1. Be mindful, see your loved one as they are/feel in that moment.
This is very important, particularly with dementia.
2. Let your loved one do what
they can still do.
Sometimes life runs away from us and it’s easier to do something for somebody than take the time and let them do it for themselves. This can become a habit and may make the person more dependent and less inclined to take on tasks. Letting your loved one do more, within their capabilities, will empower and instill confidence in him/her.
3. Acknowledge their input into
the caregiving situation.
Making choices in life help to stimulate the brain and to feel included in your life and what you are doing. Simple choices like: would you like to wear your red socks or your blue socks? Would you like chicken or salad for dinner today? Including your loved one’s input in the day can make a difference in their engagement and self esteem.
4. Try not to be dismissive,
listen to concerns.
Your loved one may have something on their mind. It is important to them to be heard. Sometimes it takes a little bit of detective work to figure out what a problem is, but it is worth the effort. This can help your loved one feel safe, relaxed and noticed.
5. Make sure your loved one
knows what you are talking about.
As we age, we take longer to process information. Particularly with dementia, being given a lot of information at the one time can be very confusing. Break a task up into small pieces and take your time communicating. It will go a long way towards clear understanding.
6. Accept outside help.
We all need time out for ourselves. Accept offers of help, and if these are not forthcoming, reach out to others so you can get some YOU time. Taking time to nurture yourself will improve your caregiving because you will be able to put the best version of yourself into caregiving. You would be surprised how many people will help if you just ask.
7. Encourage their interests.
What does/did your loved one like to do in their life? What are some of their favorite memories? Interests can be modified for different capabilities. A reader with poor eyesight might like to listen to an audiobook. A keen gardener might like to make a small flower arrangement or plant a window box. Modify tasks to fit their current situation. Maybe they will teach you something.
8. Encourage new experiences.
Ever tried making an ornament for a festive occasion? Learning new things is important for everyone. Learning actually increases the neuroplasticity in your brain, making it easier for your brain to adapt and stay active. Doing things together can strengthen your bond and give your loved one the feeling of connection and social interaction. So go ahead and try something fun and new for yourself and your loved one!
9. Give one-to-one attention.
We all have a need to be noticed and seen. Try turning off all distractions and just being with your loved one. Maybe this is in the form of a cup of tea and a chat or playing a game of chess together. A hand massage is always appreciated. Maybe it is just sitting together watching the sunset.
10. Remember that it is the illness
that sometimes changes a person’s behavior.
Oftentimes, people who have brain injuries, infections, dementia, and other ailments, can act out of character. Remember that this is the illness talking and it is not personal. Just try to be understanding and patient in these moments.
Maria’s Place is here to help you find new ideas to enhance your days and bring some good
old fashioned fun into your life! We offer activities of all sorts, from crafting to relaxing to challenging your brain. All can be done individually or with the person you are caring for.
Many of our activities can be modified for different capability levels.
We are continuously adding new activities so come back often to find more.
I hope you enjoy - Maria
What is Maria’s Place?
At Maria's Place we believe that activity and life-long learning are cornerstones for a fulfilling life. We are committed to guiding caregivers to engage fully with those they care for in a meaningful and heartfelt way.
A collection of activity ideas and tips for the social, mental and physical wellbeing of older adults.
Lots of easy to make creative projects to do with individuals or groups.
Maria shares her experiences as a nursing home activity director.
Nutritional and fun recipes to make with the person you are caring for.
Body and Mind Activities
Staying active as you age is proven to be beneficial for memory, mood, mobility, strength, mental capacity and social wellbeing
Quizzes & Word Games
Fun activities to challenge the brain and engage with others.
Quiet the Mind
Scenic videos, images, meditations and articles to relax the mind.
Simple seated exercises and how-to massage videos.
See what our customers have to say
“Well, I have discovered Maria's Place and must say it has become a special addition to my life. I was a very busy mom along with my husband and now that our six daughters have grown up I took the challenge to return to work. Traveling on the train into Dublin I receive a “Time Out” email from Maria's Place every Wednesday morning. It refreshes the beautiful memories we all have as children growing up right into adulthood. A tonic for the heart. Time Out gives lots of interesting thoughts and helpful ideas.”Pauline M.Time Out Newsletter Testimonial
“Maria’s Place website has been a wonderful innovative resource for all of us in St Elizabeth’s Nursing Home including staff and the families of our residents. We have learned to use the activities for the residents, and we have witnessed great improvement in the physical and mental abilities of the residents who now take an interest in the activities programme. When we give feedback to families we promote Maria’s Place so that they can use the website as a resource and practice the activities with the resident. Maria’s Place website is easy to use; the activities are explained very well and easily understood.”Brenda K.St Elizabeth’s Nursing Home
“Maria's Place is a wonderful resource for all carers who need support or simply want to learn new ideas and activities. Their ethos acknowledges the stresses associated with care giving and provides simple advice and strategies to help carers. The simple ideas for activities are suitable for young and old without huge financial outlay and we highly recommend supporting this innovative and much welcome resource.”Helen MackenDirector of Learning and Development
Do you know an unsung hero?
Have a friend or family member that is a caregiver?
Give them the gift of smiles and easier days.
MariasPlace.com is your source for video and printable activity ideas.