When Alzheimer’s disease is first diagnosed (and before) it is important for the one who is affected with the disease and the caregiver to do a few things. You can see my posts entitled, I have Alzheimer’s What Now? And Diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease, What’s a Caregiver to do? For complete information on immediate steps to take once the diagnosis has been confirmed. However, there is one very important thing that I want to stress today, keeping the brain active and engaged. Don’t just throw in the proverbial towel and say, “Grandpa has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s all over now.” It is vital that you as a caregiver do all that you can to do ensure that grandpa works his brain as much as is possible and practical.
It is very important to select age and stage appropriate activities. You don’t want to make your loved one more frustrated. Rather, you want to provide an environment where your loved one is having fun, “winning” and exercising the brain all at the same time.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s important to exercise your brain daily:
Keep your brain active every day:
- Stay curious and involved – commit to lifelong learning
- Read, write, work crossword or other puzzles
- Attend lectures and plays
- Enroll in courses at your local adult education center, community college or other community group
- Play games
- Try memory exercises
One thing I really appreciated (in addition to the great staff) about the Caring Connection, the Adult Day Care my mom attended in Connecticut, was the activities, She often came home with the brain games and or the craft activity for the day. I recall one in particular. It was a fill in the blank from movies, books and sayings, from “back in the day.” Some of them were:
Frankly (blank), I don’t give a (blank)
It was the best of times. It was (fill in the blanks)
Its raining, it’s pouring the (fill in the blanks)
It was fun and referred to things that she had learned long before the effects of Alzheimer’s diseases started playing havoc with her memories.
Tomorrow, I’ll provide you with examples and resources where you can find puzzles, brain teasers and activities to keep your loved one’s mind engaged.
These activities will not prevent the onset or decline due to Alzheimer’s disease, but they will keep your loved one engaged, remind him of the good ‘ol days AND maybe most of all provide a stimulating activity in which he can log a few successes as he battles the monster, Alzheimer’s disease.