There are four categories of activities that fill our lives, as well as the life of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. They are work, self-care, leisure and rest activities. For ALL of us, it is essential that we maintain a healthy balance among these four.
Work activities show that we are competent, skilled, valued and talented. Having Alzheimer’s disease does NOT diminish the need for us to be seen as productive and vital members of our family and community.
Self-care activities are those that we do to take care of our bodies and our homes. Each of us takes great pride in our ability to take care of our personal needs. Alzheimer’s does NOT immediately take away this independence.
Leisure activities are seen as the delight of our day. We engage in leisure events just because we want to and because we have the freedom to choose. Providing choices for those with Alzheimer’s disease is a MUST in order for the person to maintain the ability to make independent decisions as long as possible.
Finally, activities that promote re-energizing and revitalization are rest activities. Sleep is of course a rest activity. But, as the disease progresses, it is vital that other restful habits are encouraged, such as rocking, quiet and slow walking, listening to music, and watching or petting animals.
A well-designed and well-run activity program is as essential to maintaining a successful community as what meal is served, or how a person’s health care is provided.
Creating meaningful days and moments with a quality activity program is what determines whether a person with Alzheimer’s disease leads a positive, healthy and dignified life, or not.