Sponsored by Gleam in Your Eye
Regularly participating in stimulating activities can help maintain existing cognitive and physical abilities. These activities will also bring joy and encourage social connection.
At Gleam in Your Eye, our mission is to encourage positive cognitive stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s.
While developing our specialized dementia activity boxes, we found that there are four key considerations when helping someone with dementia engage in cognitively stimulating activities.
1. Make it fun
For someone living with Alzheimer’s, even basic everyday tasks can be challenging and frustrating.
So it’s essential to make these activities fun as well as enriching.
To find activities that they’ll enjoy, think about their likes and dislikes and past hobbies. For example, they might like reading, music, art, crafts, puzzles, etc.
Participating in fun activities together with your loved one is a great way to stimulate their mind and also enjoy each other’s company.
2. Stay flexible
When choosing a time of day for mentally engaging activities, take into account their typical energy levels.
Each person is different, but many older adults are more alert and focused in the morning.
It’s also important to be persistent because they may sometimes refuse to participate in activities.
Don’t give up, it may take a little time and some trial and error to find activities that appeal to them, good times of day, and successful ways to introduce the activity.
You might even start working on an activity while sitting next to them – it will likely capture their interest.
3. Be safe
The most important thing is to make sure that the activities are safe for your older adult.
For example, make sure their space is well lit, they’re seated safely, they take breaks if they tire easily, and that distractions like TV or music are turned off.
Another example is if your older adult is prone to putting things in their mouths. In that case, avoid small or loose objects that could become a choking hazard.
Keeping safety in mind helps you create an environment that helps prevent injuries or accidents.
4. Keep it simple
To help your older adult feel successful, modify activities as needed to make sure they’re appropriate for their current cognitive abilities.
If the activity might be too overwhelming, you could also hide certain parts or bring them out as they make progress.
For example, you could pre-sort jigsaw puzzle pieces so they can be completed in smaller, more manageable sections. Or, play modified card games using a reduced number of cards.
And, when you’re helping them, give only one instruction at a time and allow them plenty of time to process the information and respond.
To boost your loved one’s self-confidence, it’s far better to do a little bit every day rather than take on an activity that’s too challenging.
Plus, overstimulation and frustration cause stress, which is counterproductive.
In order to be helpful, choose an activity that promotes self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment.
Gleam in Your Eye creates specialized memory activities for people with dementia
With a subscription, each month you’ll receive a box with 5 games developed for moderate-stage dementia, including:
- Sensory activities to stimulate long-term memory
- Logic games to exercise thinking and concentration
- Word games to exercise language
- Artistic activities to appeal to creative abilities
- Physical activities to maintain motor skills and slow the loss of coordination
With the help of health professionals, these activities have been designed to be difficult enough to be interesting, but not too difficult so they’ll have fun and feel successful.
Benefits for the person with dementia
- Practicing cognitive, manual, and physical activities help slow the progression of the disease.
- Being active reduces stress and anxiety levels.
- Success helps build and maintain self-confidence.
Benefits for caregivers
- Save time – there’s no need to spend hours searching for dementia activities.
- Put it on autopilot – boxes are home-delivered every month.
- Have variety on hand – older adults may have different preferences from day to day, so these boxes will allow you to have a variety of activities to offer.
- Take a break – these games can be played solo by your older adult so you can take a short break.
Benefits for friends and family
- These activities encourage interactions and can make visits easier and more enjoyable.
- A monthly box subscription makes a perfect gift, especially if you aren’t able to visit often, but want to show how much you care.
By Marie Vaudry, Founder of Gleam in Your Eye
About Gleam in Your Eye: Marie Vaudry is a passionate young entrepreneur driven by the desire to encourage entertainment and cognitive stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s. She has been particularly concerned about Alzheimer’s disease since 2012, when her mother was diagnosed with it at just 59 years old. She faced the all-too-common challenge of finding stimulating activities adapted to her changing cognitive abilities. So, Marie spent the next few years working with health professionals to create Gleam in Your Eye and develop an innovative product offering a monthly subscription box filled with fun and stimulating activities.