As part of our World Alzheimer’s Month series, we’ve asked our Activity Lifestyle Facilitators to share their top tips about caring for your loved one living with dementia at home.
Lovingly known as ALFs, it is their job to help enrich the social life of every resident, irrespective of mobility issues or dementia diagnosis. They plan inclusive and accessible events and activities, so that those that live with us continue to enjoy life in colour.
As experts in their field, we couldn’t think of a better group to share their wisdom, experience and ideas.
Encouraging Fun Activities
Speak with your loved one to find out about hobbies, past interests, places and people that are important to them. It is vital to create a connection to encourage communication!
Ask if they would like to learn a new skill that you could help them with, such as crochet or stamp collecting.
Sit and chat to find out what they are comfortable with; do they enjoy one to one activity best, or would they prefer to participate in group activities?
Do they enjoy trips getting out and about, and might they like to go to a certain place?
Find out their musical tastes and play it, perhaps to encourage them to interact with others.
Staying Hydrated and Eating Well
This can be a real issue for older people, especially those living with dementia. How often have you made a cup of tea and then discovered it undrunk because they got distracted and forgot it was there? Try to offer little and often but don’t be afraid of offering some variety, rather than just their favourites, as tastes can change following a dementia diagnosis.
Milkshakes, fruit juices, mocktails and ice lollies are a delicious and tempting treat that are also excellent for hydration.
Jelly Drops are also a fantastic way to increase hydration, as they are disguised as sweets. Always a hit with our residents; they are fun, come in a range of flavours, are sugar free and are easy to eat independently.
Try offering smaller amounts of your loved one’s favourite food, rather than religiously sticking to three meals a day, as some intake is better than none.
Snack boxes are fantastic as you can fill them with high calorie treats that can be picked at throughout the day.
Settling at Night
‘Sundowning’ is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s also known as ‘late-day’ confusion, which means that confusion and agitation may get worse in the evening.
Try turning the TV off and replacing it with quiet relaxing background music to promote a sense of calm.
Great evening activities include colouring pages and jigsaws as they are both quiet and relaxing.
Dimming the lights and offering warm drinks will help your loved one feel sleepy.
Changing into pyjamas to enjoy evening activities is also a great way to signal it is night-time.
Reminding your loved one to stay active is an important part of living well with dementia. Exercise reduces muscle wastage; helps people stay independent for longer; is great for heart health; and does wonders for mental wellbeing too!
Try encouraging your loved one to keep active in subtle ways by helping with the housework, or tackling some gardening. They won’t even know they’re exercising!
Make structured exercise fun! There are great armchair exercise routines available on You Tube that you could do together.
Choose familiar walks that will provoke nostalgic memories and that have plenty of rest spots. Your loved one will love reminiscing along the way.
If you think your loved one has reached a point in their dementia journey where they could benefit from the expert care, support and activities available at Borough Care homes, please get in touch. A friendly member of our team is on hand to help you find out more about our ethos, our care and our homes. We are currently accepting new admissions during the Covid 19 pandemic.