Living With Alzheimer’s
Staying active has been proven to help people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately once diagnosed many withdraw from their usual activities because of the stigma attached to Alzheimer, worried about what other family members and friends will think,
People need to recognize their limitations, but can prolong the quality of life by maintaining a healthy level of stimulation physically, mentally and socially. Social interaction can help ward off depression, so the caregiver should encourage the person with Alzheimer’s disease to maintain contact with friends and family. The individual may also enjoy participating in non-demanding tasks and simple activities related to past hobbies and interests. Often, in the later stages of the disease, people are happy to perform repetitive tasks that offer a sense of accomplishment.
Support groups are highly recommended for those with Alzheimer’s disease. In these groups, people often are better able to come to grips with this disease and the future by expressing their feelings and thoughts with others. For many Alzheimer’s patients, support groups help to “digest” the news of the diagnosis, overcome denial and adjust to the changes in their lives. Support groups offer practical advice on dealing with memory loss, social situations and adjustments in day-to-day living, and information on community resources. They usually offer activities designed to stimulate the patients’ memory and keep the mind active. These groups can contribute greatly to the quality of life.
Each person is different, but caregivers and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s may want to consider the following beneficial activities:
- Interaction with others, including family, friends, children and pets. Visitors can provide an appreciated human connection.
- Joining a support group.
- Engaging in creative activities, favorite pastimes and hobbies; play games and solve puzzles. Just make sure the activities are simple to avoid frustration and try to establish a routine for doing them daily. However, some activities may not work every day, and they will also need to be adjusted as the disease progresses.
- Listen to music; sing familiar tunes.
- Look at photographs and home videos, which can stimulate the mind, elicit memories and offer a calming sense of continuity.
- Simple household tasks that do not rely too much on memory, such as meal preparation, gardening or light cleaning.
- Take the person for a scenic drive, go on nature outings or to the zoo. These should be shared with a companion who can ensure safety.
- A light, regular exercise routine.
- Adult day centers where the person can engage in supervised activities such as games, craft projects and light exercise.