Written by Active Minds on Friday the 26th of January 2018.
When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it is vital that their quality of life is maintained. This will not only help them feel valued and respected, but can, in turn, help them feel less anxious and stressed. There are a number of aspects of their life that can be addressed, including:
Environment can have a profound effect on people living with dementia. Busy patterns on items such as wallpaper or carpets, can be a cause for confusion. Similarly, dimly lit rooms create shadows which a person with dementia may mistake for objects, leading to distress and disorientation. Background noise and images, such as TV or radio, can also cause agitation. Therefore, it is important that rooms are decorated in muted, simple, plain designs, with ample lighting. TV’s and radios should be turned off if they are just running in the background to avoid over stimulation. Mirrors should generally be removed as people with dementia may mistake images in mirrors for strangers and become scared and nervous.
Keeping a regular routine can help a person living with dementia feel less confused. The routine need not be complicated, simple activities such as meals, bathing, group activities and regular gentle walks work well, but the structure and familiarity of the schedule can help relax and calm a person living with dementia.
Regular and engaging activities are important to help stimulate a person with dementia, as well as helping them to socialise with other people. Activities based on a person’s hobbies and interests are a good place to start when creating suitable pas times, as well as ensuring there is a mixture of individual and group activities. Jigsaw puzzles and art projects help relax a person and create a sense of achievement on completion, whilst music groups such as sing-a-longs are not only fun but help spark memory if era specific songs are chosen. Gentle exercise such as yoga or seated exercise routines not only help keep bones and muscles supple, but help lift a person with dementia’s mood.