I have found that in dealing with Alzheimers/Dementia residents, you need to try to find out what your residents like and their individual needs, read their history, talk to their families, ask them. You will find that different activities will work some days and times and others won’t.
The best thing to remember is that the residents are not babies and should be treated with respect at all times. Have fun with them and keep them busy, look out for Sundowning (restless behavior towards the late afternoon hours ). Try to keep a consistent program. Enjoy yourself! These are the most rewarding residents that I have found to work with.
by Gina Salazar, Activity Director, http://www.theactivitydirectorsoffice.com/
Here are a few ideas and sample activity days that you might try:
Get items that can be sorted by the residents such as buttons (different sizes and colors), poker chips, balls, bottle caps, forks, spoons, rocks, etc. Have residents sort items out, make sure to always have staff by the resident to watch that they don’t eat items.
Give resident some clay or play dough and have them make something,anything. This is good exercise for their hands.
Have your residents go through different magazines and look for a specific item. Examples: birds, ladies, babies, cats, dogs, food, cars etc., then have residents cut the items out and make their own “books.”
What’s in the Bag?
Get a bag and fill it with different items such as cotton balls, sandpaper, leaves, newspaper, felt,q-tips, golf ball, sock, clothespin, etc., then have residents take turns and feel whats in the bag, and tell you what the items are.
Get Cheerios, fruit loops, popcorn,or honey combs cereal and some string and let your residents string up a chain to put outside for the birds. This activity is fun because they can eat some while they make their chains.
Make a fruit salad: get different fruits and have residents cut up with plastic knives, add whipped cream or plain yogurt. Yummy!
Get a small/large George Forman Grill and buy some hot dogs and have a BBQ!! The George Forman Grill is great to have for your facility because its small,cleans up easy, and the smell of the cooking item on the grill is wonderful for the residents .Other items to grill: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,Chicken Breasts for Chicken Salad & Quesidellas.
Other stuff to make
Tuna Salad, Smoothies, Ice cream Sundaes, Pizza Boats, and Nachos.
I have found that if you can have animals at your facility, do it!!! They can be a lot of work but they residents really respond to dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, turtles and most any animals.And the fun part is that you can get your residents to help with their care, feeding, and walking the dogs.
Get some residents and a ball and have some fun, place residents in a circle and roll ball towards residents, let them kick it or toss it.
Have residents fold clothes, sweep,dust, vacuum and set dining room tables. Alzheimer’s residents love to help. I have found that if you say ” I am so busy, can you help me fold these clothes Mrs. Johnson?” they will love to do it.
Take your residents outside for a walk, always take a caregiver or someone else with you and a cell phone if possible.
Music soothes the soul,put on some music any kind of music, and just sit back with your residents and listen, some residents may sing along, some will dance, anything goes. Have fun….
Alzheimers’ Activity Ideas That Work
by Gina Salazar, AD
Quick List from the Columbia, Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association