The Alzheimer’s Association reports that by 2050, 12.7 million seniors age 65 and older are projected to have some form of dementia. In addition to creating struggles with memory, decision-making skills and language, dementia can cause changes to mood, depression, anxiety and increased irritability, as well as other health problems.
The Darkness of Winter Can Be Difficult for Those with Dementia
During the winter months, many seniors with dementia experience an increase in severity of their symptoms and have a much harder time managing day to day. This is also called sundowning, which is due to the short days and long nights. It doesn’t help that seniors with dementia can’t enjoy the outdoors in the winter due to dangerous conditions. So, loved ones and caregivers are left to come up with indoor winter activities that are fun and stimulating while learning to manage worsened symptoms.
Senior Living Improves Quality of Life
For seniors with dementia, a memory care senior living community can help improve quality of life. A memory care program, like the one at Norterre, offers the support a senior with dementia needs to feel productive and empowered, even during the cold, winter months. Residents at Norterre are provided a daily calendar of events, so they get to spend their days engaged in mind, body and soul. Memory care communities also provide peace of mind to the families knowing their senior loved one is provided the care they need.
Winter Activities for Seniors with Dementia
For seniors who are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, boredom and a lack of engagement or stimulation can be one of the most frustrating things. It is important for loved ones and caregivers to help by providing and participating in indoor winter activities that create opportunities for enjoyment and engagement. This in return can raise the spirits of the individual with dementia, help to prevent depression, and reduce irritability and anxiety, which are especially important during the winter months.
What are the best activities to do with seniors with dementia? What are some fun winter activities for seniors? Continuing to participate in activities they’ve enjoyed in the past can benefit seniors with dementia by sparking memories, fostering emotional connections, encouraging self-expression and even reduce the irritability and anxiety that often accompany Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
If you’re unsure how to start planning for the winter season, we’ve provided a list of activities you can try. Remember, in general, activities for seniors with dementia should be both simple and enjoyable.
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane. Reminiscing and watching family videos, admiring photo albums and talking about the good days are perfect wintertime activities. Home videos and family photos can spark memories, stimulate good thoughts and improve memory. However, it’s also important to not ask, “do you remember” too many times as they can become frustrated and overwhelmed.
Get Crafty. Creating art is an important part of memory care therapy. It promotes physical activity, creative expression and opportunities for bonding with peers. Whether it’s ornaments for a tree or table settings for a family meal, there are plenty of DIY crafts that make great art activities for seniors with dementia.
Mind-Stimulating Brain Games. Researchers across the world agree that brain games can help slow the progression of cognitive decline and are excellent exercise for individuals with dementia. When someone answers questions and learns new facts, they are working on improving their cognitive skills. At Norterre, team members draw on the latest research on memory care therapies to incorporate each resident’s interests, along with targeted sensory stimulation to create daily opportunities for socialization and engagement.
Create Favorite Recipes Together. Ideal for individuals who enjoy cooking, recreating favorite meals or treats is a great way to bring a healthy dose of nostalgia to anyone’s day. During the wintertime, holiday dishes, including those passed down through generations, can help spark important memories. You can also create a beloved dish without using an oven or stove. No-bake cookies, decorating a cake and even a cold dish can serve the same purpose while reducing risk and keeping safety top of mind.
Exercise Indoors. Exercise is beneficial at any age and helps seniors improve their physical and mental state. Simple, repetitive movements that get blood circulating can have a tremendously positive impact on seniors with dementia. Chair yoga, for example, is a great exercise option for those with limited mobility and can be practiced from the comfort of one’s home.
Senior Living Can Help
If your loved one lives in a memory care community, like Stratford Commons Memory Care Community, there are many available amenities and activities for your loved one to try out. Residents at Stratford Commons enjoy delicious, healthy meals, have opportunities for outings and social engagements, can participate in fitness programs and enjoy daily services to support their living needs.
At Tutera Senior Living, your loved one’s day will be fulfilling and engaging. Drawing from the latest research on memory loss therapies, we rely on the preferences and interests of the individual as a way to encourage independence and maintain skills. Want to learn more about Norterre, Stratford Commons or another Tutera Senior Living community? Contact us today. Want to explore your options for a community near you? Try our community finder tool and learn more about each Tutera location!