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Staying active

18 Ideas

    • Visit Museums

      Looking at art may be beneficial for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Visiting a museum or an art gallery is also a great opportunity to share an activity.

      Some people living with Alzheimer’s disease may find noise or too many people distracting so you may want to avoid busy times and choose a quiet area of the museum to sit, enjoy and share what you see. Visiting areas of the museum with fewer exhibits on display, which are simple and not very complex may also help.

    • Enjoy the garden
      Spending time together outdoors is important. Whether you are looking at flowers together, planting new bulbs or just relaxing in the sun being in the garden can offer a sense of wellbeing and calm.
    • Art therapy

      Art therapy is a way of using the art forms such as painting or drawing to promote well-being and communication.

      Research shows the parts of the brain that deal with colours and composition can still be used and developed by people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Benefits of art therapy may include improved concentration and a sense of personal accomplishment. You do not need to have any special skill or previous creative experience.

      Art therapy can be done by professional therapists in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis. You may also find incorporating creative activities into your daily routine at home useful.

      Art at home

      • Start with an easy art project such as a painting
      • Choose a subject together and keep it simple
      • Do this as a shared activity but let the person with Alzheimer’s disease take the lead
      • Carers should always be positive and encouraging – there is no wrong or right way
    • Exercise your mind
      It is important to keep the mind active. Mental exercise and activities like games and crossword puzzles may benefit some people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Activities should be chosen based on personal preference and could include reading or arts and crafts too. It is important to take things at an individual pace and recognise limits. No activity should be forced.
    • Make a ‘Life Story’ book

      Some people find putting together a ‘life story book’ can be useful. This is a book based on the person living with Alzheimer’s disease and what is important to them. It may develop into a personal scrapbook of life time memories or a practical guide with wishes and thoughts which can be helpful for any future carers.

      Contents may include photographs (including a note of who everyone is and the occasion), letters and postcards or information about likes and dislikes and future plans.

    • Listen to music
      Music has many benefits for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. It can have a soothing or calming effect and may trigger past memories.

      Music in the home

      • To uplift mood play music in your home with a beat you can sing along or dance to
      • If the person living with Alzheimer’s disease feels anxious or restless playing calming music may help
      • Some people living with Alzheimer’s disease enjoy listening to music from their youth
    • Keep busy and make plans
      It is important to stay active when living with Alzheimer’s disease and you can still continue do all the things you enjoy. Making social and holiday plans is important and will give you something to look forward to.
    • Play a musical instrument
      People who were able to play a musical instrument before their diagnosis can usually still continue to play. So if you’re rusty now is an ideal opportunity to dust off your guitar or piano keys and rediscover the joy of playing music.
    • Go dancing
      Dance or movement therapy offers a way of communicating without words. It also offers an opportunity to benefit from physical activity. Movement therapy sessions are sometimes run in adult day care centres and hospitals but dancing is an activity you can also enjoy with loved ones at home.
    • Watch movies together
      Watching movies or TV is an activity you can enjoy together. Choose comedies or shows which are funny and make you laugh. Be cautious about movies which have a violent content as they may make a person living with Alzheimer’s disease anxious or restless.
    • Try massage
      Therapeutic massage can help promote relaxation and good circulation.
    • Continue with hobbies you enjoy
      Whether you enjoy fishing, baking or painting it is important to continuing to do all the activities you enjoy – you may even be inspired to try something new you’ve always wanted to do.
    • Keep active

      Exercising and keeping active is important for all of us and offers many benefits to people living with Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to choose an activity that is suitable for your age and stage of disease and always consult your healthcare professional before you start a new exercise routine.

      The benefits of exercise include a healthier heart, maintaining your independence for longer, keeping bones and muscles strong, improving sleep and building up your confidence.

      Suitable activities for people living with early Alzheimer’s disease may include gardening, dancing, swimming, walking or tai chi.

    • Meditate to relax
      Meditation can help to improve general well-being and may help a person living with Alzheimer’s disease to relax. Studies show the benefits of relaxation through meditation may also have a positive benefit for relieving stress in caregivers too.
    • Keep up your social life
      It is important to keep in touch with the people around you and continue to attend any group activities or clubs that you enjoy. Family and friends can be a great source of support. Some people may also find joining a Support Group useful where you can meet people who understand the condition as they are going through the same experience.
    • Plan a day out
      Planning a day out with family or friends can be enjoyable and give you something to look forward to. It can be just for the afternoon, an evening or even overnight. Book a restaurant, go to the cinema or have a picnic in the park.
    • Look through family albums
      Looking back through old family albums can be an enjoyable activity you can share with friends and family. You may find it useful to add names to photos or captions to explain the event.
    • Watch old family video footage
      Arrange a family get together and plan a ‘movie night’ with popcorn. Screen your favourite family movie moments such as a wedding or memorable birthday.


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