7 Dementia-Friendly Winter Activities
Posted on January 28, 2016
The year-end holidays naturally lend themselves to planning
activities for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia because there are
presents to wrap, cookies to make and songs to sing. Yet what do you do in
January when the holidays are over, but it’s still blustery outside? Here are a
few suggestions that keep your loved one engaged and prepare for spring.
Prepare for Gardening
Even though spring planting is months away, experienced
gardeners are studying seed catalogues and readying their seed order. If this
was once an annual tradition for your mother or uncle, they can still relive the
experience. Order a few catalogues in their name so they have the pleasure of
seeing them arrive in the mail. Then go through the catalogue with them and
help them determine what to purchase. This can stimulate conversations such as
discussing their favorite flowers and gardening experiences.
Decorate Garden Pots
After you order seeds for your loved one, they will need a
place to plant the seeds. How about purchasing a clay pot that they can
decorate? Until it’s time for spring planting, the pot can serve as decoration
and can even hold the seed packets.
Enjoy a Roaring Fire
How did your parents spend winter nights? Curled up before
the fire, enjoying hot chocolate or coffee? You can recreate these nights, complete
with a wood-burning fireplace, without having to chop the wood. On YouTube and
Apple TV there are numerous fireplace videos complete with the sounds of
crackling wood. Put the video on your TV, curl up and relax.
Visit a Museum Without Leaving Home
If the artist in your family cannot visit a museum, bring a
museum to them. Through the MoMA
Alzheimer’s Project, your loved can have an art-museum experience without
the travel. They provide a helpful guide of what activities you can do and
there is a gallery of images you can view.
Spend an Afternoon Birdwatching
For birders, walking outside and spotting birds is part of
the experience while birding. But if your loved one is unable to walk outside,
you can bring the birds to them. Even during winter, there are birds about who
won’t pass up the opportunity to visit a bird feeder. If your loved one kept
track of the birds they saw, help them do that again by keeping a log of the
visiting birds. For those whose eyesight is failing, reading a bird book will
still prompt the memories of bird watching.
Tea and Hot Chocolate Tasting
Nothing warms you up quicker on a cold day than a cup of hot
tea or chocolate, and with so many varieties to sample, your loved one can have
their sense of smell and taste stimulated. What can make the tasting even more
eye-catching is using colorful or novelty mugs that can spark laughter or
Turn up the Nostalgia and Play Their Favorite Music
Talk to your loved one and discover
what his or her favorite musical artist was and bring over a mix CD or stream
live from providers such as Pandora, ITunes or Spotify. Use familiar tunes as a
starting point for a conversation about memorable events. You could even
combine it with another activity like enjoying puzzles while the blizzard roars
beyond the windows.
Spend Time with Your Loved One
When it comes to finding fun things to do with a loved one
with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is not the number of activities that they do
that is important, but rather the emotional connection that is forged during
the activity. Tapping into hobbies your loved one appreciated can stimulate the
memories and they will experience the pleasure associated with that activity
again. Even if they cannot perform it independently as they once could, your
efforts to join your loved one in a cherished pastime can be just the thing to
shine a spark of warmth during the cold of winter.
About the Author
Andrea Watts is a writer at SeniorHomes.com, a free
resource for families and seniors who are navigating the issues surrounding
long-term care, such as costs and care options. We offer
helpful guides on the long-term care options and connect families to family
advisors who can serve as their guide every step during this process.
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