They will be more likely to try something new if you make it sound fun, rather than something that’s good for them. “Hey! Come see what I found!”
You don’t have to say, “This is a new program for people with Dementia to do activities.” Most families initially don’t think this would appeal to their loved one. In fact, they might get nervous about making them mad, since their loved one might think they have no cognitive difficulties.
Instead, it's ok to say something along the lines of, “Let’s try out this new game I found on the computer!” Or even, “I found a fun club on the computer with [crafts, music, food, storytelling, etc.]. Let’s try it out!”
It’s best to suggest, rather than to ask, someone with Dementia IF they want to do something. “Mom, let’s play this game on the computer today!”
Especially with something new, a person with cognitive decline is more likely to try it if you do it WITH them rather than just setting them up. As you learn which activities they engage with best, you can taper your participation as they get used to it and begin to look forward to it.
It takes time for people with Dementia to get used to something new. You may have to try several times before they fully participate. If their attention wanders, bring their focus back to the activity. "Wow, look at this! It's really funny!" (You may have to do this 10 times at first!)
If they don't like a recommended activity, don't worry. You can try anything you like and in any order you like. Also, don't assume “it's not working” if it takes a little time to find what engages them.
You could be surprised at what they may like once they try it. We have residents in our Memory Care Communities that have never done a craft in their lives and are now enthusiastic painters! Their kids didn’t think they would participate – but are now pleasantly surprised!
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