Creativity, adaptability, and a healthy dose of lighthearted fun are some of the top ingredients to healthy and effective dementia care techniques. It stands to reason then that a spontaneous activity like improvisation is a great method to connect and engage with someone dealing with cognitive challenges. Not only does it allow you to pivot and embrace unexpected plot twists, but it allows you to find out about the older adult in your care.
So, How Does Improv in Dementia Care Work?
The purpose of improv in dementia care is to meet the person within their reality and to supply them with opportunities to express themselves in whatever way that is natural and comfortable. It’s about building an environment in which the person is respected, heard, and never corrected. It takes more listening than talking and accepting any thoughts or feelings the older adult wants to share.
Listed here are a couple of improv activity ideas to try. After getting an idea of how it works, the sky is typically the limit! Utilize your own creativity and understanding of the individual you’re caring for to formulate ideas that will perform best for you personally.
- “Yes, and…”: This is an easy but incredibly important technique to incorporate throughout all of your interactions with someone with Alzheimer’s. It is the alternative to the all-too common, “No, but…” where we could be tempted to correct something we know to be untrue. Instead, if the older adult with Alzheimer’s says, “I have to bake cupcakes today for my son to take to school!” an appropriate response would be, “Yes, and tell me more about what is going on in school today.” Your objective is to concur with the senior and encourage them to keep the conversation going.
- What’s in the box?: Pretend you’re holding a box (or use an actual, empty box). Mimic opening the box and peeking inside. Hand the box to the individual and ask what they would choose to put in the box. You can use the “Yes, and…” prompt to encourage them to tell you more. Or, ask them to hand you back the box, and you make up what you think should go inside. Take turns passing back and forth as long as the individual is engaged and interested.
- Picnic: In this activity, you are going to imagine you are packing a picnic basket with items which start with each letter of the alphabet. Adjust it accordingly based on the individual’s ability level. And of course, any item they mention, whether it starts with the correct letter or not, is acceptable.
Radiant Health Services’ dementia care team has plenty of innovative tips to make each day the best it can be for those we serve. Contact us online or call us at (240) 673-6377 to request a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our home care services.