Caregivers of the person with dementia generally are in charge of all of the daily life responsibilities - meals, finances, medical appointments. and more. It can be hard to find time in the day to provide opportunities for engagement, or activity, for themselves and for the person with dementia.
But taking a break from the routine tasks is important for caregivers, to help with managing stress. And activities are so critical for the person with dementia, to help slow its decline and promote positive mood. One solution to this problem is to look to hobbies the caregiver enjoys and find ways to have the person with dementia join in, only in an adapted way.
Read more about the benefits of staying active with dementia
Turning Caregiver Hobbies Into Dementia Activities
Here are some ways to turn caregiver hobbies into activities for the person with dementia. The hobby is listed first, followed by ways to adapt the activity for the person with dementia.
- Read highlights of the news together
- Read one page stories or poems together
- Look at a picture book together
- Read aloud short poems or famous quotes
- Put on music you enjoy and listen together
- Make music together with instruments. This can be voice, piano, maraccas, tambourines
- You sing a few words of the song and the person fills in the rest of the words, like in the Finishing Lyrics book
- Music can reach the person even at late stages of the disease
- The person helps measure ingredients
- The person mixes or rolls dough
- The person smells and tastes the wonderful result
- Look at recipe books together, especially ones with pictures
- Watch a high school sporting event or children playing a sport at a local park. This can be less over-stimulating and crowded than a professional sports game, plus less expensive and easier to access.
- Try a putting 'green' kit you can put inside your home or small rubber ball and plastic pins for bowling
- Try the Wii version of bowling or tennis
- Play catch with a ball
- Work on a Baseball or Sports puzzle and talk about the sport
- Take the photos and download right after for the person to see the shots
- Look at photos together of important life events
- With a Polaroid camera, you can have instant results
With some pre-planning and flexibility, a caregiver might be able to find time in the day to enjoy their own choice of hobbies, while also providing activities for the person with dementia.