More than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia is a progressive disease that can worsen with age. Even in early stages, having Alzheimer’s means memory loss and even the inability to carry on a complete conversation. Since this disease impacts brain function including thoughts, language processing, and memory, it can become rather difficult to spend a life with Alzheimer’s disease.
Before we head towards November and celebrate Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it is important to know a thing or two about the condition yourself. If you know somebody who suffers with Alzheimer’s, the easiest way to help them is by engaging in activities that help them have fun. Such activities can be a great alternative to traditional medicine since they reduce stress levels, increase quality of life, and can help with certain processing skills.
Here are a few incredibly simple DIY activities for people with early onset Alzheimer’s:
1. Colorful Clothespins
Get a pack of colorful large clothespin from your nearest departmental store and let your friend with Alzheimer’s attach them to a rack. You can assist them initially if they have trouble holding the clothespins correctly. Once they get the hang of it, you can encourage them to create new patterns and designs using the colorful clothespins.
2. Flower Arrangements
One of the most creative activities that you can enjoy with someone with Alzheimer’s is making an artificial flower arrangement. You can get a range of inexpensive artificial flowers and stems from a nearby craft store, some florist foam, a plain plastic vase, and some paints. Before setting the flowers, you can assist your Alzheimer’s patient to paint the vase as colorful as they like. Then, you can cut and arrange flowers with them to create your own DIY floral arrangement.
3. Pipes and Fittings
Some adults who previously enjoyed being handy might miss such activities once they have an early onset of Alzheimer’s. To help them relive their memories, you can get inexpensive PVC pipes and fittings for them to attach together. All you need are a few elbows and T-joints to help you fix all lengths of PVC pipes together. If you are worried about cutting PVC pipes yourself, then just ask the hardware store to cut them for you in varying lengths.
4. Play Dough
Another great way to stimulate hand-eye coordination in Alzheimer’s is to play with play dough. You can knead the dough, roll it out into different sizes, and even use molds to cut out specific shapes from the dough. If you don’t have play dough cutters, then cookie cutters can work as the perfect alternative. Try to use a range of colors and cutters for your play dough activity since this can stimulate the brain even further.
5. Match Pictures
If you have pictures that your Alzheimer’s patient enjoys seeing, then print out two copies of each photo. This could be old memories, sceneries, animals, or even some patterns and designs. Cut these photos into small, square cards. Then, you can use these cards to play a matching or sorting game to help stimulate memory function.