Do caretakers see the importance of daily recreational activities?

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This is a tough one for me because Mom and I struggle with it, almost every day. When she does more activities, she is happier. She feels more part of the world, I think - less useless. She'll read a little, do a little needlework, get out her crossword puzzles, dustmop, etc... She won't bother much with TV. But that all tires her out and, sometimes, she kind of crashes.

So, then, she has days where she is unmotivated and does almost nothing and there's not much I can do about it. She's surly and uncooperative.

Some of this has to do with how much she was tired-out by her activities, some of it based on her dementia.

And, before anyone mentions that dustmopping isn't a "recreational activity," it does seem to be something she only does on her "good" days and she kind of enjoys it as she feels useful. All the activities she does seem to go together.

Part of why I can get her to do things, at all, is because her doctors seem to keep reminding her how important this all is. Also, they're not unrealistic about it. They don't smile and talk about how great it will be if she makes a friend. Instead, they speak generally about good memory health and such and list realistic things she can do to do that, and they tell her she can pick a few things she is most likely to like or not to dislike too much, basically. And, because they are the doctors, they must "know" so I don't think she'd be doing as much as she is if it wasn't for them.

But you can't make a person do these things. In my Mom's case, we've found her sensitive points and we work with those. If you can figure out what motivates a person, that helps. Even then, they won't cooperate with the plan, every day. My mom is motivated by the fact that she doesn't want a walker and doesn't want to end up with either a stranger or a family member wiping her behind.

Also, it's not easy to get a person to enjoy themselves. At the memory clinic, they told me that they have people who come and LOVE being there but, as soon as they're in the car, forget they had a good time and insist they're not returning. So, much as a person might enjoy an activity, they don't always remember that outside of the actual activity time.
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How many ways for the old person do to get the better health including, his activities every day.
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I have tried to get my mom interested in past-times, hobbies, activities, socializing, ANYTHING.

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make her drink.

Then there are other concerns such as functional abilities (fine and gross motor skills, cognition, attention span, etc.)

I kinda figure, anymore, if my mom, at 87, wants to do nothing, then okay. I ran out of ideas a long time ago, anyway. Even the stuff she used to do she has no interest in at all.

So now we just spend the afternoons watching Disney movies and repeating the same mantra (varies daily but not during the day if you dig) until I realize I am one day closer to buddha-hood because I did not lose it or give in to my irritation.

She can't help it. I can't, either, evidently. So we just do the best we can.

I have come to suspect that the only way to overcome this in one's so-called golden years is to PREVENT it as much as possible by being interested in things long before those years arrive...develop hobbies you like and stick with them...adapt when functions decrease...don't spend all your energy and attention on WORK because when you retire, even if you have a million bucks in the bank, you are POOR because you have no life invested in your life. And life goes on but work does end.
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I agree with anonymous 38119 when she wrote : "I wish that universities would start local programs where social workers in training, teachers, musicians, therapists, etc would have to do in internship in the field and offer caregivers services for free where they would come to your home and provide some mindstimulating activites, or even just conversation to those elderly willing to accept it. Or local pet owners for those elderly who can't have a pet, would bring them by for a visit. "

I like to think -- if I had a dog -- that I would make the rounds at local retirement communities where pets are not permitted. For people like me who don't have the "gift of gab," a dog can break the ice immediately and get people smiling and talking in no time.
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ZZ I think it was just the tone sounded sort of accusitory and everyone here is pretty stressed out as it is, most of our lives revolve around looking after loved ones who function somewhere between 5 and 2 year olds, though not all.

I agree with you activity is good, both mental and physical, more than use it or lose it, it provides positive reinforcement that says I am still here still participating in my life and I choose to do this. It is essential to life truly, even paraplegics benefit from staying alert mentally.

I think most here would agree with you, but there are time constraints and money issues for many of us.

Possibly small things just to keep the hands active and the minds engaged would work for many, when true physical limitations make walking impossible and so forth.

