It’s always a good idea to stay active and do things you enjoy. That’s even more important for those who live with Alzheimer’s disease, although it can sometimes be difficult to plan daily activities. If you have Alzheimer's, you may have trouble deciding what to do every day, or how to get started on planned tasks.

Caregivers can be an incredible asset in helping those with Alzheimer’s plan and carry out activities. It’s important to make these decisions together. The activities should be ones that the patient enjoys, and they should be planned and implemented at a similar time day to day. 

Here is a short list of activities caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s may enjoy doing together:


Household chores. Work in tandem while washing dishes, setting the table, sweeping, dusting, sorting laundry, clipping coupons and recycling. Working together as a team can be helpful to caregivers by taking one more task off their shoulders, while the routine of these everyday chores can be useful for the patient.


Cooking. You can make the decision together on what to cook based on a memory the person may have and separate different tasks based on comprehension and safety. While you prepare and serve the meal, talk about the memory with your loved one, as well as the people and feelings involved with that memory.


Exercise. This can mean different things for different people. Depending on skill level and physical limitations, exercise can mean anything from taking a walk together to using a stationary bike, using stretch bands or watching exercise videos geared towards the appropriate audience.


Music and dancing. Music has been used with people of all ages to help with remembering. You can play music, and also talk about the song or the singer. If you are a caregiver, try to engage your loved one by asking what he or she was doing when the song was popular. You can also sing and dance to well-known songs or even attend a concert together.


Pets. Just like household chores, taking care of a pet can be an activity that benefits both caregiver and patient. There are benefits to organizing a feeding schedule, taking pets on walks, brushing or grooming their coat and even sitting and holding the animal. The companionship can provide a feeling of closeness and improved mood.


Gardening. Whether you choose to plant flowers, herbs or vegetables, gardening requires attention and can be part of a daily routine. Being outside also allows for fresh air and sunlight - just be cautious of dehydration and sunburn. Studies show there are benefits with gardening in reducing pain, improving attention and decreasing agitated behaviors in the aging population.


Visiting with children. Younger generations have a way of bringing out the children in all of us. Playing a board game, reading books together or visiting family members who have small children are all great ways to keep our loved ones social. These visits are a good opportunity to help those with Alzheimer’s try to recall memories or stories from their own childhood to share with the youngsters.


Going out. If you are a caregiver, try to make plans for outings during a time of day when your loved one is at his/her best temperament and also keep the outing short. Potential outings could include dining at a favorite restaurant, visiting a museum or taking a stroll through a park or shopping mall.

It’s always important to keep in mind that the activities chosen should be ones that you and your loved one enjoy most and can be successfully done with little to no difficulty or frustration. If you are a caregiver, help your loved one plan activities, and watch for frustration levels to try to provide the right level of structure, guidance and monitoring. 

If you have questions about your healthcare needs, call 1.866.KINDRED to speak with one of our Registered Nurses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

By Maggie Cunningham