4 Hobbies That Can Benefit Seniors with Alzheimer’s

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Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease are often anxious, agitated, and depressed. One way to rekindle their zest for life is by engaging in fun hobbies. Hobbies can help seniors recall memories, sustain neural connections, and relieve the irritability, nervousness, and confusion associated with Alzheimer’s. Mississauga, ON, Alzheimer’s care professionals discuss 4 hobbies that may benefit your elderly loved one if he or she is living with Alzheimer’s.

Gaming

Bingo is highly therapeutic for seniors with Alzheimer’s. In a 2001 study from the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 50 participants from six adult day care centers in New York played bingo. The cognitive stimulation of playing the game enhanced the subjects’ concentration, short-term memory, and word retrieval. Staff members noted increased alertness in their center members, a benefit lasting hours after testing. 

Bingo is suitable in all but the last stages of Alzheimer’s, according to Dr. John Schmid, founder of Best Alzheimer’s Products. Because the game is available in several versions, your loved one is not limited to using the number form. For example, your loved one can also play bingo involving animal and food identification.

For seniors with early and mid-stage Alzheimer’s, Dr. Schmid recommends Qwirkle. Similar to dominoes, players match tiles. However, Qwirkle’s pieces are large shapes in bright colors. While playing, your loved one can hone his or her planning, problem-solving, and spatial recognition skills.

Alzheimer’s organizations also recommend card, word, and board games. Those requiring the manipulation of pieces enhance hand-eye coordination. Word activities increase recall abilities and encourage communication, and board games involving association forge neural connections in the brain.

2. Cooking

Al-Rasub describes a few of the benefits of cooking for seniors with Alzheimer’s: 

  • Cognitive – Cooking stirs up memories, connecting your loved one with the past and reminding him or her of happy times.
  • Emotional – Preparing food boosts self-esteem. Your loved one can gain a sense of independence while enjoying the pride of accomplishment. Cooking is a soothing activity that decreases agitation.
  • Physical – Cooking is unique because it stimulating all 5 senses. Engaging your loved one’s senses heightens awareness of his or her surroundings and other people. The movement required by cooking helps maintain functional ability, flexibility, and strength. 

Alzheimer’s can cause a diminished appetite, but cooking spurs the incentive to eat. Under close supervision, your loved one can follow simple recipes, such as Jell-O, pudding, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt parfaits, salads, and soup. He or she can also peel vegetables, shell peas, and grind nuts. Other meal-related activities your loved one can assist with include setting the table and loading the dishwasher.

3. Scrapbooking

This hobby can help seniors recall memories from the recesses of their minds. Reminiscing helps maintain mental faculties and slows cognitive decline, and recalling pleasant events is relaxing, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. 

Creating a scrapbook is an ideal way for seniors to socialize. Many libraries and senior centers provide classes and group gatherings. Crafting calms anxiety by focusing the mind on easy tasks, and cutting, gluing, and captioning can hone dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.

Scrapbooking is a type of art therapy. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, art therapy helps seniors manage change, and it also relieves confusion and stress. Working with other people also promotes communication.

4. Coloring

Revisiting this childhood pastime may encourage your loved one to recall fun memories. Focusing on staying inside the lines is almost meditative, which relieves agitation. Repetitive strokes are calming, and coloring yields contentment by channeling self-expression.

If your loved one is hesitant to color, invite the grandkids over. The prospect of sharing the activity with them may prompt cooperation. Holding colored pencils enhances grip control and motor function, and the act of shading objects increases hand-eye coordination. Upon completing a picture, your loved one can enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

It’s crucial for seniors with Alzheimer’s to remain mentally engaged, which is why the elder care experts at Home Care Assistance created the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM). Our caregivers use the activities in CTM to help slow cognitive decline and encourage seniors to build new routines to look forward to, and they can also assist with various daily tasks. For more information on CTM and the elderly home care Mississauga, ON, families trust, call (905) 337-1200 today.