Activities for Dementia Patients: St. Patrick's Day Craft
Even though the happy days of spring are almost here, you may notice that a loved one with dementia is showing signs of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight. Dementia patients are at a higher risk of developing SAD due to the changes in their brain that affect mood and behavior. The symptoms of SAD in dementia patients include increased confusion, agitation, and difficulty sleeping. It is important to pay close attention to these symptoms and work with healthcare professionals to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
One of the most effective treatments for SAD in dementia patients is light therapy. This involves exposing the patient to bright, artificial light for a specific amount of time each day. The light helps to regulate the patient's circadian rhythm, which can improve their mood and sleep patterns. It is important to work with a healthcare professional when implementing light therapy, as too much or too little light can be harmful to the patient.
Another important aspect of treating SAD in dementia patients is to promote a healthy lifestyle. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and social activities. Caregivers should encourage the patient to spend time outdoors during the day, even if it is cloudy, as exposure to natural light can also help improve mood. Crafts like the St. Patrick's Day craft below can be fun activities for a loved one with dementia and a great way to engage with them.
Leprechaun Hat Craft
What You’ll Need:
- Small flower pot
- Green acrylic paint
- Black ribbon
- Clear Glue
- Gold stickers or scrapbook paper
- Paint the flower pot green.
- Allow paint to dry.
- Add a ring of glue around the pot.
- Attach the black ribbon around the pot.
- Add the gold stickers to form a buckle.
- 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. Ask about favorite colors or clothing they used to wear or how they celebrated holidays as a child.
- 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.