Alzheimer's Caregiving

What to do Every Day

Doing things we enjoy gives us pleasure and adds meaning to our lives. People with Alzheimer’s disease need to be active and do things they enjoy. However, don't expect too much. It's not easy for them to plan their days and do different tasks.

Here are two reasons:

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Help the person get started on an activity. Break the activity down into small steps and praise the person for each step he or she completes.

Simple activities often are best, especially when they use current abilities.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Being active and getting exercise helps people with Alzheimer’s disease feel better. Exercise helps keep their muscles, joints, and heart in good shape. It also helps people stay at a healthy weight and have regular toilet and sleep habits. You can exercise together to make it more fun.

You want someone with Alzheimer’s to do as much as possible for himself or herself. At the same time, you also need to make sure that the person is safe when active.

Here are some tips for helping the person with Alzheimer’s stay active.

Healthy Eating

Eating healthy foods helps us stay well. It's even more important for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are tips for healthy eating when a person with Alzheimer’s lives with you.

Here are tips for healthy eating when a person with early-stage Alzheimer’s lives alone.

In the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, the person's eating habits usually don't change. When changes do occur, living alone may not be safe anymore.

Look for these signs to see if living alone is no longer safe for the person with Alzheimer’s.

For general tips on healthy eating, see Eating Well As You Get Older and Eating Safely.

For tips on helping someone with late-stage Alzheimer’s eat well, see Coping with Late-Stage AD.

Plan Enjoyable Activities

Plan activities that the person with Alzheimer’s enjoys. He or she can be a part of the activity or just watch. Also, you don't always have to be the "activities director." Get information on adult day care services that might help you.

Here are things you can do to help the person enjoy an activity.

The person with Alzheimer’s can do different activities each day. This keeps the day interesting and fun. The following sections may give you some ideas.

Household Chores

Doing household chores can boost the person's self-esteem. When the person helps you, don't forget to say "thank you." The person could

Cooking and Baking

Cooking and baking can bring the person with Alzheimer’s a lot of joy. He or she might help

Children

Being around children also can be fun. It gives the person with Alzheimer’s someone to talk with and may bring back happy memories. It also can help the person realize how much he or she still can love others.

Here are some things the person might enjoy doing with children.

Music and Dancing

People with Alzheimer’s may like music because it brings back happy memories and feelings. Some people feel the rhythm and may want to dance. Others enjoy listening to or talking about their favorite music. Even if the person with Alzheimer’s has trouble finding the right words to speak, he or she still may be able to sing songs from the past.

Consider the following musical activities.

Pets

Many people with Alzheimer’s enjoy pets, such as dogs, cats, or birds. Pets may help "bring them to life." Pets also can help people feel more loved and less worried.

Here are some suggested activities with pets.

Gardening

Gardening is a way to be part of nature. It also may help people remember past days and fun times. Gardening can help the person focus on what he or she still can do.

Here are some suggested gardening activities.