Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The smell of blossoms and birds chirping bring a new sense of joy. Seniors in senior living communities enjoy the many activities that the warm weather brings.
Residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia become involved with many wonderful outdoor activities. Many activities are adjusted to the resident’s capabilities and add to their quality of life. These activities also reduce behaviors such as depression, agitation, and wandering.
It is important that the outside area is safe and enclosed with sufficient staff to supervise all activity. Smaller groups usually work best since most Alzheimer’s and dementia residents become overwhelmed by large social gatherings. Keeping resident’s skills, joys, and previous employment in mind is very important prior to an activity. Some residents may enjoy assisting with planting flowers, while others enjoy drawing them. Depending on what activity a resident enjoys it may be set as part of their daily routine to enhance their feeling of productivity.
Taking into consideration residents’ prior employment and experiences, activities can be tailored around this past knowledge. For instance, a previous farmer might enjoy working with the soil as opposed to a biologist who would want to know the many species of plants. Caregivers should be aware of residents’ attractions and capabilities in order to enhance the enjoyment of the activity. Involving family members and significant others promotes good bonding and lis the spirits of both the resident and family and or significant other. Specific times and days assure the success of the outdoor projects as they become a part of their schedule.
Caregivers may need to show the resident and family how to carry out the activity. By providing essential tools such as clear directions, soil, hand shovels, pots, and watering cans the activity is less stressful to all involved. This planning also allows family members and residents to spend high-quality time together since the resident feels as if he or she has done something productive.
It’s critical to be flexible while assisting residents with outdoor activities. If the resident insists that he or she doesn’t want to do an activity it may be because they fear they can’t do it or simply doesn’t feel well. It’s important not to force the activity. Let it happen as the resident wants it to. Maybe they would like to help or just watch while another resident or caregiver does it. The goal is to make the resident happy and enhance their life not to place more demands on it.
Encouraging self-expression without criticizing the resident’s production is extremely important. Even if it seems meaningless, encourage the person to continue the activity whatever it is. As long as it does not harm anyone allow the resident to enjoy it. For instance, there is no harm in allowing a resident to play with sand just for the feel of it.