How Can Seniors with Dementia Still Enjoy Life?
Dementia is a debilitating cognitive condition that affects millions of people around the world.
There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most prevalent form and may contribute to 60-70% of cases.
Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies (anomalous accumulations of protein inside nerve cells), and a group of diseases that cause frontotemporal dementia.
The effects of dementia vary from person to person but generally include a deterioration in memory and communication skills.
In addition to difficulties in communication and deteriorating memory skills, a person may also struggle to carry out everyday tasks that usually come without effort.
It is an exhausting journey, both mentally and physically, for all those affected by dementia. The effects of dementia can be heartbreaking to watch, but thankfully, there are many ways that older adults living with dementia can still enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s take a look at 7 of the most effective ways for seniors with dementia to stay happy and engaged in life.
Get Involved in Activities That Stimulate the Mind
Dementia does not have to mean an end to mental stimulation or enjoyable activities.
Through interactive activities such as reading, puzzles, memory games, and participating in discussions regarding recent events, individuals with dementia can continue to keep their minds active and engaged in meaningful experiences.
These activities also serve as a great way for family members, loved ones, and even caregivers to get involved with them on a deeper level and provide them with necessary support and companionship during this time.
Although the effects of a dementia diagnosis can be challenging and disheartening at times, engaging in these activities is an important step towards maintaining the quality of life for those living with the disease.
Participate in Physical Activities When Possible
Participating in physical activities and staying active is beneficial for everyone and is especially crucial for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias to maintain mental and physical health.
Not only can it help improve muscle strength, coordination, balance, and overall fitness, but it can also reduce feelings of depression or anxiety associated with the condition.
Even small amounts of regular exercise can be beneficial; mild exercise, such as walking a few times a week, can provide long-term benefits.
Swimming or participating in water aerobics is another great option, as it can help improve balance and reduce the risk factors of injury.
While participating in physical activities may not slow the disease progression and reverse its effects, it can increase our loved one’s quality of life by improving their overall health and well-being.
Focus on Strengths Rather Than Weaknesses
When caring for an individual with dementia, it is important to foster an environment of positivity and motivation.
Instead of focusing on the weaknesses associated with a diagnosis, family members and caregivers alike should shift the emphasis onto strengths such as memories and experiences that remain.
Utilizing life story techniques to expand on these strong points can be highly beneficial in providing comfort, maintaining connectedness, strengthening relationships, and creating meaning in the present moments.
It’s also important to recognize that although people with dementia will experience some decline in abilities due to age or progressive diagnoses, overall engagement remains possible and even enjoyable through contextual understanding and sensitivity.
Consider Music Therapy
Music can be an incredibly powerful tool, and music therapy is gaining momentum as a treatment option for dementia because of its ability to promote emotional response and improve memory recall.
Music has the power to evoke emotional reactions by stimulating brain cells responsible for processing music and language. Furthermore, people with dementia are often more responsive to music than verbal instructions or tasks.
Listening to pre-familiarized songs or participating in activities like singing a familiar lyric redirects attention from anxiety-inducing contexts, helps people feel calm, soothes stress levels, and reduces symptoms of agitation.
As such, it is no wonder that families are taking advantage of music therapy as a means of connecting with their loved ones diagnosed with dementia.
Try New Experiences in Familiar Surroundings
By introducing new experiences within familiar settings, you can promote engagement and help maintain independence while giving your loved one a sense of safety and security.
Whether it’s playing an adapted game of Scrabble with new rules or experimenting with different flavors of the same recipe, creating a safe environment in which to try out fresh ideas can spark a sense of accomplishment that both energizes and uplifts.
What might seem like a small task—adding a special flavor to their favorite soup, for example—can make all the difference in helping seniors with dementia continue to feel valued and connected.
Find a Support Group
There is comfort in knowing that you’re not alone—and finding support groups can help ease the burden immensely. Whether online or in-person, joining a community of people who understand what you’re going through can provide invaluable support and resources, including helpful tips and guidance on how to manage the symptoms of dementia.
Additionally, many individuals living with dementia find it comforting to be around others who are experiencing similar changes in their cognitive abilities, as well as those who are going through a similar grieving process.
When possible, try attending regular meet-ups or joining an online membership, as this can help foster feelings of connection and help promote a sense of normalcy.
Consider Memory Care Communities
It can be difficult to manage the symptoms of dementia on your own as the disease progresses, and many families find it helpful—and even essential—to seek the expertise of professionals.
Memory care communities are specifically designed for seniors living with dementia and often provide a range of services and amenities that cater to the specific needs of this population.
This can include advanced security and safety features such as 24-hour staff, camera surveillance, and medical care for people with more advanced symptoms.
Additionally, many communities offer activities that promote movement and healthy engagement, helping residents continue to socialize and have fun.
Whether you opt for an independent living or a memory care community is ultimately up to your personal preferences and needs, but it’s important to be aware that there are additional resources available to help you manage the symptoms of the disease and keep your loved one safe as dementia progresses.
4 Ways to Find the Right Memory Care Community
When it comes to choosing the right memory care community for a loved one, doing the appropriate research is utmost essential.
Taking some time to understand what the community offers, comparing its options with other communities, and visiting it in person are all steps that should be taken by families when considering these types of residences.
To get started, here are four tips for finding the right memory care community.
1. Get Recommendations from Trusted Sources
The first step in finding the right dementia care community is to get recommendations from people you trust, such as doctors and other medical professionals, or loved ones who have dealt with dementia themselves.
These referrals can help point you in the right direction when it comes to researching communities and making informed health care decisions about what is right for you and your loved one.
2. Do Your Research
Once you have a list of potential communities, the next step is to do some research on each one.
This can include looking at ratings and reviews on sites such as Yelp or Google, checking out the community’s website, and reading articles related to memory care communities.
This research can help you narrow down your options and make a more informed choice about which community is the best fit for you and your loved one.
3. Visit Each Community in Person
The next step is to visit each dementia care community on your list in person, if possible. Doing so gives you an opportunity to really get a feel for the atmosphere and experience of the community, as well as to talk to staff members about their dementia care philosophy and what types of services and amenities are offered.
Visiting multiple communities can also help you compare different options side-by-side, so you can make an informed decision that best meets your needs and those of your loved one.
Don’t forget to ask about pricing and any available special offers or discounts, as this can help you save money on your loved one’s care.
There may also be financial assistance or other programs available to help you offset the cost, so it is important to talk to the community’s staff and find out what types of funding might be available.
4. Consider Your Loved One’s Needs and Preferences
It is important to consider not only the needs of your loved one but also their unique preferences and personality.
For example, if they value independence, you may want to prioritize communities that offer more autonomy and flexibility in terms of daily life activities and routines.
Similarly, if your loved one has a favorite hobby or interest, you may want to look for communities that offer opportunities to participate in these activities.
Ultimately, the right choice will be different for every person, so it is important to consider all of these factors when making your decision.
The Club: A Caring Community For Those With Dementia
At The Club at Boynton Beach, our licensed nurses and care team are on-site 24 hours a day and encourage social interaction, physical activity, and collaboration throughout our peaceful surroundings.
Contact us today to learn more about our compassionate care and the amenities we provide to make life enjoyable for your loved one.