Dementia

16 January 2008

Be an active elderly person

Here are guidelines on how to keep your mind active.

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Have you ever thought about how you can be active and healthy in your home environment and community, without incurring high expenses?

Here are a few practical guidelines for your everyday life:

Family and friends

  • Stay (positively) in touch with family and friends, e.g. send birthday cards, write letters, phone.
  • Undertake stimulating outings: go to the beach together, go out for coffee, attend sport matches, go away for a weekend.
  • Spend quality time together to create memories.
  • Visit a friend at least once a week.

Spiritual

  • Become involved with spiritual activities e.g. church or meditation.
  • Create time to think and focus.
  • Join a church group along with other elderly people.

Physical

  • Keep yourself busy with household chores.
  • Exercise within your physical limits e.g. walking, swimming, bowling.
  • Make a point to go for regular examinations.
  • Follow a balanced diet.
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol and nicotine.
  • Rest regularly – do not take an afternoon nap if you have difficulties sleeping at night.

Financial

  • Keep a monthly budget.
  • Draw up a shopping list.
  • Go to the shops to do your own shopping, to compare prices, to be on the lookout for bargains.

Brain stimulating activities

  • Cognitive stimulation e.g. crossword puzzles, attending discussion groups, building puzzles, brainteasers.
  • Be informed about what is happening by reading newspapers and listening to the news, in order to have meaningful conversations.
  • Keep track of the financial markets.
  • Watch educational television programmes e.g. 50/50, Who wants to be a millionaire.
  • Enjoy clubs/groups e.g. bingo, cards, bridge, birding clubs.
  • Play boardgames with family and friends e.g. Scrabble, Dominoes, Trivial Pursuit.
  • Learn new hobbies e.g. basic woodwork, how to use the internet, painting, ballroom dancing.
  • Read both fiction and non-fiction.
  • Listen to music/the radio.
  • Start a collection e.g. stamps, porcelain dolls.
  • Start a cultural interest group and attend plays, musicals, shows, read poetry and literature, visit museums.

Work

  • Complete taks in and around the home.
  • Enjoy working in the garden or caring for potplants.
  • Make your services available as a voluntary worker e.g. making teddybears for the “Beertjie Projek” at Tygerberg Hospital, baking for bazaars.
  • Learn how to use electronic equipment e.g. cellphones and computers.
  • Learn new skills e.g. how to send e-mails to your grandchildren.
  • File your accounts, letters etc. regularly.

Use the above ideas effectively to keep yourself active and on the go!

Written by Liesl Jonker, occupational therapist.

For more information visit: Dementia SA: http://www.dementiasa.org/ or Alzheimer’s South Africa: http://www.alzheimers.org.za

 

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