A visit with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can feel like an eternity. We are accustomed to moving quickly in this fast-paced world of ours. However, communication with our loved one is now limited and repetitive. Activities are slow and basic. And a little bit goes a long way.
Some thought prior to the visit can make it quite enjoyable. Activities will vary depending on how advanced the disease is in our loved one, the day, and even the time of day. Visits typically are best mid-morning to mid-afternoon, especially if our loved one experiences sundowning, a condition that increases agitation with the setting of the sun.
The key is to keep the visit relatively short, slow down our speech and movements, and remain in the present with them. Smile, listen intently, and don’t correct their misinformation or jumbled words. Just be.
Mobility can be an issue, but most enjoy a short walk or ride in a wheelchair, especially in the fresh air and sunshine on a warm day. Be certain to cover them with a blanket, sweater, or jacket before setting out as they easily are chilled.
Here are some other activities you may wish to enjoy together. You can repeat these activities often as they aren’t likely to remember doing them with you, and if they do, may be comforted by the familiarity.
- Look through a picture book such as one on animals or travel.
- Look through family photo albums.
- Listen to music.
- Sit in a garden and watch the birds.
- Watch a TV program they don’t have to follow such as America’s Got Talent, The Voice, a game show, sporting event, or familiar, classic movies.
- Play a game of checkers.
- Play a simple card game.
- Plant small flower pots.
- Draw/color simple designs.
- Read aloud from Scripture or other holy writings.
- Page through a colorful magazine.
- Read aloud a short story.
- Pet a calm dog or cat.
- Sing familiar songs.
- Tell favorite stories of them from earlier years.
- Brush their hair.
- Give them a manicure.
- Massage their hands with lotion.
If you have other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you! Please comment.