After the heat of summer, the cooler temperatures of fall can be a welcome relief. If a loved one with dementia has stayed inside with the air conditioning, they can now enjoy outdoor activities and get in some walks in the fresh air.
As nice as the change in temperature is, those caring for a loved one with dementia should also take care to adjust their loved one’s daily schedule as the days become shorter. Many individuals with dementia experience a condition called “sundowning.”
Sundowning occurs when the light outside begins to fade in the late afternoon and early evening. For some individuals with dementia, this brings on increased confusion and agitation.
Families can reduce sundowning by planning activities for a loved one with dementia earlier in the day when they are most alert. Spending time outside and participating in engaging activities like the fall wreath craft below can also help as keeping your loved one active during the day makes it easier for them to get to sleep at night.
The most important thing families can do for a loved one with dementia is to keep them on a routine schedule to avoid creating additional stress or confusion.
What You’ll Need:
- Wire wreath form
- Fabric ribbons or fabric strips in fall colors
- Half inch fabric ribbons cut into six inch pieces.
- Slip a piece of fabric under a wire.
- Tie the strip of fabric to the wire frame.
- Vary the fabrics so the different colors don’t bunch together.
- As you add more fabric ties, push the knots together to make the wreath look full.
See more activities for dementia patients.
- If your loved one is unable to use scissors, cut the strips of fabric in advance. We used half inch fabric ribbons cut into six-inch strips to reduce the measuring and cutting needed. You can also cut fabric into strips that are approximately 3 inches wide and 8 inches long.
- Typically rag wreathes will knot over two rungs over the wreath at a time. We kept it simple by tying ribbon on every row.
- One of the nice things about this craft is that it’s easy to do, but it can take some time to complete. If your loved one gets tired, bored or frustrated, put it away for another day.
- While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, engage them in conversation. Play music they enjoy softly in the background to create a positive mood.
- Even though your loved one may not remember names or things that happened in recent days, they may still remember their childhood. Talk to them about parties they remember from growing up.
- Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success early in the day when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again another time.
- Remember that the goal is to have an engaging activity with your loved one with dementia. Don’t worry about the end result.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to support patients with dementia and their families. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how our unique care programs help provide a higher quality of life for dementia patients while helping caregivers avoid burnout.
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