Anything that helps our estate and elder law clients protect and help the people most important to them is important to  Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates. In the course of offering compassionate counsel, it’s common for us to hear stories of family members suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, accounts for 50%-80% of dementia cases. And, while dementia can cause seniors to withdraw from activities, we were heartened to learn that stimulating activities can reduce the effects of severe cognitive impairment and lead to a better quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients.

Jennifer Wegerer, writing in the Alzheimer’s Association newsletter,  reminds family members and other caregivers how important it is “to create meaningful activities, not just fill time.”  For an activity to be meaningful it must:

  • stir memories
  • foster emotional connections with others
  • encourage self-expression
  • lessen anxiety and irritability
  • make people feel engaged with life

Activities might include:

  1. Arts and crafts with simple tools and patterns
  2. Organizational tasks
  3. Household cleaning tasks
  4. Gardening
  5. Looking at books
  6. Cooking or baking simple recipes
  7. Puzzles
  8. Reading the newspaper
  9. Watching family videos
  10. Playing music

Take a supportive, flexible approach, Wegerer advises, taking breaks and perhaps changing the activity to make it more enjoyable.  Remember, she says, concentrate on the process and not the results.  “What matters is that your loved one enjoyed the time spent on it and felt useful.”