Keeping the Heart and Mind Young
Aging gracefully takes work. Imagine one day you look in the mirror and you don’t even recognize the person staring back at you. There are tasks that are more difficult to do, and some that cannot be completed at all. But age is a matter of mind: if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. There are many fun activities that as a caregiver you can do with your patient to help keep them feeling youthful and useful.
Everyone has a connection with music. There are studies about Alzheimer’s patients listening to music, allowing them to reconnect with memories and then are able to be more sociable with their present. Different music reaches different people. Patients can relate to music from their childhood, classical, sing-along, hymns, etc.
Find out what your patient likes. It may be a broad range, it may be a specific artist or song. But once you find it, they will light up. Introverted patients may even become more responsive and receptive to other things.
Art therapy can help improve the quality of life for people as they get older. There is no right or wrong way to produce it, it is simply creative expression. This is also a good idea for introverted patients because they don’t have to necessarily interact with you. But once you find out what they like, they will naturally begin to open up.
Painting is a good idea. For those who like to sew, needlepoint is a form of art. Ceramics and sculpting (with real clay) let them create with their hands. Any completed art work, whether it was completed in 10 minutes or over two days, gives a sense of accomplishment.
Pets have powerful and positive energy, as any pet owner will tell you. They are able to reach something inside of us and help us smile. Pet therapy is becoming so popular that even hospitals are starting to create policies around pets being able to visit their owners, even with overnight visits.
A great idea is to make homemade dog biscuits with your patient for a neighbor, or bring them to a shelter. While at the shelter the patient can visit with animals. Both hearts will be uplifted, and the patient will feel as though they contributed to the well-being of the shelter animals.
As a caregiver you can have fun with your patient. Keeping the mind engaged helps keep it young. Use your imagination. If you find it difficult to get input about what they would like, you make the first move. If it doesn’t catch their attention, move on to something else. You will find that specific niche that will open them up and help their lives be a bit brighter.