Daily Activities

  • Stick to a regular, predictable routine for meals, medication, bathing, and exercise every day. Only change what isn’t working.
  • Find a balance between boredom and overstimulation. Activity is a key part of helping your loved one avoid depression.
  • Look for activities the person is still able to do and focus on them. When necessary, simplify activities or break them into smaller steps.

Next Step

People with dementia may forget to eat and drink. Learn how to avoid malnutrition and reduce mealtime outbursts.

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A person with dementia may lose the ability to do many of the things that provided enjoyment or a sense of purpose, such as gardening or cooking a meal for family members. One ongoing challenge of dementia-related caregiving is finding meaningful or enjoyable activities that are within your loved one’s changing abilities.

For example, someone who enjoys cooking but can no longer prepare an entire meal might peel the potatoes or prepare the green beans. Building on existing skills is generally better than trying something new.

Exercise and Recreation

Exercise can help manage a variety of symptoms. Pick an activity that you can do together, such as walking, dancing, or gardening. Be sure to start gradually.

Routines are essential. By scheduling meals, medication, bathing, and other activities at the same time each day, you’ll reduce caregiving stress as well as the frequency and intensity of difficult behavior. Creating a daily to-do list and marking off achievements can also help provide a sense of structure for both you and your loved one.

Repeating the same act may provide relief to your loved one. In general, if the repeated activity doesn’t upset him or her, let it continue. If repetition becomes extreme or harmful, gently redirect your loved one by providing something else to do.

Next Step: Learn how to maintain proper nutrition and avoid mealtime outbursts.

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Experts at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America have the answers to your toughest Alzheimer’s and dementia questions.

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