Planning Activities for People with Dementia

Understanding the dementia patient will help you to plan suitable activities for them. This means knowing the person’s needs and requirements, work history, former lifestyle, social and recreational interests, and significant life events. Try not to over excite the person with dementia. Be selective with music, exercise programs, and outings. Avoid crowded social gatherings, constant noise or movement, which many people with dementia find devastating.

It can be helpful to write out an activity plan if different people are caring for the person with dementia disease. This will help make sure that the events are regular and are appropriate to the needs of the dementia sufferer.

Activities can re-establish childhood roles

Make use of activities that have not been forgotten, such as raking in the garden or buttering bread. Motivate them to do something that is their duty, no matter how small.

Activities can give pleasure and relaxation

Small, simple and easygoing activities are good. Give the space and time important to allow the sufferer to do as much as possible. Give one instruction at a time. Focus on one thing at a time. Break down activities into handy, simple steps.

Include fun sensory experiences

Some sensory experiences that the person with dementia might like include:

· Listening to music

· Brushing hair

· Hand, neck or foot massage

· Smelling fresh flowers or potpourri

· Stroking an animal or differently textured materials, etc.

Music can be useful in managing challenging behaviours

Music plays a significant role in dealing with challenging behaviours. Music helps dementia patients recall memories and emotions and can shift mood, manage stress and stimulate positive interactions.

Getting started on a music therapy

· Use background music to enhance mood.

· Opt for peaceful music — a familiar, non-too loud song — to reduce sundowning, or behavior problems at nighttime.

· Play meditation music to provide a sense of comfort.

· Encourage a person who played an instrument to try it again.

· Play the music that the person liked in the past — whether tunes from the 40s, 60s, or 70’s.

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