Spring has arrived and if you are a caregiver to a parent or senior loved one with dementia, you may be ready to get outside and start enjoying some spring activities with them. People in all stages of the disease need to participate in activities to enjoy life, but when planning spring activities for a loved one with the disease, it may be important to scale down the length and number of outings.
Read our tips on the top spring activities to share with loved ones with dementia.
Spring Activities for Senior Loved Ones With Dementia
Caregivers to loved ones with dementia already know that it is necessary to adjust daily schedules as the disease progresses, as there may be changes in a loved one’s abilities that require alternative planning.
Here are some suggestions for adapting spring activities for your loved one’s level of functioning with dementia:
1. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Everyone wants to get outside and enjoy the fresh spring air once the weather finally turns. Plan to:
- Do some light gardening
- Sit in the sun
- Take a short walk
Be sure to keep your loved one comfortable, with layers of clothing that can be removed if it gets too warm, as well as a hat and light scarf to stay warm in case those chilly spring winds begin.
Alternative plan: For a loved one with the disease who is not mobile, consider creating a sitting space in front of a window and open the window to allow fresh air in. It’s one way that your loved one can still enjoy the smells and some of the wonderful sounds of spring. Think about hanging some bird or squirrel feeders nearby, to attract wildlife for your loved one to watch. This spring activity can provide hours of enjoyment.
2. Plan a flower-themed activity.
Flowers are one of the first and most enjoyable signs of spring. Plan to:
- Arrange flowers in vases around the house
- Clean, dig, handle and plant flowers for a sensory experience for your loved oned
- Pot flowers for indoor and outdoor decorations
Alternative plan: For a loved one who is unable to go outside, caregivers can cut fresh flowers for a loved one to enjoy. Other ideas may include making dried lavender sachets or drying flowers for indoor decorating.
3. Stroll through your local farmer’s market.
Visit your local farmers market to shop for some fresh flowers or local produce and provide some socialization and stimulation to a loved one.
Alternative plan: For a loved one with the disease who is not mobile enough to go shopping, consider planning a favorite family spring recipe. Use fresh local produce and invite your loved one to help with the meal, whether that is cleaning, cooking or meal planning and preparation.
Some other tips for planning spring outings for loved ones with dementia include:
- Adjusting your expectations to meet your loved one’s
- Ensuring that your loved one feels successful
- Inviting your loved one to help with the planning process if he/she is able
- Matching the activity to your loved one’s abilities whenever possible
- Planning an alternative activity just in case the plan does not work out
- Taking into consideration your loved one’s likes and dislikes
What other spring activities have you participated in with your parent or senior loved one with dementia? We’d like to hear your stories and suggestions in the comments below.
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