When someone you love develops symptoms of dementia, it may seem as if the disease is taking away their personality characteristics. The important thing is to be able to keep doing the things that they enjoy.
At Me2U Centre, there are a range of activities we like to employ to help visitors feel relaxed and happy. There is no reason why you can’t recreate some of these activities at home.
The following activities can help you continue to make positive memories for your loved one so that every day is fun.
Attend Dementia-friendly film screenings
Cinemas across the UK now show screenings of classic films in a dementia-friendly setting. An ordinary trip to the cinema can prove distressing for those living with dementia due to the volume of the soundtrack and the dark theatre.
A dementia-friendly showing means that it’s a little quieter and there is some light to make it a little less scary. The bonus is that you are able to chat during the film if you want to and even get up and stretch your legs.
It can be a very sociable experience before and after and so a great reason to get out the house. Some showings are also sing-alongs, which leads onto the next point…
Listen to music, sing and dance
Music has been shown to trigger memories and is fantastic for engaging with someone who has dementia. The musical part of your brain stays intact far longer than other communication skills, so songs from a person’s youth can allow them to replay long-forgotten events.
Music is a mood enhancer, helping anxiety, depression and other issues associated with dementia.
At Me2U Centre, we have our resident singers come and lead group activities, but if you can’t play the guitar at home, not to worry. Download some songs using Playlist for Life’s advice on curating the perfect list of tracks.
Get out those gardening tools
Gardening is a relaxing pastime for many people and one that needs to be done often to keep the weeds at bay. At Me2U Centre, we provide greenfingered activities so that visitors can enjoy fresh air, get some light exercise and feel a sense of positivity.
Besides the physical advantages, gardening has also been proven to make people with dementia more sociable and less stressed.
When you are looking after someone with this condition, it is vital that you help them remain independent. If they have always been an avid gardener, that need not change now. Thrive’s “Garden Memories” publication has more information on the kinds of gardening activities you can do at home.
Using photographs and old keepsakes to trigger happy memories is one way to help people with dementia to reconnect with their past as their long-term memories remain for more time than short-term ones. Letting someone revisit happy times encourages conversations and gives them an opportunity to open up. Don’t be afraid of using technology, like these students from Michigan. They filmed elderly people with dementia and curated some heart-felt videos.
Play childhood games
Games are interactive, fun and promote socialisation. The best games for people with dementia are ones that help cognition and hand-eye coordination. Our favourites at Me2U Centre are Snap, Dominoes and Bingo. These are games everyone has played before, which makes understanding the rules a lot easier.
These are just some of the pursuits you can enjoy engaging in together and the list is not exhaustive. If you want to find out more about other pastimes that you can do at home or on days out, why not pay a visit to the Me2U Centre and see what we get up to?