How much fun can a person have when he or she is recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia? The question almost seems absurd, but when you sit down and actually think about it, it’s an important one to consider.
Life doesn’t end with a diagnosis.
Yes, Alzheimer’s is a terminal illness. The average life expectancy for somebody diagnosed with this disease is between eight and 10 years (Alzheimer’s Association), but that doesn’t mean this individual has to give up on life completely right now. While memory loss will begin impacting daily life long before he or she has been diagnosed, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy some of the finer things in life.
Some fun activities could also be beneficial.
There is some research indicating mental stimulation early on could provide benefits as the disease progresses. In fact, mental stimulation in the earliest stages of the disease could help delay the onset of more prudent aspects of memory loss, possibly for weeks, months, and maybe even years (Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation).
There are many ways to stay mentally active and engaged.
One activity that can bring a great deal of fun is playing various games. Games that require forethought, planning, and strategy are often the most effective for engaging the mind. These games might include Concentration, checkers, or chess. There are also a number of other games, including card games, that could be beneficial in this regard.
By having a family member or friend, possibly even a neighbor, stopping by every so often, perhaps a few days a week or even more frequently than that, the senior will be looking forward to their visits and the games they play. So, it becomes easier to see how having a little fun could be beneficial for a senior diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
There’s nothing fun about the disease itself.
That’s not what this is about. It is focusing on engagement, social interaction, and staying as mentally active as possible. Not only can this help improve quality of life and enjoyment for each day, giving the senior something to look forward to, it could also pay dividends as the disease progresses.
There is no cure, so there is no way to truly stop memory loss from progressing to the point where this person may no longer recognize their family or friends or their surroundings, but there is a way to help maintain a higher quality of life for as long as possible during the first years following diagnosis.
Angel Alliance Caregivers of Galloway, NJ is dedicated to helping seniors maintain full, independent lives where they most desire to live: in the comfort of their own homes. Call us at (609) 965-0028.
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