When a relative is suffering from dementia, it can be really hard to find activities that are stimulating and fun without being too challenging or dangerous. Hobbies that the person used to enjoy, like DIY projects or crossword puzzles, might be too difficult now that they're ill.
However, that doesn't mean you should give up. Taking part in activities can improve mood and mental health in dementia sufferers and help give them a much-needed sense of purpose.
Keep reading for four hobby suggestions.
1. Jigsaw Puzzles
While complex word and number puzzles might be too difficult for your relative, there's a good chance they'll still be able to put together a jigsaw puzzle.
Depending on your relative's mental state, you could choose a large puzzle with lots of small pieces, or a smaller puzzle made up of a few big pieces. Help your relative to sort pieces into colour piles, then put the puzzle together.
Don't worry too much about the results—this activity is all about having fun and staying occupied. If you're buying for several relatives, look into wholesale wooden jigsaws to save money.
2. Making Photo Albums
Photographs can help to trigger memories in dementia sufferers, and you may find that your relative can recall more about the distant past than about recent events.
Make photocopies of pictures from their life, and put together an album together. Look for childhood photos, wedding pictures and images of their old car or workplace. Take the time to discuss pictures, point out specific people and share your own memories about different times.
3. Singing Songs
Even those in the late stages of dementia can enjoy singing along to songs, and listening to music can be an excellent mood booster.
Put together a playlist of songs from your relative's younger years, and encourage them to sing and dance with you. The more people you can get involved in this activity, the better.
Did your relative take great pride in their garden before dementia took hold? While they may be limited now, they can still take part in simple gardening tasks like pruning, planting, re-potting and weeding.
Start small by asking your relative to fill a few pots with compost and plant seeds, then experiment with more complex tasks. Spending time in nature is great for well-being, so make this activity a priority if you can.
Finding ways to entertain and stimulate a relative with dementia is hard, but it's not impossible. Get started with the suggestions above.