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Activities

Families receiving care backed by AlzBetter were twice as likely to recommend their provider to a friend or family member.

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Problems and Solutions: Activities

Environmental

Are they bored or lonely?

If the person is living an isolated life, they may need more activity and human interaction. Try gradually increasing walks, visits by family or friends, and introducing additional activities to see if it helps reduce the problem.

Find activities they enjoy and find stimulating and try changing them up daily to avoid boredom. Consider past skills and interests when choosing activities and adapt them as necessary. Even doing part of an enjoyable activity can be beneficial.

Health

Could poor vision or hearing be part of the problem?
Poor vision and hearing can leave people with dementia frustrated, scared, or confused. It can make routine tasks like dressing, bathing, or meals more difficult. It can also lead to “hearing noises” which are normal daily sounds, or misinterpreting things like shadows. These misinterpretations can lead to further agitation or even hallucinations.
  •  Make sure they wear their glasses and hearing aides to help them function better in their environment and when traveling outside the home
  • Explain any misinterpretations, such as, “That is just a shadow. See how it disappears when I turn the light on” or “that pounding noise is the men working outside.”
  • Have vision and hearing checked regularly by a professional

Find activities they enjoy and find stimulating and try changing them up daily to avoid boredom. Consider past skills and interests when choosing activities and adapt them as necessary. Even doing part of an enjoyable activity can be beneficial.

Task Related

Are activities too childlike?
Activities are very important, and a well-structured activity program can make a huge difference in creating successful outcomes. While you do not want to overwhelm the individual with complex tasks, you also do not want to treat the person like a child. Find activities that are level appropriate.
 

If you cannot find adult activities, have the person perform activities with or for the grandchildren. Assure the individual that she is “so great to do this project for little Johnny. He is only four, and I know he is going to love it! You are such a great grandma!” This will help to build confidence in the person with dementia while not being demeaning.

Are they unable to complete tasks?

The inability to complete tasks that were once easily accomplished can lead to anger, frustration, and negative behavior. Try simplifying tasks by breaking them down into small, easy steps. Explain each step clearly using gestures and demonstrations. If they are unable to complete the entire task, have them do whatever they can. The goal may not be to complete the task, but rather to participate. For example, when doing a puzzle, the goal may be to talk about the picture on the puzzle, rather than completing the puzzle.

Does they feel useless, left out, or helpless while watching others work?

Have them perform tasks they are capable of doing. Involve them in household activities, such as folding towels and washing dishes. Thank them for their help and be reassuring.

Has there been a change in routine or schedule?

Consistency is extremely important with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Any changes to the schedule or routine can cause confusion and agitation. Families often think getting mom out or having a party for her will make her happy, when in fact, it may cause problems. When performing an activity that is not part of the normal routine, make sure the person is well rested and comfortable. Go to extremes to make sure the person is not agitated prior to the new activity.

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