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Home > Dementia Care Tips

Dementia Care Tips

Incorporating Activities in Dementia Care

The person living with dementia may become more reluctant to do activities as their abilities decline. This may be to fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or just due to the nature of the disease.  All can lead to inactivity.  People with mild cognitive impairment or beginning early stage dementia can take steps themselves to stay active. As the person declines, he will need the guidance and support of caregivers - which may be family or hired staff in a private home or "home" in a memory care facility.  MindStart activity products give all types of caregivers quick and easy to use items.   

Set-up and Communication Approaches for Dementia Activities

Dementia care in the later-early stage dementia, midde, and late stages may require consideration of these factors, when keeping the person with dementia active:
  • Stage of dementia and appropriate dementia activity level, so the caregiver doesn't choose something too hard or too easy.  MindStart activity products gives choices for the right level of challenge.
  • Time of day.  For example, a more physical activity for when the person has more energy and a low-key activity for later in the daySt. Paul Pioneer Press 10/30/2011
  • The environment where the activity takes place.  Is it too loud, is the area cluttered? Aim for a calm setting.
  • The communication approach:
    • The caregiver may ask the person indirectly to participate.  For example, instead of, "Do you want to play a game?" try "I have something that I need your help with."  This approach can be less threatening to the person with dementia.
    • Be flexible and allow for errors; it is the doing that is important, not the outcome
    • Give praise and thanks for the efforts made by the person  

Learning to Simplify for Alzheimer Activities 

Activities can be simplified in a progressive manner to allow success for multiple stages of Alzheimer's or other dementia. Types of activities can include self-care skills, physical activities,  cognitive tasks, and reminiscing.  Here is an example of how you would simplifty the activity of washing dishes, starting from the caregiver providing minimal assistance to maximal assistance:
  • Set-up: The person can complete the activity after the required supplies are set-up. The soap and dishrag are place next to the sink of dirty dishes.
  • Supervision: The person requires supervision to help with recognizing errors and solving unexpected problems.  The correct water temperature is monitored 
  • Prompting: The person requires verbal and/or physical prompts.  A missed stain is pointed out or "what next?" is asked when the dishes are washed but not dried.
  • Direct verbal cues: The person requires cues delivered one or two steps at a time.  "Put the soap in the water.  Rub the plate with the washcloth", etc.
  • Physical assistance: The person requires your hand over theirs to direct the action. Your hand over their hand, guides the motion of washing the dish.