If your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, it can severely strain your relationship. However, doing activities together that are cognitively and physically stimulating will likely increase your loved one’s enjoyment of life and decrease disruptive behavior. These Alzheimer’s activities may even slow the progression of the disease. The following is a short list of suggestions to try at home today.
While the effects of Alzheimer’s cannot be reversed, it may be possible to slow the degenerative process by engaging in activities that keep the mind and body alert and active. Studies show that cognition can improve with increased physical activity. Try some of these simple activities to be sure that your loved one stays active:
- Take a walk
- Go on shopping trips or other outings
- Do chores around the house
- Cook or bake
- Garden (indoor or outdoor)
- Try another form of exercise like work out videos, stationary bikes, or lifting weights
Keep in mind that activities will likely need to adjust for each individual patient and over time. Do not push your loved one any further than they are comfortable. For some, watching the activity is more enjoyable and comfortable.
Exercise the brain.
Cognitively stimulating activities can also be very enjoyable for your loved one. Evidence also suggests that keeping the brain active may slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Try to work the following suggestions into your loved one’s daily or weekly routine:
- Read a book, magazine, or newspaper
- Listen to the radio or news
- Play games like cards, checkers, or crosswords
- Complete puzzles
- Visit mentally stimulating places like museums or historical sites
Again, keep in mind that these activities may not be appropriate for all of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Whether your loved one can participate may depend a great deal on the severity of their condition. Be sure that your loved one actually enjoys the activity; otherwise it can be very frustrating for them to attempt to complete tasks that they are no longer able to do.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease contact the Palm Beach Neurological Center by calling 888-369-1010.
Wilson RS, Mendes de Leon CF, Barnes LL, et al. Participation in Cognitively Stimulating Activities and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease. JAMA. 2002; 287(6): 742-748. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.6.742.
Lautenschlager NT, Cox KL, Flicker L, et al. Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease. JAMA. 2008; 300(9): 1027-1037. doi: 10.1001/jama.300.9.1027.
Chaves M, Toral A, Bisonni A, et al. Treatment with vitamin D and slowing of progression to severe stage of Alzheimer’s diease. Vertex. 2014; 25(114): 85-91.
Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips: Daily Activities. The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center. Published July 2012. Accessed February 12, 2015.