Being able to connect with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s is the best way to continue your bond with them. With this disease, you never know what the future will bring and things can progress in the blink of an eye. Making those memories as you care for your aging loved one becomes more important each and every day.
Explore Ways to Connect
Finding ways to interact and connect can often be difficult. Your loved one may not have the same interests he used to or may be unable to follow the steps needed to participate in those activities. He may also not want to engage like he used to, making it difficult to get him to participate in any type of mutual activity.
One activity that many people have found to be successful with is art. Working on art projects seems to transcend all ages and abilities so even if your loved one didn’t have a huge appreciation for art projects in the past, he may find them as a good way to spend some quality time with you or his Alzheimer’s care provider.
The Benefits of Art
Art is a great activity for your loved one for several reasons. Since art is an expression of feelings and emotions, your loved one may find art is a great place to get out some of those thoughts and feelings, especially if his verbal ability has declined.
Colors, lines, and shapes can all be created with emotion and come alive on an art easel or blank piece of paper. Have your Alzheimer’s care provider put out lots of colors, whether that’s colored pencils, markers, or paints, and then let your loved one take the lead on what he wants to create.
Art is also good for those with Alzheimer’s disease because the abilities your loved one may have lost (such as memory or communication) will not prevent him from creating art. It might look a little different than it did before, but your loved one can still get the satisfaction of creating something that is uniquely him when given the proper materials.
Finally, art can take your loved one’s thoughts and channel them into one project. They can remind him that he can still work on something and create something that no one else can, giving him a sense of purpose and well-being.
To make sure your loved one is enjoying his art time safely, take the following tips into mind.
Use safe materials that your loved one can physically utilize. If gripping is difficult, look for larger brushes and markers so that he can hold items properly.
Help him begin. He might need his hands guided to the first brush stroke or put into the clay on the potter’s wheel. Once he starts, he’ll probably continue on his own but be ready to help him begin.
You or your Alzheimer’s care provider can talk about the colors, emotions, and even memories of past art experiences to connect the physical process of creating art with the memories that are inside.
As always, patience and the willingness to pivot when and if needed during the time, will help you and your loved one have a great art session together.