Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 4th of April 2019.
Therapeutic activities provide a dynamic way to focus on an individual’s personal interests and memories, and are a great way to help keep someone both mentally and physically active. Choosing activities which are suitable for your loved ones skills can help to improve their overall wellbeing.
Encouraging your loved one to take part in arts and crafts activities can be very therapeutic for reducing anxiety and providing a sense of accomplishment, which helps to give your loved one a sense of self. Tailoring the difficulty of the activity to your loved ones skill level ensures that it is not too challenging or too simple for them.
When choosing an artistic activity for your loved one, why not ask if they would prefer to paint, draw, colour or perhaps take part in some crafts where you build something together. There are a multitude of different artistic activities which are suitable for those living with dementia and provide a great amount of benefits, from reducing anxiety to providing a way for your loved one to express themselves.
Why not take advantage of the great outdoors; weather permitting of course. Walks are a great way of encourage gentle exercise, and provide your loved one with the chance to get outside and experience new or familiar locations. Being outdoors provides many health benefits along with helping with mental stimulation and inducing relaxation.
When choosing where to go, consider whether it will be a calm and peaceful place and if your loved one will be comfortable there. Choosing somewhere familiar can be excellent from a reminiscence perspective. Many parks now have accessible walking trails which are perfect for a relaxing walk so do some research before you venture out to ensure the location is suitable for your loved ones mobility levels.
Puzzles and games can help to stimulate cognitive thinking which in turn helps to improve mental wellbeing. Choose a puzzle which is at the right skill level for your loved one and something which is personal to them, for example picking a jigsaw with an image you know they will be fond of. This will help to keep interest and give your loved one a sense of accomplishment once it is completed.
Scrapbooking can be an incredibly personal activity which can help to encourage reminiscence in your loved one by sparking memories and encouraging conversations.
To start making a scrapbook with your loved one you can use family photographs, images from favourite magazines or even ticket stubs. A great tip for scrapbooking with your loved one is to photocopy everything you plan to use so you can do the activity more than once. Whilst you are going through each photograph why not ask questions about each item to encourage conversation. Not only will your loved one benefit from making the scrapbook itself, but they can also keep it and look through it time and again as part of reminiscence activities.
Spending time with animals can really brighten your loved one’s day. There are a few fun ways you can include pet therapy in to your activities, including spending time with a pet you have at home, visiting a therapy animal or going to a farm or zoo. Spending time with pets and animals can uplift the spirits of those living with dementia and help to create happy memories. Keeping in mind that therapeutic activities should be tailored to your loved one’s preferences; pet therapy shouldn’t be used for people who have an aversion to animals.
There are many different therapeutic activities which you can take part in with your loved one. With a variety of different benefits, and each activity could be suited to a different times depending on how your loved one is feeling. It’s also important to consider what your loved one enjoys doing and tailoring activities around that.