Enjoying the Outdoors with People with Alzheimer's: Summer Wildlife
Outdoor creatures of nature are busy and easily seen in summer and offer a great opportunity to engage patients with memory loss. Here are some easy, inexpensive, and simple ideas to do with adaptations to allow use at different stages of dementia.
Birds - Hang a feeder with bird seed. Try different types of seed to attract different types. Have the person with memory loss help fill the feeder providing a cup to pour the seed and with verbal directions, as needed. Hummingbird feeders are also fun. The person can help mix together the solution and pour it in. Hang feeders in locations that can be easily viewed from inside and announce when you see arrivals. Persons with later dementia can appreciate an indoor aviary.
Butterflies - Certain types of flowers attract butterflies, so consider planting some of them. You may also be able to visit a butterfly garden at a local zoo, nature center, or arboretum. For persons with later dementia stages, consider butterfly mobiles.
Other insects - Although they get a bad rap, it is actually very interesting to watch insects at work - such as ants, caterpillars, and ladybugs. You might collect a few and put them into a jar with leaves and twigs, for observation time. Lightening bugs are also interesting to watch.
Frogs - Again, fun to watch. Kids love to catch them. Enlist them to help catch a frog and put it into a bucket or wheelbarrow with some water. Remember to release Kermit later!