What better way to kick off our service than by shining some light on what Active Caregiving does best – Activity for Seniors. Without getting into the technical, or theoretical today, let’s focus on dispelling a myth about seniors and activities. Are you picturing me calling out Bingo numbers in a Nursing Home yet? Admittedly yes, I’ve called out MANY Bingo numbers in my day, and I’ve loved it. I digress, the misconception here is that Activities for Seniors are just games and entertainment. The truth is, Activity goes beyond [just] having fun; it is a purposeful, goal oriented method of supporting individuals with complex care needs. As an Activity Professional, we utilise an individual’s past and present interests, routines, abilities, and desires to determine what and how we will engage them in areas of life that are meaningful and familiar to them.
Think of your current interests, tasks, and hobbies, and how they impact your quality of life. 20, 30, 40 years in the future you may be retired, and unable to access and participate in those same activities due to disability, or age related illness. As you have envisioned, our involvement in activity has such great impact on our quality life, and so we must help create access to these opportunities as our families age.
What we do in our leisure time brings us joy, helps us to relax, and brings meaning and purpose to our life. As our parents and grandparents age, and their mobility and cognition decline, apathy may set in and the things they once loved doing, may now seem impossible. Imagine your golf loving father no longer interested in his beloved game. What was once his passion, has now become a sport he’s grown “too old” for.
Activity for Seniors is about taking important elements of what your father enjoyed and using a little creativity to discover new ways for him to participate. Modify the golf game, do mini-put in the backyard, or lay out all his golf equipment and have him sort it, and discuss what each item is for. The experience may not be as competitive, but may still be as challenging and enjoyable, yielding the same satisfaction as playing a game of golf.
Activity can be different things to different folks; for some it may be passively listening to a favourite radio station, for another it could be sewing a quilt and selling it online. Making opportunities accessible and engaging our loved ones in meaningful activity is a crucial component of support, as it nourishes their sense of meaning and enhances their quality of life.
- LB, Care Partner at Active Caregiving Inc.
What activities have you tried with your loved one? What modifications did you make?
Excellent article. Helping a person with dementia retain a sense of self – who they are – can definitely enrich their life. I am looking forward to more blogs with more insight into how to navigate this very difficult disease.
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Yes, activities are especially important to individuals with dementia. Keeping the mind and body engaged help the individual maintain their abilities and can even slow down the progression of dementia. Thank you for your comment, I look forward to more discussion with you!