Exercise benefits everyone. With the Lehigh Valley still under health safety restrictions, there are limits to the places one can go and join others for entertainment and exercise. That does not, however, mean we must remain stagnant. Unfortunately, many people picture persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias as immobile, unresponsive bodies. This affliction does not keep them from enjoying certain pleasures and benefitting from appropriate forms of exercise and activities. South Mountain Memory Care in Emmaus is proud to offer a wide range of resident-focused daily activity programming to our residents. Each neighborhood offers activity space for group and one-on-one activities. Here are some other suggestions for guided activities.
Spring has come to the Lehigh Valley, and we and the earth breathe a sigh of relief. It's time for spring cleaning — clearing the cobwebs from our rooms and from our spirits. There are plenty of simple ways to enjoy spring as you are able, from opening a window and breathing the fresh air to enjoying some outdoor activities. Here are some simple but fun suggestions that you may be able to share with your loved ones who are experiencing dementia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Association propose several actions to increase the quality of life for people with cognitive impairment. Two such action items are:
- Increase public awareness about dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, to reduce conflicting messages, decrease stigma, and promote early diagnosis.
- Improve how to communicate effectively and sensitively with people suffering from dementia and their families.
Stigmas and misconceptions associated with Alzheimer’s disease are widespread and profoundly impact the care provided to — and the isolation felt by — people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. People with dementia are often isolated, or hidden, because of stigma or the possibility of negative reactions from neighbors and relatives to behavioral and psychological symptoms. The idea that nothing can be done to help people with dementia often leads to hopelessness and frustration.
Lehigh Valley residents will have a hard time forgetting the past year or so, with snow, societal upheavals, politics, and pandemics. We have become jittery about a lot of things we used to take lightly, like a cough or headache — “Do I have COVID?” As we age, we also might become a bit forgetful, and that makes us nervous, too — “I forgot my car keys. Do I have Alzheimer’s?”
Some measure of forgetfulness is common in older folks. When we try to learn new things, our brains may feel like Teflon or saturated sponges. We can find it hard to remember certain . . . uh . . . words or names. Your glasses may seem to relocate on their own, along with a dozen other common items. These may not be signs of serious memory problems, but it doesn’t hurt to look into the situation and take steps to keep your memory sharp.
At some point, people with Alzheimer’s disease will need help bathing, combing their hair, brushing their teeth, and getting dressed. Because these are private activities, people may not want help. They may feel embarrassed about being naked in front of caregivers. They also may feel angry about not being able to care for themselves. These suggestions may help with everyday care.