Keeping people with dementia engaged in meaningful activities

The following is sponsored content from L’Chaim Retirement Homes.

Engaging individuals with dementia in activities plays a vital role in enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life. Meaningful activities provide cognitive stimulation, a sense of purpose, social interaction, and emotional connection. By keeping people with dementia busy in activities, caregivers and loved ones can promote positive experiences, reduce challenging behaviours, and create a supportive environment that fosters dignity and happiness.

L’Chaim chooses to use a Montessori Approach. Montessori programming gives seniors the opportunity to use their hands and their five senses to activate and stimulate their minds. Being able to focus on the task at hand and to experience success again helps people with memory loss feel more secure and confident and less angry and frustrated.

This positive approach to dementia care is a source of creativity and comfort to people both with dementia and caregivers alike. For example, most caregivers focus on physical care or one-sided conversations. They often don’t understand how to reach the person with dementia and have them engage in a cognitive or practical activity. This is mostly due to the lack of understanding of how the brain of a person with dementia works.

Our trained staff understand that the procedural memory, otherwise known as the long-term memory, is very much intact. Skills and habits are part of the procedural memory. Asking a person with dementia if they want to do something will most likely result in a bold “no” or not respond at all, leaving the caregiver feeling that they can’t do the activity at hand.

Montessori is most effective when incorporated in all areas of life. The goal is to engage each resident in meaningful moments that add purpose to their lives with the feeling of contribution to their community. This would be an individual process according to each person’s level of ability, interests, needs and skills.

For instance, a woman who used to be a schoolteacher would be given “spelling test” to mark. She would have a card with the words spelled correctly, to serve as a visual cue along with some pages of words that may or may not be spelled correctly. She would then mark the sheets with checkmarks or Xs. This activity would help her feel purposeful, give her a sense of contribution, exert some brain and body energy ultimately bringing her joy.

Another example is how art can come to life when using a full coloured picture as a visual cue. Setting up an environment with paints, brushes, an uncoloured outlined picture, and the same fully coloured picture as a visual cue will set the person with dementia up for success. By placing the fully coloured picture in front of the person, they don’t have to recall the picture from their memory.

Boredom and lack of stimulation can contribute to increased anxiety, restlessness, and agitation in individuals with dementia. Engaging them in activities provides a positive outlet for their energy and helps redirect their focus towards something enjoyable and purposeful. By reducing feelings of frustration and anxiety, meaningful activities can help create a calmer and more peaceful environment.

Keeping individuals with dementia busy in activities can help minimize challenging behaviours such as agitation, wandering, and constant request for attention. When individuals are engaged in activities that

capture their interest and attention, they are less likely to exhibit disruptive behaviours. Activities provide a positive outlet for their energy and help manage and prevent challenging behaviours.

You can expect all the above mentioned at L’Chaim. Our expertise is in caring for those with moderate to severe dementia in the most loving and homelike environment. Just as important as physical care is self esteem and living life to it’s fullest. With a PSW to resident ratio of 1:2, we provide 24/7 care, and our team is devoted to creating a purposeful and meaningful day for each of our residents.

For more information, we welcome you to call Deborah at 416-398-7898 or email [email protected]. Discover the L’Chaim buzz!