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January 16, 2013 / shadowboxpress

10 Valentine’s Day Activities for Alzheimer’s Patients

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Activities can enrich the life of a person with Alzheimer’s disease by providing social interaction as well as introducing diversity into their daily routine. From music and art, to flower arranging and reading, activity professionals and in-home caregivers can celebrate Valentine’s Day with Alzheimer’s patients by engaging in meaningful activities together.

  1. Listen to love songs. Music can be enjoyed by people at all stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to or sing-a-long to popular love songs. Print out the lyrics in a large, sans serif font for ease of reading. If the person is physically able, encourage slow dancing to the romantic melodies.
  2. Create “heart” art. Design homemade Valentine’s Day cards using red and pink cut-out hearts, paper lace doilies, paints or markers, stickers, etc. Having the person sign their name, if able, promotes a sense of self-worth. Encourage sharing the cards with family, friends, neighbors, and staff.
  3. Bake a sweet treat. Prepare sugar cookie dough or purchase pre-made dough. Cut the dough with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, decorate with red and pink sprinkles, and bake. The aroma of cookies baking may bring back special memories.
  4. Make chocolate gift bags to share. Purchase individually-wrapped chocolate candy. Place several pieces into re-sealable plastic bags.  Decorate the bags with heart stickers.  Encourage sharing the chocolate gift bags with loved ones.
  5. Reminisce about love and relationships. Initiate a discussion about sending and receiving Valentine’s Day cards when in school, during dating years, while romancing their spouse, etc. People with Alzheimer’s disease may have retained memories of special experiences and relationships from their past.
  6. Make a flower arrangement. Purchase red, white, and pink roses or carnations and have the person arrange them in a vase.  Adding baby’s breath and ferns makes a beautiful, traditional arrangement while fostering a sense of accomplishment.
  7. Create a memory box. Decorate a lidded box in a Valentine’s Day or love motif. Fill the box with treasured mementos representing loves and relationships. Include photographs, a love poem, Valentine’s Day cards, etc. Review the completed box and reminisce about relationships and memories of love.
  8. Read a book. Reading is an activity that can be beneficial for people in the early, middle, and even the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Select books designed specifically for adults living with a memory-loss condition. Consider books with large-print text and big, vivid photographs. Encourage the sharing of feelings and special memories.
  9. Conduct an inter-generational activity. Involve children of all ages in an activity. Adults may feel a sense of self-worth while assisting young children with their reading skills. Teens may enjoy sharing their art expertise helping with a painting or clay project. For a group activity, consider an outing to a youth or high school basketball game.
  10. Share a heart-healthy snack together.  Enjoy bright red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and grapes. Consider adding red berries to a milkshake or yogurt.  Cranberry juice, cherry juice, or red gelatin are good choices to provide adequate hydration.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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