One of the benefits of in home care is the ability to make it personalized to the senior’s needs and preferences. We call this “personal touch home care” because it is the little things that add to quality of life. No one wants to be forced to adhere to someone else’s schedule or change the ways they’re used to doing things for many years. With personal touch home care, a senior can stick to his/her usual routine and preferred activities.
One of the things a good caregiver can also do is encourage the senior to stay active and engaged. When someone experiences health problems and limited mobility, they may withdraw from their usual activities and may help finding ways activities can be modified to continue enjoying them.
Why are mentally stimulating activities and continued engagement so important?
Seniors who rarely participated in mentally stimulating activities showed a higher level of cognitive decline than those who participated regularly.
Cognitive reserve is a theory to explain why some people who develop Alzheimer’s can continue to maintain normal lives while others suffer severe symptoms. “Lifelong experiences, stimulating activities, education and midlife occupation, as well as leisure activities in later life, can help build this cognitive reserve to protect us, ” shares Yaakov Stern, a Columbia University professor of clinical neuropsychology.
Exercise and social engagement are important for brain and overall health. Social isolation and loneliness increase the risk of depression.
Personal Touch Home Care Activity Ideas
Start by thinking about the person’s interests and past activities. Brainstorm a list of interests.
Do an online search for related activities in the local area or within driving distance (museums or sites, groups, upcoming performances or lectures).
Think of creative ways to incorporate these interests into at-home activities. Could you get DVDs, find YouTube videos, or sign-up for an online course on a favorite subject? Can you get materials to complete a project of interest? Could you set up Skype for conversations with friends at a distance (also great for someone who either wants to learn another language or wants to practice/converse to keep up those skills–great brain stimulating activity!)?
For those with more significant impairments, such as a senior with advanced Alzheimer’s, consider activities that integrate sensory stimulation. Simple activities that engage different senses can build connections for the person. Music is an area that we often find success with when providing personal touch home care for people with Alzheimer’s. It is not uncommon to find that a person who rarely verbalizes will suddenly sing along to an old hymn or common song from childhood.
Here are some great resources for senior-friendly activities:
You can also check out the many resources online for activity directors at senior centers and senior care facilities (one fun site is http://www.notjustbingo.com/). These can often be adapted for a personal touch home care situation, or give you ideas for outings or seasonal activities.
If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, we have several posts on cool summertime activities and local points of interest (with senior-friendly tips and discounts). Search “activities” on our blog for plenty of ideas.
Contact EasyLiving for personal touch home care services! Home care, for the way you live!