As the temperature drops and winter weather keeps people indoors, dementia caregivers may experience even more isolation than usual. Activities and respite are important during the winter months when people are more susceptible to depression. So what’s a caregiver to do? The following tips will help you take care of yourself, while caring for your loved one with dementia too!
Winter Activities for the Person with Dementia:
- Create and enjoy a basic photo book with 2-3 photos on each page and brief labels and captions. This is a fun craft project that can also be used as a caregiving tool in the future.
- Check out this link to LifeSongs: http://lifesongs.info/. This is a scrapbook set to music – which is a winning combination for people with dementia.
- Try indoor walking at the YMCA or shopping mall. Now that the holiday hustle and bustle is over, malls provide a climate-controlled indoor space for cardiovascular exercise. Get moving in comfort.
- Plan a special meal, cook together, and invite a guest. While large gatherings are often overwhelming for people with dementia, the company of 1 or 2 guests can be a special treat. Engage your loved one in simple steps of the dinner prep, such as setting the table, cleaning the vegetables, or folding napkins.
Winter Respite for Caregivers:
- Schedule a weekly self-care time for YOU, and write it on the calendar. Ask a family member or friend to visit with your loved one while you take a short break – to take a nap, go for a drive, or meet-up with friends.
- Try relaxation and meditation exercises you can do in the comfort of home, from your computer or phone. Here are some websites to get you started: