Modifying Activities to Meet the Needs of Patients Suffering from Dementia
Activities are an essential aspect of dementia care and everyone should be able to do some type of activity. Keep in mind when taking care of patients suffering from Dementia that doing activities need not be complicated. The important thing to remember is to always base your activity on the patient’s abilities. Anything can be an activity, and the desired outcome is always a success.
Understand the Capabilities of the Patient –
The capabilities of the patient will differ because each patient with dementia is different. Also, not all patients lose the same skills at the same stage of the disease, so there’s no overall rule to follow.
It is important to look at what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. This depends on the following:
• Their attention span
• Their communication style and ability
• Their physical abilities
• Their cognitive abilities (memory, thinking, reasoning)
• Their spiritual need
Keep in mind the following when planning activities:
• Certain skills or talents, such as art and music, remain with the patient well into the disease process
• Activities cannot be done “incorrectly” by the patient
• Dementia specific activities are “can’t fail” activities
Reminiscing Activities –
Reminiscence is an approach that focuses on past experiences from the patient’s long term memory. This is typically a strength for people with dementia. Remembering is a healthy part of life review, and it will help the care giver get to know them better. Memories can be both happy and sad
• Examples – Look at old photographs together , Flip through old magazines
Music is a part of everyday life. It creates and brings back memories, and promotes expression. Music can be therapeutic throughout all stages of dementia. It is a social activity and encourages movement. Music defines an era. Here are some tips to give back the joy of music with the patient:
o Ask the patient if he/she liked music, and if so, what kind
o Use familiar music from the right era
Dance is failure free and encourages movement and exercise. It is a social activity that promotes individuality. Dance activities are easy to plan and implement, and do not require verbal skills. Dance can both create and bring back memories.
When giving back the joy of dance with the patient, remember the following:
o Consider the patient’s music preferences, and ask him or her if dancing is enjoyable
o Consider the patient’s physical abilities
o Use tapes, records, or the radio
Art activities help to improve the patient’s self-image and do not require verbal skills. They provide control and choice, and are failure free. Art helps to recreate life stories. Art activities provide socialization and are an avenue for creativity.
• Involve life stories in the art
• Consider the patient’s abilities
• Display the patient’s artwork
Holidays are wonderful opportunities to share and reminisce about past memories. It is important to always provide celebrations for special occasions and cultural events. At times, holidays can be depressing and agitating to the patient, so discover which holidays and special events the patient celebrated and how they preferred to celebrate.
You can give back the joy of holidays and special occasions by celebrating the following:
The original article can be found on www.BAYADA.com.