How to Facilitate Successful Days for a Loved One with Alzheimer's

Sunrise Senior Living  |  April 10, 2019
How to Facilitate Successful Days for a Loved One with Alzheimer's
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When a family elder has Alzheimer’s disease, loved ones may struggle to find ways to help them feel productive and successful. As physical and cognitive losses mount, it is easy to focus on what they can’t do and overlook the skills and abilities that remain. We have some suggestions you can use to create more meaningful days for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

Structure and Routine to Support Memory Loss

Creating structure and routine for a person with Alzheimer’s helps them feel successful. That’s because a structured day requires less reliance on short-term memory, often lost early in the disease. It can also help reduce the anxiety and agitation common in adults with Alzheimer’s.

The positive feelings created by productive days and meaningful experiences linger long after the actual memories of the day are lost.

6 Tips for Creating a Structured Day for Adults with Alzheimer’s

Here are a few suggestions to help Alzheimer’s caregivers create a productive, structured day:

  1. Routine: Try to establish a regular daily routine. Have set times to get up, eat meals, and go to bed. Structure promotes independence for people struggling with memory.
  2. Household chores: Allow your loved one to assist with daily chores, as this can help them feel productive. Setting the table before dinner, clearing the dishes after a meal, folding towels, and dusting are tasks that someone with Alzheimer’s can usually complete.
  3. Physical activity: Physical activities are another important part of the day. They promote better sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Walking is one low-impact form of exercise to consider. If your loved one has balance problems or the weather is inclement, you could try seated forms of exercise instead. Sit and Be Fit is a nonprofit organization you can turn to for information about seated exercise.
  4. Art projects: Alzheimer’s robs people of their verbal communication skills, sometimes in the early stages of the disease. It can lead to sadness, frustration, loneliness, and isolation. Art helps people with Alzheimer’s express their feelings in nonverbal ways. It can also allow them to feel productive and successful. If you aren’t particularly artsy, you can purchase prepackaged arts and crafts projects at the hobby store.
  5. Music: Incorporating music into a loved one’s daily routine is also beneficial. Adults with Alzheimer’s often maintain the ability to sing favorite songs after they have lost the ability to speak. Different songs can help boost, energize, and soothe mood.
  6. Nature: Another way to incorporate meaningful activity into a loved one’s day is by enjoying nature together. Weather permitting, getting outdoors for a few minutes each day can improve one’s spirits. This is especially true if it’s done in conjunction with an activity such as container or raised bed gardening or birdwatching.

Reminiscence Neighborhoods at Sunrise

Sunrise Senior Living communities are home to Reminiscence neighborhoods. These programs are thoughtfully designed exclusively for adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We invite you to visit and learn more. Click here to check for communities near you, and call 888-434-4648 to schedule a visit today!

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