Written by Active Minds on Friday the 10th of May 2019.
For those living with dementia, memory loss and confusion can lead to increased levels of agitation and stress, which in turn can cause them to become withdrawn. It is important to be able to calm and soothe your loved one with relaxing activities to help reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety.
Tracking your loved ones moods will also help to identify what triggers the anxiety or stress, and in turn what helps to reduce these feelings. Keep in mind that not every activity will work for every person, and it may be a case of trial and error, but it will be worth it to keep your loved one at ease. Here are some suggested activities which can help to aid relaxation for someone living with dementia.
Getting some fresh air and introducing your loved one to a different environment can be a fantastic relaxing activity as it can help to takes their mind off their anxieties or worries. The fresh air can be relaxing in itself, and accompanying this with a light stroll can help to release stress and improve mood.
Taking the time to go on a walk with your loved one will also give you an opportunity to talk to them about how they are feeling and understand what may be causing the anxieties or stresses.
Having a garden to tend to and enjoy can be highly relaxing for those living with dementia, especially for those who have always enjoyed gardening or being outdoors, as it will likely trigger positive memories. The sensory experience from the sights and scents of the flowers, sounds of wildlife, along with the touch of the petals and soil all combine to create a highly relaxing activity.
If you don’t have access to an outdoor garden, why not set up a small indoor planting area where your loved one can see the benefits of the flowers growing every day, gaining a sense of accomplishment as they blossom.
Painting has long been considered a relaxing activity for many people, and this is also true of those living with dementia. Providing an excellent distraction from stress or anxiety, painting allows your loved one to express themselves through art and gain a sense of accomplishment. Remember to choose suitable painting activities for your loved ones abilities, that are safe and not too difficult.
Viewed as one of the most relaxing activities, yoga and meditation can be excellent for someone living with dementia. Although your loved one may not be able to complete the advanced poses, there are plenty of achievable yoga poses, along with the option of chair yoga or simply taking part in the breathing exercises.
The calming effects of both the exercise and breathing techniques can be highly relaxing and very beneficial for increasing positivity. Yoga is also an excellent group activity and can therefore assist in reducing loneliness and increasing social interactions, which in turn will help to improve mood. Always check with your loved ones doctors before involving them in exercise.
Taking part in activities which stimulate the mind can help to distract your loved one from feelings of anxiety and completing a puzzle can give them a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes a challenge is beneficial to stimulate brain activity and can act as a distraction, but remember to choose a puzzle which is of a suitable level as if it is too difficult this could also lead to frustration.
There are many different relaxing activities which can be highly beneficial for someone living with dementia. If your loved one is experiencing low moods, stress or anxiety why not try introducing different relaxing activities and see which one is most suited to them.