What we mean about meaningful and enjoyable activities is doing things that may be everyday tasks and making them meaningful such as preparing a meal.
So often a person who may require support will not be involved in the preparation of their meals or other day to day tasks. Maybe all of their life they have been the main provider of food and meals within a family but feel unable to or ‘Not Allowed’ now. By including a person in the preparation of meals or other tasks they may have once enjoyed, they feel useful, valuable and stimulated. This can be an effective tool in itself just simply by removing the continuous reminder that something is wrong with them. They may be feeling things such as they are a burden, no one wants them around, they may as well be dead. It can be very stressfull for family carers to do things such as this because their job in this situation is very difficult.
Meaningful, stimulating and enjoyable activities could also be some form of craft or hobby specific to the person or it may be something new that they have never tried.
The main aim is to nurture the human nature in a person to have connections with others, feel valued, stay active and stimulated.
Meaningful interactions with another person, even for a few hours a week, can significantly reduce loneliness.
Activities can simply fall into four categories:
- Practical, such as household tasks, gardening etc. This gives a person a sense of being useful and valued.
- Hobbies, things we just do for fun that make us feel good. These things can be passive or active.
- Self-Care, can be anything that nurtures the self. This can be meditation or spiritual nourishment, connecting with nature, taking care of the body, mind or environment, connecting with others.
- Recuperation, this could be rest, therapy or pampering.
Through meaningful and enjoyable activities (passive or active) we can learn a lot about a person and how to create a calm and comfortable environment for them. This guides us on how to maintain wellbeing in the long term.
The benefits of Meaningful and Enjoyable Activities are:
- Critical in creating a sense of wellbeing and continued self esteem
- Improves mood
- Improve physical health
- Help to maintain healthy sleep patterns
- Mental stimulation and cognitive health benefits
- Aids social interaction and socialization
- Improves self esteem
- Decreases Depression and Anxiety
- Minimized behavioural changes
- Improves quality of life
- Caregiver benefits
- Reduces agitation
- Reduces behaviour that challenges
- Aids learning about the person experiencing dementia
- Allows routines to be established
- Allows for close monitoring of a person’s changing needs
- Reduces stress for the individual living with dementia
- Using Activities as a form of Therapy
Meaningful activities will follow a set plan and progression based on the individual, their needs, wants and influencing circumstances and can be adapted at any time to suit the moment.