In the early stages of dementia the person may slowly withdraw from activities they once enjoyed. It is important to help the person to remain engage.
- Time of day - Caregivers may find they have more success with certain activities at specific times of day, such as bathing and dressing in the morning.
- Activities to fit disease stages - As the disease progresses, you may want to introduce more repetitive tasks. Be prepared for the person to eventually take a less active role in activities.
- Be mindful of the person's skills and abilities - A person with dementia may be able to do simple songs learned on the piano years ago.
- Attention to what the person enjoys - Remember what makes the person happy, anxious, distracted or irritable. Some people enjoy watching sports, while others may be frightened by noise.
- Consider if the person begins activities without direction - Does he or she set the table before dinner or sweep the kitchen floor mid-morning? If so, you may wish to plan these activities as part of the daily routine.
- Be aware of physical limitations - Does he or she get tired quickly or have difficulty seeing, hearing or performing simple movements?
- Enjoyment, not achievement - Find activities that build on remaining skills and talents. A professional artist might become frustrated over the declining quality of work, but an amateur might enjoy a new opportunity for self expression.
- Involvement in daily life - Activities that help the individual feel like a valued part of the household — like setting the table — can provide a sense of success and accomplishment.
- Relate to past work life - An office manager worker might enjoy activities that involve organizing, like labeling folders. A farmer or gardener may take pleasure in working on the garden.
- Look for favorites - The person who always enjoyed drinking hot chocolate and reading the newspaper may still find these activities enjoyable, even if he or she is not able to understand all the articles.