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  • Robin Dynes


These need to include mental and physical activities that have meaning for the person and also help maintain social contacts. Incorporating them into a regular daily routine will help avoid boredom and stress which cause many of the behavioural

problems that can surface. Consider:

1. Interests the person has had in the past – go back as far as childhood. Tap into skills from work and previous leisure activities such as pottery, art or refurbishing furniture. Think about the purpose for doing each activity. Is it just for pleasure or for a charity? Perhaps they could teach you or a family member a skill. Going for walks or doing something active for pleasure will also help maintain good health. Having an end purpose and reminding them about it frequently will give some motivation for doing the activity.

2. Activities that are new to the person. Joining a gentle exercise class: some are aimed at helping older adults maintain good balance. They are good for avoiding falls and also involve making social contacts. They may enjoy putting together their life history with grandchildren.

3. Activities do not need to be structured or complicated. Keep them non-competitive so there is no senses of failure or being unable to cope. Leave space for quiet times – active things in the morning and quieter activities in the afternoon and evening usually works best.

Here are some more suggestions:

· Involve the person in household tasks

· Music and dance

· Reading – use audio books if necessary

· Watching special TV programmes. Recording them to watch enables you to take a break in the middle.

· Play games – jigsaws, puzzles, quizzes and word games keep the mind active

· Reminisce about the past - - encourage family and friends to bring objects and photos to share

· Art – painting pots or on glass, as well as paper

· Knitting, sewing or embroidery, etc., as appropriate

· Going out and about – swimming, for a meal or a drive, visiting museums or garden centres.

Keeping someone with dementia active and engaged becomes more difficult as the dementia progresses. By focusing on what the person can do you can still maintain a range of enjoyable activities.

Remember you do not always have to do everything on your own. Involve family and friends, day care and companion services. This is important, so you maintain your own health to continue caring.

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