Friday, December 11, 2009

Dementia Holiday Activities That Lower Stress and Raise the Joy

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals,here is some great information

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here are more interesting dementia brain boosting activities

Here is a dementia music activity

by Paula Spencer, senior editor

Holiday stress can soar for caregivers whose loved ones have Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. And for good reasons: Your own already-bursting to-do load stretches longer than the lines at the post office. Safety worries intensify – the person who has dementia may want to drive to the mall to shop, wander away in a crowded store, or insist on resuming dangerous old habits or activities, like baking or woodworking. You may feel prickles of grief over things the person can no longer do (travel cross-country to visit grandchildren or set up the Christmas tree, for example). Beloved traditions -- especially lots of lights, lots of company -- may now be bothersome or frightening to your relative. And did I mention that longer-than-ever to-do list?

One solution: Help the person keep busy and engaged with repetitive seasonal activities. Repetition that seems tedious to the rest of us is often soothing to someone with cognitive impairment. These activities stoke feelings of accomplishment and pride. All good: Call it repetitive de-stress syndrome.

Some ideas:

Make decorations

Set the person to work stringing garlands. All you need is a long heavy thread and a darning needle. Try stringing cranberries, popcorn, even O-shaped cereal (Fruit Loops are cheerfully colorful).

Fashion paper chains. These require a bit more dexterity: You have to cut the strips of paper, then curl them around one another and staple. A good project to have an older grandchild supervise while the person with dementia helps in whatever way she can. Use construction paper or, for a really festive look, heavy-stock wrapping paper.

Make pomanders. Clove-studded oranges to hang or display in a bowl are not only lovely, but their scent may evoke calming, happy memories. Again, they require a little dexterity but not much. Instructions here (scroll down; it's a different blog I do just-for-fun).

Have fun with food

Make cookies.Someone once famous......more tomorrow

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