Healthy activities to do with your loved ones in assisted living

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Most families who have loved ones in assisted living communities want to spend time together and plan regular visits. They also want their seniors to remain active, engaged and healthy. To make the most of visits, many experts recommend coming equipped with a list of activities that everyone will enjoy.

As an added bonus, many of these activities can be beneficial for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. 

SPEND TIME IN NATURE

If the weather allows, get outdoors. Being outside is good for aging adults — recent studies have found that benefits include increased vitamin D levels, improved immune systems, improved focus and increased physical and mental energy.

Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and find a quiet spot to relax for a bit. You can also bring along food and have a picnic. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Recent studies show that memory for music may not be affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. Curated music also can reduce agitation and anxiety.

Listening to music also can be a fun, lowkey activity for the entire family. Perhaps save this for a day when your loved one is tired or needs a more relaxed visit. Consider creating a playlist of favorite songs, which can provide something for your loved one to enjoy while you're away.

WATCH A MOVIE

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Watching a movie or TV is a great way to spend time with aging adults without feeling pressured to make conversation. Let your relative pick the movie — maybe an older film from their generation that they’d like to share with you. Familiar movies can help bring back memories and spark conversation.

For adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, be sure to choose material that is:

  • Fun and upbeat.
  • Short in length.
  • Non-violent.
  • Easy to understand, with a simple plot.

For specific film and TV show suggestions, go to www.alzheimers.net.

SCRAPBOOKING

Scrapbooking and looking through old photos allows you to reminisce and gives your loved one a way to remember you until your next visit. Studies show that creative activities help to give aging adults a sense of purpose.

BOARD GAMES

seniors4Board or card games can keep seniors happy and engaged. A little competition can make your visit fun and help your loved one exercise his or her brain. Play a game that everyone is already familiar with — particularly if you’re playing with someone who has memory impairment issues.

PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

Before planning your visit, check the assisted living facility’s calendar of events and see if visitors are welcome at these activities — you could accompany your senior. Some fun activities to do together might include:

  • Presentations by local historians.
  • Happy hour.
  • Musical entertainment.
  • Resident art shows and displays.

No matter the activity, the feelings of happiness and contentment will remain with your loved ones long after your visit.

This article first appeared at www.vineyardbuffton.com and is excerpted here with permission. Vineyard Bluffton opened in 2019 and offers assisted living and memory care.


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