By Ronda Savel

Performing daily tasks can be challenging for someone living with dementia. But as a caregiver, it’s important to find activities that your person can still enjoy doing. It can make all the difference and ensure they feel valued and included.

We’ve put together some practical tips to help you plan a rewarding daily routine for someone living with dementia. 

1. Ask yourself the following questions:  

  • How did my person feel valued and appreciated throughout their life?
  • What did my person like to do in their free time?
  • What made my person feel respected?
  • What helps them to feel confident and secure?

By answering these questions, you can help pinpoint specific activities your person will enjoy doing.

2. Create a comfortable environment. It is important to incorporate tasks that match your person’s attention span and that can be done independently or with little assistance. You can also increase their comfort by scheduling activities at the same time each day. Keep their sensory abilities and motor skills in mind to set them up for success, and try to identify what words, sounds and even places may encourage participation.

3. Get to work! Identify the “work activities” that helped your person feel competent, skilled and valued – and find ways to recreate them. Reminisce about the person with dementia’s favorite dish and find ways that they can help, like washing, peeling and chopping vegetables, stirring the pot, or setting the table. Give them opportunities to show competence and skill by offering to let them fold laundry, build projects using things like Lincoln Logs and care for a doll or stuffed animal.    

4. Remember self-care…for both of you. Encourage the person living with dementia to practice self-care. Be observant during these activities, offering support when needed. For example, you can make self-care at home enjoyable and fun by playing their favorite music while they take a relaxing bath. Light some candles or use special bath products to enrich the experience. You can also schedule some self-care time for your person by taking them to get a haircut or a manicure. As a caregiver, don’t forget about yourself, either! Practicing self-care will help make you a better partner.

5. Have some fun. Make sure to incorporate your person’s favorite leisure activities into their day. We all have different activities that bring us joy, whether it’s gardening, cooking, watching sports on television, taking walks, dancing, playing with small children…the possibilities are endless! Setting aside time to have fun may be the highlight of both your days. 

6. Take a break. Set aside time to rest and relax. Activities like taking an afternoon nap, cuddling under a blanket while watching a movie, strolling along the beach and massaging lotion into their hands or feet will give the person with dementia the opportunity to recharge and find some inner peace.

Alzheimer’s San Diego is here to help!  If you or someone you love is dealing with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, contact us at 858-492-4400. Our complimentary support is just a phone call away.