Now that you have arrived at the home of a client with dementia…what do you do with all of that time?
Engaging clients with cognitive decline increases their quality of life and enables them to age in place longer. A home care agency’s ability to provide stimulating activities and specialized care for clients with dementia makes them stand out from the competition, and extends the ability of the older adult to age in place.
Here are some creative and fun ways to engage older adults with dementia:
One of the most important things we can do for a person with dementia is maintain their level of independence as much as possible in the regular “activities of daily living” that make up their routine. Even if the majority of the task requires assistance or supervision, keeping the person a part of the task in some way is essential to providing them with a sense of independence and ability. For example, Dressing – may require prompts of what is front and back and to sit down while dressing lower limbs. Cooking – give the person tasks within the cooking activity that they can manage on their own like mixing things in a bowl, washing vegetables before chopping a salad. Laundry – encourage a person with dementia to fold clean clothes and place them back in draws when finished.
While active participation in ADL’s is key, it is important to allow the older adult to sit down if they don’t have activity tolerance to stay standing for long periods.
Maintaining a level of social engagement and completing valued activities is essential for people with dementia. Focus on the interests and skills of the person with dementia and get them engaged in an activity that brings them happiness and pleasure. Some ideas are gardening, art, going out for coffee or meals, listening to music and dancing.
Remaining physically fit and healthy is an important aspect of aging and even more so for a person with cognitive decline. Get creative and engage the older adult with dementia with activities such as dance, tai chi, or yoga. Walking groups are another great idea as they also incorporate a social aspect to physical exercises as well.
Engage a person with dementia in brain stimulating activities that are also fun like puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, quizzes, and board games. Make sure however to keep these activities within their abilities, not too challenging and not too easy for their current level of functioning. Newspapers are a great resource for cognitive rehabilitation as they orient the person to the date and year, keep them updated and engaged in current affairs and often contain puzzles and quizzes.
This is a way of getting the person to reflect on and discuss memories from their past. You can use photographs, objects or video clips to invoke memories from their long term memory. For a dementia patient, connection to their past selves is key – Lisa M. Cini, a leading authority on senior living environments writes on reminiscence therapy, “If they rewound the clock to when they were newly married, give them a basket with wedding photos and some lace for discussion and remembering.
Engaging older adults with dementia helps them age in place longer, improves quality of life, and can slow or stymie further decline. Proven success in such cases can give your agency a leg up and guarantee your advantage in a specialized sector of the market.
To find out more useful tips on how to specialize your agency, and gather data to provide proof of success, click here to book a free demo with us!