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Activities for Alzheimer's - A 'Treatment' of Choice

Posted by Monica Heltemes on 4/7/2015
Did you know that doing activities is a form of 'treatment' or therapy for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia? In the absence of medications that do much to slow the disease progression or safely reduce behaviors, 'activity' is slowly becoming known as a 'treatment' of choice and research is showing it works.

What is Activity for Alzheimer's?

An activity is not just an item on the schedule or a defined event, like a card game.  Activity can be thought of as all the things we do in a day - and I mean all things, especially when we are thinking of activity in relation to patients with Alzheimer's disease.  An activity for the person with dementia can be a self-care type of activity, such as shaving or combing one's hair.  It can be a cognitive-type of activity, such as a large piece puzzle or adapted word search.  It can be a physical type activity or others. Learn more about the types of activity for Alzheimer's.

Activity Slows Rate of Cognitive Loss for Dementia

It is the 'use it or lose it' phenomenon. If the person does not use the abilities that remain, they will lose those abilities at a faster rate. Research shows that those who continue to use the capabilities they have, can slow their rate of cognitive, better maintain abilities to perform self-care abilities, and increase their quality of life. In fact the research shows that the effects of cognitive stimulation activities is greater than the effects of medication.

Activity Reduces Behaviors for People with Dementia

Research also shows that staying active with dementia, can minimize the occurrence of behaviors that commonly occur with Alzheimer's and other dementia.  These behaviors can include anxiety, apathy, repeated questioning, and wandering.  These behaviors are usually seen across all types of dementia, but can be better or worse at the different stages of dementia.  Many things can trigger a behavior - from a noisy environment to a communication difficulty to a lack of activity.  The right activity - not too easy, not too hard, and one the person enjoys - can use the energy the person has in a positive way and help minimize behaviors such as these. An occupational therapist can be very helpful in determining the right type of activities and showing you how to incorporate them.  Learn more about appropriate activities for the person with dementia.

MindStart products give you an easy "pick up and go" activity that need no set-up. User guides that accompany most products show how you might use the products at different stages of dementia.  The products are already simplified and are made for people with dementia, so they promote success. For other, ongoing activity ideas, see our blog or sign up for our e-newsletter.   Think of one new activity you can have the person with dementia engage in and give it a try!  Both the person AND caregivers can benefit!

Learn more about MindStart products

Read more about the research discussed in this article


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1 Comments

Camille Nottingham
Date: 5/22/2016
I am a caregiver and I incorporate activities in my daily duties and I find activities are very helpful and enjoyable for both me and the client . I find Mind Start to be interesting and could be helpful.

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