Memory Care Insights: Engaging Your Loved One with Daily Activities

Caregiver with senior

According to memory care experts, it is important for loved ones living with memory loss to continue participating in life-engaging activities. They advise that such activities can enhance your loved one’s quality of life while also reducing challenging memory loss behaviors such as anxiety, agitation, apathy, depression and wandering.

“Memory care authorities concur that the most beneficial activities are those that your loved one has always enjoyed,” says Amy Dukes, Memory Care Liaison at AHAVA Memory Care Residence, a Hearthstone-Certified Memory Care Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh, PA. “With that knowledge in hand, family caregivers are in an ideal position to plan and organize activities that can provide their loved ones with the greatest degree of happiness, purpose and self-worth.

By providing a daily routine of enjoyable and beneficial activities for their loved ones, caregivers can also make their own lives less stressful and more manageable.”

The Power of Engaging Activities for Your Loved One with Memory Loss

Memory care authorities explain that providing meaningful activities to your loved one will not necessarily slow down the progression of their memory loss; however, such activities have been shown to measurably improve quality of life in a variety of ways.

Researchers say that by creating a “bridge” to the outside world, engagement activities increase self-expression and improve a loved one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. The benefits include:

  • Opening sensory channels in the brain

  • Reducing stress and anxiety

  • Limiting the incidence of frustration and agitation

  • Providing a greater sense of calm and well-being

  • Instilling a sense purpose and accomplishment that reinforce the individual’s dignity

  • Creating a sense of belonging and improved self-esteem

  • Maintaining motor skills that aid daily tasks such as buttoning a shirt or recognizing household objects

Tips for Planning Engaging Activities for Your Loved One

Memory care therapy experts emphasize that activities for loved ones with memory loss should always have meaning and purpose. Purposeful activities that promote exercise, self-expression, independence, enjoyment and relaxation are all considered beneficial. At the same time, they also remind us that as the disease progresses, you may have to simplify your loved one’s activities in order to adapt them to their current abilities.

To help you achieve success with your activities, memory loss experts offer the following guidelines:

  • Keep past interests in mind – Plan activities that your loved one enjoyed most in their life such as gardening, walking, drawing or baking.

  • Consider what your loved one does naturally – If they used to always read the newspaper with their morning coffee, keep that activity as part of their daily routine.

  • Pay attention to their mood – Take note of whether your loved one feels happy, anxious, confused or irritable during an activity. This can help you determine what they will find most engaging.

  • Focus on their enjoyment, not achievement – Make sure that the activities you provide for them are enjoyable and uplifting. The activities should be failure-free. The focus should not be to accomplish a task perfectly, but rather to bring fun and meaning into their day.

  • Encourage involvement in daily life – Ask your loved one to help you with daily chores such as setting the table, folding towels, or cleaning up after a meal. These tasks can help them feel like they still have a purpose and are part of the family.

  • Be flexible – If you notice that a certain activity is causing frustration or annoyance, try something else. It’s a good idea to have alternative plans in mind to suit your loved one’s moods and energy levels.

  • Consider the time of day – Select the time of day that seems most appropriate for an activity. If your loved one has more energy in the morning, take a walk with them after breakfast. If they are more alert in the evening, try reading together or working on a puzzle after dinner.

  • Develop a daily routine – Identify your loved one’s favorite activities and incorporate them into their daily routine. Try to keep their favorite activities fresh by modifying them periodically. For example, if your loved one likes art projects, switch out colored pencils for watercolors.

Engagement Activities You Can Try with Your Loved One at Home

Keep in mind that the best activities for your loved one are those that are consistent with their past preferences, hobbies, interests and routines. The list below offers some general examples of purposeful activities that have proven helpful, which you might also want to try.

  • Exercise: Walk, swim, yoga, tai chi, or dance

  • Hobbies and crafts: Paint, draw, garden, knit, play an instrument, or sing

  • Play games: Play sorting games or solve puzzles

  • Daily chores: Do laundry, wash dishes, or clean up around the house

  • Reminisce: Look through old photos, trinkets or souvenirs and talk about past times

  • Entertainment: Listen to music or watch favorite films

  • Pet therapy: Spend time playing with a pet

  • Sensory activities: Give a massage or manicure, or comb/style hair

Compassionate Care in a Purposeful, Life Enriching Environment

If your loved one’s memory loss has reached the point where they need around-the-clock care for their safety and well-being, you can trust the AHAVA Memory Care Center of Excellence at The Jewish Association on Aging. At AHAVA, we empower our residents to live engaging and fulfilling lives in our purpose-designed memory care community. Utilizing the Hearthstone Institute’s I’m Still Here® approach, AHAVA Memory Care Residence features a full social life, new learning experiences and group participation in life-enriching programs.

We also invite you to learn more about important memory care topics by visiting our News section that offers at-home caregivers and family members a wealth of helpful information.

To experience our memory care community designed for living, we invite you to call us at 412.521.8295 or visit us today.

AHAVA Memory Care Residence . . . For the Love of Seniors

The Jewish Association on Aging’s new AHAVA Memory Care Residence is the only Memory Care Center of Excellence in Pennsylvania certified by The Hearthstone Institute. At AHAVA, we provide the proven approach of Hearthstone’s life-enriching I’m Still Here® programming within a warm and comfortable atmosphere. With the Hearthstone approach, the expertise of our caregivers, the support of our community, and a purposeful design for those with memory loss, AHAVA Memory Care Residence is Pittsburgh’s premier resource for Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

The choice to partner with The Hearthstone Institute came from the desire to provide truly unique and specialized memory care programming to our residents. As a recognized leader in the field of Alzheimer’s care and founder of The Hearthstone Institute, Dr. John Zeisel’s philosophy and approach deeply aligns with ours – to create nurturing environments where those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss can flourish. We have created an atmosphere of hope for our residents and their families – a place where everyone cares for, respects, and loves one another.

Built with purpose and love, and designed for living, AHAVA Memory Care Residence is more than just a place to be cared for – it’s a place to experience joy. Our personalized memory care program, delivered within a licensed assisted living community, provides the dignified assistance that’s needed, along with the lifestyle, services, and amenities that are desired.

Please contact us today or call us at 412.521.8295 for more information or to arrange a personal tour.