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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide (cont.)

Activities for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

What to do all day? Finding activities that the person with Alzheimer's disease can do and is interested in can be a challenge. Building on current skills generally works better than trying to teach something new.

  • Don't expect too much. Simple activities often are best, especially when they use current abilities.
  • Help the person get started on an activity. Break the activity down into small steps and praise the person for each step he or she completes.
  • Watch for signs of agitation or frustration with an activity. Gently help or distract the person to something else.
  • Incorporate activities the person seems to enjoy into your daily routine and try to do them at a similar time each day.
  • Try to include the person with Alzheimer's in the entire activity process. For instance, at mealtimes, encourage the person to help prepare the food, set the table, pull out the chairs, or put away the dishes. This can help maintain functional skills, enhance feelings of personal control, and make good use of time.
  • Take advantage of adult day services, which provide various activities for the person with Alzheimer's, as well as an opportunity for caregivers to gain temporary relief from tasks associated with caregiving. Transportation and meals often are provided.

Exercise for a Person with Alzheimer's Disease

Incorporating exercise into the daily routine has benefits for both the person with Alzheimer's disease and the caregiver. Not only can it improve health, but it also can provide a meaningful activity for both of you to share.

  • Think about what kind of physical activities you both enjoy, perhaps walking, swimming, tennis, dancing, or gardening. Determine the time of day and place where this type of activity would work best.
  • Be realistic in your expectations. Build slowly, perhaps just starting with a short walk around the yard, for example, before progressing to a walk around the block.
  • Be aware of any discomfort or signs of overexertion. Talk to the person's doctor if this happens.
  • Allow as much independence as possible, even if it means a less-than-perfect garden or a scoreless tennis match.
  • See what kinds of exercise programs are available in your area. Senior centers may have group programs for people who enjoy exercising with others. Local malls often have walking clubs and provide a place to exercise when the weather is bad.
  • Encourage physical activities. Spend time outside when the weather permits. Exercise often helps everyone sleep better.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2014

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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with an Alzheimer's disease patient.
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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Communicating Question: Please share tips for communicating with a relative or friend who has Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Eating Question: Getting an Alzheimer's patient to eat can be difficult. Please share tips for meal ideas and routines.
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Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Sleeping Question: Do you deal with a restless Alzheimer's patient? How do you make sure he/she gets sleep at night?
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Wandering Question: Alzheimer's patients tend to wander. What steps have you taken to ensure his/her safety?
Alzheimer's Disease Patient Caregiver Guide - Nursing Homes Question: At some point an Alzheimer's patient will need assisted or residential care. How did you select one?

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