and hygiene, it’s important to make “fun” or engaging activities a routine. Try to schedule time for activity as a task in your home care software, or home care system, to ensure that caregivers don’t overlook this important task.  Ongoing activity as part of a routine can help provide structure for clients with dementia and reduce agitation, additional many seniors show patterns in behavior that reflect better moods in the morning or evening. Try to schedule activities during “good” times of the day to reduce irritability or unwillingness to participate.

2. Incorporate Colors:
Bright colors may be helpful to engage clients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s by stimulating their senses. Consider providing your caregivers with large pieced, brightly colored jigsaw puzzles, bright exercise balls, or painting supplies. Colors, combined with mental processes like placing puzzle pieces or throwing and catching a ball can provide positive stimulation for seniors. To track the receptiveness of your clients, ask caregivers to track reactions to different activities within your agency’s home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare, at the point of care.

3. Involve Animals
Researchers around the world have found animals to be therapeutic. If your agency provides care for a senior with dementia, consider involving good natured animals are part of your activity plan. For example, if the client has a dog, schedule dog walking or simply throwing a toy around the living room as a task for the client and caregiver to partake in together within your home care software or home care system. This kind of activity may be a meaningful part of the day. Likewise, if there are no animals in the home, feeding ducks at the park may be equally as calming. With animals, there’s no frustration of communication; just understanding!

4. Keep Activities “Failure Free”
When planning activities for seniors with dementia, try to avoid a “right” and “wrong” to the activity. For example, painting, stretching, or playing with puzzles allow for individuals to try things and be creative without worrying about failure, which may cause feelings of frustration and agitation. Suggest activities as tasks in your home care software or home care system to keep caregivers aware of appropriate, manageable activities.

5. Incorporate Music
Music has been shown to prompt some seniors with dementia to be more communicative with those around them. Consider activities that involve gentle exercises to music, or simply playing music in the background. Tunes from eras gone by may be enjoyable for seniors, or they may also express an interest in more modern music. Play a selection to see what sparks interest!

By combining these tips with committed caregivers and utilizing the power of a robust home care software or home care system to help manage activities, your agency will be on the way to establishing a reputation as a leader in local in-home Alzheimer’s care.

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ClearCare is a San Francisco-based software company that offers the world's first front- and back-office solution for private duty home care agencies. ClearCare's web and mobile platform for scheduling, integrated telephony, two-way caregiver messaging, and marketing makes the business of home care administration intuitive, efficient, and paper-free. With a number of home care systems on the market, over a thousand local and national home care companies have chosen ClearCare's best-of-breed system for its innovation, ease of use, and point-of-care transparency. As customers attest, the results include more efficient operations, lower administrative costs, growth in new clients and referrals, increased profits, lower turnover, and higher quality care.