More than five million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, a number that’s projected to double by 2060. Eventually, most families are touched by someone who has been diagnosed with some form of dementia. As a dementia caregiver, learning how to adjust your caregiving efforts to accommodate your loved one’s changing needs is essential for maintaining their quality of life. Here are some things you’ll need to consider when fine-tuning your dementia care plan.
Develop a Routine
Daily routines can be helpful for both of you. A planned day allows you to spend less time figuring out what to do and more time on meaningful activities that provide enjoyment.
That said, remember to make time for yourself by engaging in activities you enjoy. If possible, include your loved one in those activities, for example, taking a long walk. Structured, pleasant activities can often reduce agitation and improve mood for someone with dementia. Planning activities for them works best when you continually explore, experiment, and adjust.
Adjust Your Routine
Once you’ve established a daily routine, tweak your schedule based on:
- Your loved one’s likes, dislikes, interests, and abilities
- How they used to structure their day
- What times of day the person functions best
- Allowing enough time for meals, bathing, and dressing
- Setting regular times for going to bed and waking up, notably if your loved one experiences sleep issues or sundowning
Make sure to allow for flexibility within your daily routine for spontaneous activities. As dementia progresses, the abilities of your loved one will change. With creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving, you’ll be able to support their needs by adapting your daily routine.
Activity Ideas for Someone with Dementia
Keep your loved one with dementia content and engaged by trying some of these activities:
- Household chores
- Personal care
- Creative (music, art, crafts)