Crafting with Dementia Patients: Cheerio Bird Feeders
Dementia is a devastating symptom that slowly makes a person fade away, little by little. Having a loved one with dementia is a difficult adjustment.
As a caregiver, you’re challenged with keeping a loved one with dementia stimulated, socially engaged and happy with life. A simple craft can grab your loved one’s attention and keep them engaged. Plus, studies have shown that cognitive stimulation can actually slow the decline of dementia in early stages. Activities like crafts not only benefit your loved one, but also provide an opportunity to involve the whole family. By getting the family involved and keeping your loved one stimulated, a craft project can enhance communication skills, maintain flexibility, reduce nervous tension and increase feelings of self-worth in your loved one.
Check out the Cheerio Bird Feeder craft below for something you can do with a loved one with dementia.
What you’ll need:
1. Cut the floral wire into lengths approximately one foot long.
2. Add a knot or mini-marshmallow about three inches before the end of the wire.
3. Slide the Cheerios onto the wire, keeping them close together.
4. Fill the wire with Cheerios, leaving another three inches on the other side.
5. Twist the ends into a loop that can be hung on a tree.
6. Bend the Cheerio-filled wire into a shape like a heart, star or swirl.
7. Once the wire is shaped, it can be hung outside.
In the following days, your loved one will have the added enjoyment of watching the birds visit your yard to enjoy the special treat you’ve made them. Special tips:
● If your loved one has trouble with their vision or dexterity, substitute pipe cleaners for floral wire.
● Get your loved one involved by starting the activity yourself and asking them to join in.
● Assist with difficult steps, but be flexible and don’t criticize. Enjoy the activity even if the end result isn’t perfect.
● While doing the craft, play music they enjoy and engage them in conversation.
● Activities have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well-rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again at another time.
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