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Dementia and Winter Activities

Beating the Winter Doldrums When a Loved One Has Dementia

As we head into March, most of us begin longing for the first signs of spring. With spring comes warmer weather and more opportunities to venture outdoors. We all look forward to being able to open a window occasionally and not worry about a blast of cold air hitting us in the face.

For individuals with dementia, the winter months can really take their toll. Sunlight is rare, clouds are abundant, the days are shorter and there are fewer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

That doesn’t mean your parent or other loved one with dementia has to spend all his or her time sitting in front of a TV set, however. There are plenty of indoor activities that, if planned properly can help boost your loved one’s mood and keep everyone engaged and entertained. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Make a scrapbook. It can contain old photos and other mementos that your mom or dad may have sitting in boxes. This is a great time to bring them out and begin sorting through them. You may even spark a memory or two while working together on this project.
  • Have a gentle exercise session. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day to do a series of gentle exercises together. Put on some music and encourage mom or dad to move with you. You may even dance a bit if it makes it more enjoyable. Be sure to monitor them for over exertion.
  • Play cards. While it’s important to “keep it simple”, games like Old Maid or other family favorites can be enjoyable. Simple matching games can also be fun without being stressful.
  • Have a spontaneous tea party or coffee break. Let your parent set the table with napkins and plates and bring some healthy baked goods for both of you to enjoy.
  • Bake together. Bake cookies or follow another simple recipe you know that your mom or dad will enjoy. While you may do most of the work, have your parent sit near you and enjoy the conversation and aroma of fresh cooking.
  • Invite a couple family members or trusted friends to visit. Keep the numbers small and keep the conversations calm and light. Place a clear limit on the visit as well. Seeing fresh faces, especially those of younger children, can be therapeutic to those struggling with dementia.

At Anthem Memory Care communities, we make sure that our residents have plenty of activities to keep them engaged and connected to themselves and those around them.

Consider bringing your loved one to your local Anthem Memory Care community for a short stay with us. Your mom or dad can enjoy our many activities and get a taste of what it would be like to live in our community. It will also give you time to keep those appointments you may have been neglecting and have some time to yourself.

Above all, look at the bright side. Spring will be here soon!