As seniors begin to have memory loss from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, they will need more assistance with everyday living. Household tasks, personal hygiene, dressing, and activities with family members will need to be adjusted to things they can do or may need assistance performing.
Some ways you can alleviate anxiety and emotional bursts is to involve your loved one in simple routine tasks that make them feel valuable. Are there some activities that your loved one has done in the past that they still may enjoy? Remember the shortened attention span and adjust the activity. Fold laundry, put dishes away (label drawers), or go to the grocery store for a few items with them. Spending time doing something they enjoy will make your loved one feel valued.
Dressing themselves can be very frustrating for your senior. Shoes that slip on or have Velcro fasteners make it easier for them to feel independent. Pull on pants, shirts that just slip over the head (without fasteners), and shift dresses can enable your senior to dress themselves. Adaptive clothing is specially designed to accommodate limited dexterity. Non-skid socks may suffice instead of shoes if staying primarily indoors.
When you forget your surroundings or who you can trust, having your name on personal hygiene items-toothbrush, hairbrush, even shampoo and deodorant will make them feel that they belong. This is especially a must if your senior is living in an assisted living facility.
Did you know you can also purchase adaptive eating utensils and dinnerware? Spoons that curve inwards, plate guards so that the food doesn’t fall the side of the plate, non-skid dinnerware, and 2 handled mugs are available. Eating doesn’t have to be a chore, but it is necessary they get all the nutrition they need.
Do you have a slippery rug in your bathroom? Safety is a big concern and you may want to add handrails or a raised toilet seat to make it easier for them to navigate the bathroom on their own.
Activities they may enjoy doing with you include simple card games, watering plants, playing board games, or looking through old photos. Listening to music from their younger high school days may even bring a smile.
We all benefit from sharing holidays with someone we love. The smells of turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, or even fudge bring back familiar smells and sounds with pleasureable memories. Include your elderly family members in all holidays.
Help your senior enjoy every day by making it easier for them to do the things they can independently. You will enjoy the valuable time with your loved one, too.