Whether you are caring for someone with longtime dementia or a senior who has just begun to display the signs of the condition, you may sometimes feel at a loss about how to help the person. Dealing with this health issue effectively involves a wide range of factors, such as proper nutrition, reducing stress, and keeping appointments with a qualified health care professional. If you are assisting an individual who has experienced cognitive decline, the person is fortunate to have you in his or her life. Although you might not always be certain that you are doing the right things for this person, your very presence may serve as a comfort to the senior.
Helping such an individual to engage in activity is a viable strategy for managing the effects of dementia. A person who is active will be less likely to become discouraged on the days that are most challenging. You and the elder in your life may wish to consider some of the following activities for seniors in the San Gabriel Valley.
Think About What Has Worked in the Past
The first step you might take is to think about the activities a senior has enjoyed in the past. If the person was once an avid golfer, you could arrange for periodic outings to golf courses in the San Gabriel Valley. The city of San Gabriel, alone, has several golf courses worth considering. A former dancer might enjoy a performance at a local ballet theater, and someone who used to surf may appreciate a day at the beach. If the senior you’re caring for is not a close relative or friend, you may want to ask him or her about past hobbies. Look for photos, trophies, and other items in the home that may offer some clues related to the elder’s interests.
Never Underestimate the Power of Having Fun
Sometimes, an elder with dementia may simply like to have some fun. Relaxing activities – and even just being silly – can have a positive effect on the mind and the spirit. If an elderly person with dementia has been in the home for too long without leaving, you could take the individual to a zoo. Laughing at the antics of animals like monkeys, penguins, or prairie dogs can be a healing experience for someone who may feel isolated. Another option might be to spend an afternoon cutting out pictures in newspapers or magazines. You could make a collage of all of the favorites – this is a great way to exercise the imagination and stimulate the mind.
Experiment With Arts and Crafts
Taking a class in arts and crafts could be one way to lift the spirits of an elder who has dementia. This type of activity can be good for the brain, and a senior may also benefit from the social aspect of such a class. You might help the person to get enrolled in a community education class to learn embroidery or woodworking. You may also want to contact one of the senior centers in the San Gabriel Valley; they might offer arts and crafts activities on a regular basis.
Interview a Senior (and Make His or Her Day)
An excellent technique for exercising the memory is to interview a senior with memory loss. Ask the senior to recall as many details as possible about his or her past. A military veteran might start to remember tales of camaraderie that had once been forgotten. A former schoolteacher may be delighted to recount memories from the classroom. Simply listening to an elder could help the person to realize that others are interested in knowing about past experiences – and this may do much to restore a sense of dignity. Additionally, working to remember various details may aid in sharpening the brain.
The senior in your life is fortunate to have you as a source of support. You probably wish to help this person in every way that you can. There are countless activities for seniors with dementia in the San Gabriel Valley, and an elder you know may appreciate many of them.
Photo by tonyhall