Creative Ways to Support a Loved One With Dementia

Supporting a loved one with dementia is unlike all other responsibilities you’ll undertake. It requires you to dig deep down into your reserves of patience, flexibility, and perhaps most importantly, creativity. You should be prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice from one strategy to another to foster a fulfilling and enriching life for the person you love, all while managing the more challenging facets of the illness.

Our highly trained dementia care team is here to offer support with some innovative tips you can easily implement to help make every day the very best it can be for someone with dementia.

  • The magic of music: Music is a very effective tool you will likely want to turn to again and again. This could involve creating a playlist of the person’s favorite songs to sing and dance to together, playing instruments, attending concerts (in person or online), etc.
  • The hand-under-hand technique: When helping with tasks, gently place your hand underneath the person’s hand to support them, promoting a feeling of control and dignity.
  • Personalized exercise routines: Incorporate gentle, guided exercises that match the person’s current physical abilities and help maintain mobility. Talk with the person’s doctor for recommendations.
  • Adaptive games: Modify simple games like bingo, puzzles, and memory matching to accommodate cognitive changes. For example, use larger, easy-to-handle pieces for puzzles or colorful cards for bingo to improve visibility and ease of use.
  • Reminiscence boxes: Create personalized boxes full of meaningful objects or photos from the person’s past to spark memories and facilitate reminiscing.
  • Virtual reality (VR): VR experiences tailored to the individual’s interests and abilities can provide immersive and therapeutic experiences, triggering memories and improving mood.
  • Biophilic design: Incorporate aspects of nature, such as plants or nature-inspired artwork, into the living environment to create a relaxing and familiar atmosphere.
  • Individualized storytelling: Customize familiar stories to include specifics from the individual’s past. For example, if the person loved fishing at a particular lake, weave the name of the lake into a story you are telling to spark memories and conversations.
  • Sensory stimulation: Engage the senses with tactile activities like gardening or fabric folding, which can soothe and ground those with dementia.
  • Light therapy: Exposure to natural light or specialized light therapy devices can help regulate sleep patterns and improve mood in people with dementia.
  • Red tableware: Studies show that using red plates and cups may increase food intake in people who have dementia by enhancing contrast and visibility of food.
  • Soothing scents: Aromatherapy can work wonders in providing a calming effect to reduce anxiety and agitation. Try scents like lavender, peppermint, or vanilla.
  • Montessori methods: Adapt Montessori principles to create meaningful and engaging activities that stimulate cognitive function and promote independence.

If you’re looking for the best ways to support a loved one with dementia, partner with Home Health Companions’ dementia care specialists for additional socialization opportunities, creative activities specific to the person’s interests, and the opportunity for you to step away for some well-earned time to yourself. Serving Westlake, Southlake, Highland Park, and the surrounding areas, you can reach us any time at (214) 295-8213 or contact us online.