Author: Roger Alexander, LNFA
Date Posted: March 5, 2012
Imagine your life without a purpose.
Our seniors are perhaps the most industrious generation that ever lived. So many of them base their self-worth on what they can do, especially what they can do for others. When their abilities begin to diminish, their self-respect and exuberance for living can diminish as well. It’s a downward spiral that can leave them feeling helpless. No one likes that feeling. It can make a person feel hopeless and . . . angry.
Sometimes we get so busy caring for our loved ones’ physical needs that we neglect their emotional ones. Their need to be needed is just as important as others. You might have to get creative to help your loved one stay active but even small tasks can really help them feel good about themselves.
Here are a few tasks that most elders can still achieve:
- Water house plants
- Sweep the porch or kitchen floor
- Fold clothes
- Put away silverware
- Dust the furniture.
- Read to a child
- Rock a baby.
- Teach you a favorite recipe
- Straighten out clothes drawers
- Arrange flowers in a vase
- Knit or crochet
- Teach you an old song
It’s especially important for dementia patients to keep active. Knitting or crocheting has been found to be especially beneficial for dementia patients. A Southern California group called “Hands of Kindness” has started knitting groups in assisted living communities. Seniors have joined the knitting circles and have fun socializing while making blankets and caps for the homeless and cancer patients. The socializing is just as important as keeping them active. The repetitive actions of knitting and crocheting are usually not lost when dementia sets in. They can feel good about accomplishing a goal and helping others.
What are some other ways that aging seniors and dementia patients can keep active?