A woman works on a puzzle with her older mother because she knows that it’s important to incorporate activities that improve self-esteem in those with dementia.

What gets you up out of bed each day? Most of us have an extensive to-do list that propels us to get the day started. However much we might like to keep hitting the snooze button, having a sense of purpose is crucial to our wellbeing. That’s true for a person with dementia too.

When caring for a loved one with dementia, it is natural to want to do as much as possible for the person. While the intentions behind this way of thinking are to make life better and easier, it might have the reverse effect. It’s important to help improve self-esteem in your loved one and encourage them to continue to tackle tasks and participate in enjoyable activities, even if it means some extra time and patience from you.

What Are Some Good Activities That Can Help a Person With Dementia Improve Self-Esteem?

There is an endless list of activities suitable for someone with dementia. It starts with activities of daily living, the things we hardly think twice about: taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, preparing and eating meals. But envision having these daily tasks completely taken over by someone else. How would it affect your self-worth?

With some support and modifications, a loved one in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can still accomplish these activities. As an example, if:

  • Buttons and zippers are too cumbersome, select clothing that can be pulled off and on more easily.
  • Removing the toothpaste cap and squeezing the right amount onto the toothbrush is challenging, handle that step for the person, leaving the toothbrush on the edge of the sink so they are able to brush independently.
  • Preparing a from-scratch meal from start to finish is not possible any longer, consider which steps the person can still accomplish: washing and tearing lettuce for salad, setting out napkins and silverware, stirring butter into a bowl of mashed potatoes, etc.

Additionally, you will want to make sure there are plenty of fun and engaging activities for the person to enjoy each day too. Base these activities on their current and/or past hobbies. Consider:

  • Organizing nuts and bolts in a toolbox, sinkers and bobbers in a tackle box, or papers in folders
  • Gardening: indoor dish gardens or planting seeds in small pots can take the place of outdoor gardening if necessary
  • Taking a regular walk around the block or even in the yard, enjoying nature and chatting with neighbors
  • Music: creating a playlist of favorite songs and having a singalong, dancing together, or just clapping hands and tapping toes to the beat
  • Ability-appropriate puzzles and games

The dementia care experts at Hearts at Home In-Home Care are trained in creative approaches that make each day the very best it can be. Reach out to us online or call us at 913-440-4209 for additional information on how our dementia care services in Kansas City, Mission Hills, Lenexa, and the nearby communities can improve life for someone you love.