Even when living with dementia, your senior loved one’s creative nature can persist. Projects enabling self-expression keep life fascinating. Constructive pursuits affirm your loved one’s abilities and self-worth. Some endeavors preserve hand-eye coordination, motor function, dexterity, and strength along with happy memories. Here are a few ways to kindle your loved one’s creative energies.
1. Decorating Picture Frames
The ways to embellish picture frames are limitless. Choosing from various materials engages the senses and decision-making skills. Customizing the artwork hones concentration, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.
When the project is complete, your loved one can insert a photo that invokes pleasant memories or offer the frame as a gift, bringing joy to the recipient. Decorations can honor special occasions such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and holidays.
You can find inexpensive unfinished wooden frames at craft and dollar stores. While you’re there, also get acrylic paint, water-based varnish, and brushes so your loved one can dress the wood. You’ll also need craft glue for affixing the trimmings to the frame.
Once the painted frame is dry, your loved one can glue on the embellishments. Provide a few options like shells, pasta, beads, colored tissue paper, braided rope, ribbon, buttons, straws, and scrapbook paper.
Once the glue sets, have your loved one apply two coats of varnish, drying the frame between coats. Then, if desired, insert a photograph. To commemorate an occasion, provide related embellishments. For example, a Valentine’s Day gift could feature red paint and candy hearts imprinted with loving sentiments.
2. Growing Herbs Indoors
Herb cultivation activates the senses of touch, smell, sight, and taste. While tending the plants, your loved one is using his or her motor skills and hand-eye coordination. When inhaling herbal fragrances, your parent gains the benefits of aromatic plant oils. Meals flavored with herbs awaken the taste buds, making food more appetizing. Dried herbs can be used for potpourri, sachets, and tea.
Herbs need bright light to thrive. Ideal spots are windows that face east, west, or south and provide at least six hours of unobstructed sunlight. To keep plants growing upright, ask your loved one to rotate the pots daily. If the house lacks sunny windows, keep plants under a full-spectrum grow light left on for at least 12 hours daily.
Plants amenable to indoor cultivation are bay laurel, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and lavender. Best grown from seed are basil, chervil, and cilantro, resowing them after they produce seeds. Other herbs that grow well indoors are parsley, sage, tarragon, peppermint, sweet marjoram, and chives.
3. Baking Bread
For seniors with dementia, baking yeast bread from scratch can be therapeutic due to the sensory stimulation it provides. While measuring ingredients and proofing yeast, your loved one is alert and focused. Kneading bread dough eases tension, helping your parent feel calm. When collaborating with a kitchen helper, your loved one is communicating and interacting socially. Upon seeing the finished loaves, the accomplishment will boost your parent’s self-esteem, and the scent of freshly baked bread may perk his or her appetite.
Tasty bread options to consider baking are multigrain, egg, sourdough, herb, potato, rye, challah, focaccia, and cinnamon raisin. Since yeast breads need time to rise, allot four hours for the entire baking process.
Individuals with dementia may need assistance with baking or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care service. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
4. Arranging Flowers
This activity offers tactile, visual, olfactory, and motor stimulation, and it provides the opportunity to make choices and decisions. Simultaneously, the brain is busy recognizing patterns and comparing colors and textures. Flower arranging also imparts relaxation, a sense of purpose, and the pride of achievement.
For a fresh flower arrangement, choose blooms with sturdy stems, such as calendulas, Gerbera daisies, carnations, lilies, snapdragons, and chrysanthemums. If possible, provide your loved one’s favorite flower to evoke happy memories. Also obtain filler, such as baby’s breath, ivy, ferns, eucalyptus, statice, poms, or stock.
Have a few types of nonbreakable vases on hand from which your loved one can make a selection. If your loved one can safely handle pruning shears, let him or her cut the flower stems. Show your parent how to make an angled cut, which increases water intake.
To help flowers live longer, your loved one should change the vase water every two days and recut the stems by half an inch from the bottom. Your loved one can also preserve blooms by adding a crushed aspirin tablet to the vase water.
Aging adults with dementia can benefit from engaging in creative activities with partners. In Tucson, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
5. Building Birdhouses
This hobby is well suited to men, particularly those who’ve enjoyed repairing objects and working with their hands. Crafting a birdhouse channels your loved one’s focus while enabling him or her to feel useful. Sanding, painting, and assembling the pieces engages motor function, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.
When your loved one sees the completed birdhouse on the property, he or she will be gratified by providing shelter to local birds. Hearing and seeing the happy inhabitants will bring a smile to your loved one’s face.
Birdhouse kits are sold by garden centers, online retailers, and hardware, craft, and hobby stores. Designed for bird lovers of all ages and skill levels, they come with detailed instructions and precut wood pieces. If tools are difficult for your loved one to manage, you can buy birdhouses assembled with glue. If certain bird species frequent your area, choose specific kits that will invite them to your loved one’s yard. Designs are also available in cute styles such as gazebo, church, and log cabin.
6. Making Centerpieces
The benefits of crafting centerpieces are similar to those of flower arranging. Additionally, the keepsake is permanent. When designing several displays, rotating them may instantly refresh your parent’s joy, or he or she can offer them as gifts.
Provide a choice of objects to star in a centerpiece, such as a pillar candle, glass jar, or upturned flower pot painted with your loved one’s artistic touch. Another option is layering different types of shells or quartz stones inside a clear vase or lantern.
For a seasonal centerpiece, provide complementary accessories such as mini flags for Independence Day, gourds for autumn, pine cones for winter, plastic eggs at Easter, and ornaments at Christmastime. You can find supplies for centerpieces at flea markets and craft, dollar, and thrift stores.
Once your loved one has selected the focal object for the centerpiece, set it on a large tray, cake stand, or plate. If using silk flowers, provide a Styrofoam block to insert them in. Next, have your loved one arrange items around the base, such as silk foliage, berries, and flowers. Curly ribbon is a pretty embellishment. To further personalize the project, include a cheery photo from your loved one’s past, summoning good memories.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (520) 276-6555 to schedule a free consultation.