Finding activities for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can prove challenging. Your parent may not be able to do the things they once did, but you want to keep them active as possible. At the same time, you don’t want to choose activities that will frustrate them. Fortunately, there are activities available that will stimulate your loved one’s mind while also providing them with a form of therapy.
Let’s take a look at three therapies that are ideal for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
Art therapy is being used with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients as a way to communicate and express their emotions, feelings and thoughts. Art therapy is believed to stimulate the mind and engage people in the world around them. Rather than feeling disconnected, people begin to feel one with their surroundings, even if they can’t verbally communicate it.
The benefits to art therapy include:
- Improvement in mood and well-being
- Ability to relate to others
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Opportunity to display positive emotions
- Enhanced communication
Music therapy is another activity that has mental and emotional benefits. Research shows that musical aptitude and appreciation are some of the last abilities to go. Your loved one may be capable of singing along to an old song they used to listen to, even though they may not remember what they had for lunch.
Music therapy is effective because it boosts brain activity. It can evoke emotion and help with information recall. Playing music is rewarding, but getting your loved one to sing along and participate is even more so.
Here are some advantages to practicing music therapy:
- Improved memory recall
- Positive changes in mood
- Sense of control
- Management of pain and discomfort
- Social interaction with others
Pet therapy involves training dogs, cats and other animals to be companions for individuals with cognitive problems. Research shows that many people with dementia can recognize that a pet is non-threatening. They are also more likely to display warmth toward animals compared to an individual person. This interaction is crucial because it allows seniors to practice companionship and love.
The main benefits of pet therapy are:
- Increased joy and pleasure
- Reduced agitation
- More physical activity
- Lowered blood pressure
- Bigger appetite
When looking for rewarding activities for your loved one to participate in, consider these three therapies. Not only can they fill your loved one’s time, but also slow the progression of some symptoms.