It is a good idea, it just comes to a group that is worn out with years if not decades of care-giving and the query just sounded like one more thing...I know you didn't mean it that way now. But we have had some nasty comments from people in the past and it gets peoples hackles up to be tired and worn out and sapped and think someone is saying "oh by the way you are not doing enough..."

I hope you see that, we can be a pretty snippy group at times...
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I agree with you the importance of activities for those we care for and it does make them more cooperative and peaceful when they have something they like to occupy their minds and bodies. In fact this is another cause of worry and anxiety for me that I am not providing enough, particullay physical therapy to keep weight down and muscles active since this also helps blood pressure and many other medical issues. But the reality is, when you also have to worry about the day to day things like keeping them clean, well fed, medical, prescriptions, financial, insurance, safety, activities fall down on the list. I have had physical therapists come to the home but they come usually on their schedule so if my mother is not feeling well that day, she won't do therapy, after a couple of missed sessions, they discharge you b/c of Medicare rules. Getting elderly trasnported to outside activities, assuming they are not bedridden is another problem. Motivation is very hard, especially if they did not do many activities before they became this ill and are now mostly bed or wheelchair bound. I now, when I have time, try to do physical therapy exercises with my mother that I learned from prior sessions, I bring her dvds, free from the library. She reads the paper every day. She has a cat that is devoted to her and keeps her mind alert. She watches cable news, etc. She reads large print books. But as far as social interaction with others, she has very little. This is whee lack of sibling help disappoints me most. If one would even call every week or even every month to keep her mind active, that's all I would want. I wish that universities would start local programs where social workers in training, teachers, musicians, therapists, etc would have to do in internship in the field and offer caregivers services for free where they would come to your home and provide some mindstimulating activites, or even just conversation to those elderly willing to accept it. Or local pet owners for those elderly who can't have a pet, would bring them by for a visit.
When my mother was in assisted living and nursing homes, she refused to do activities. She just wanted to come home. She is much happier here doing only what she wants to do. I think the lesson I learned, but probably will end up not following myself, is to be proactive when you are hitting the senior years. Find activities, exercise, don't[ isolate, practice preventive medical care. But with human nature, sounds good but hard to implement. and with Alz and other diseases, sometimes you can do everything right but still get blindsided.So I'm glad you are an interested professional and hopefully provide a good environment for those under your care but how much does your facility cost? I know the most expensive places providce all kinds of activities, field trips, bring in entertainment, but not everyone can afford those places.
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Once you know and understand who your parents are and what they like now. There is a strong possibility that dealing with them will be a lot easier and activities play a huge roll in that process and a lot of caretakers are un aware of this fact.

I am happy to say that I love what I do and the impact I have on my residents life as well as my grandmother's life of whom I take care of.


I am also currently formulating a thesis and research on this topic.
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Just for everyone's information, I was truly looking to hear what people thought. I work in the geriatric field and a lot of caretakers truly do not see nor do they understand the impact that activities have.

Activities gives a new refreshing meaning to life

Activities make a person more alert. Absence of activity can lead to physical and mental deterioration.

Activities provide opportunity - for socialization, stimulation, the creation of friendships, and the increase of self esteem. The will to live is often strengthened and confidence in himself is restored.

Activities are important to good health. Physical exercise stimulates the flow of oxygen thus aiding the thought process. The brain according to some researchers loses so many cells that by age 75 it is only slightly over 50% of its original size. Blood circulation and mental stimulation of the brain helps it to function better at any age. The great artist, inventor, Leonardo da Vinci said, "Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, even so does inaction sap the rigors of the mind."

Activities provide therapy,

I could go on and on...

In all honesty this post was simply to get some conversation about how caretakers "look at or view" activities.

I strongly believe that activities should be a lifestyle and it can be tailored to meet all walks of life.
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I pretty sure they meant "importance of daily recreational activities" for the caregiver, and that if you just let them know who you are they will send you a free XBox Kinect plus tons of exercise and recreational software and arrange for daily free respite workers to give you a break them whenever you like.

That's how I read it.
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