Tailoring activities for people with dementia – part 1

As dementia progresses, a person’s abilities, skills and motivation may change and it may become more difficult for them to meet their own needs. The challenge for the carer is to encourage and enable meaningful, useful and feasible activities without overwhelming the person with dementia or making them feel like a failure. This involves finding ways to modify or adapt what the person used to value and do and make it possible for them to keep doing it by simplifying the task or breaking it down into small steps. Using old skills is usually more successful than introducing new tasks to learn.

Tailoring activities for people with dementia

Remember that when you are meeting the needs for activity, any ‘doing’ may become an ‘activity’.

  • Be careful not to over-help. Find the ‘just right’ amount of guidance, prompting or assisting.
  • Be careful not to sound condescending.
  • Develop and practice a ‘nothing is a problem’ attitude
  • Remember to use genuine praise to encourage and create activities with a low chance of failure and reward effort as well as success.
  • Be aware of your expectations – not over, not under.
  • Remember it’s not the outcome that is important, but rather enjoying the process and achieving SUCCESS!

Always keep in mind WIN (what’s important now).