The Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine has introduced a new obstacle for those with dementia…boredom! We all need fun and enjoyment in life — but it’s especially essential for those with cognitive decline.
Admittedly, being stuck in the house all day every day with your wife/husband/daughter for this many months, quickly loses its fun. Most people are accustomed to having things to do that gives them a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
“activities are designed for both fun and preserving cognitive function”
At our Oakwood clubs, members typically spend their days learning, creating, socializing and exercising their bodies and minds. These activities are designed for both fun and preserving cognitive function.
Many caregivers have reported seeing improvement in their loved one’s everyday lives, and ask me if we’re actually curing their diagnosis. Sure, I wish we could claim that as our victory, but as we all know — dementia is so much more complicated!
“a large percentage of our members do show improvement. Enough to make a difference for them”
Although dementia can’t be cured, those caregivers aren’t wrong about the differences they’re seeing. The MMSE testing (cognition improvement} that we administer every 6 months at Oakwood shows that a large percentage of our members do show improvement. Enough to make a difference for them!
However, the caveat to these improvements in cognition is that they will fade away if the classes and engagement aren’t continued on an ongoing basis.
During home isolation, online classes are the perfect way to stay active (and have fun!).
In fact, most of our members’ caregivers have reported to me that their loved ones are feeling happier and doing much better cognitively since they began attending our online classes on a regular schedule. To get the most benefit from the classes, there are a few things you should know…
4 Important Tips to Maintain Cognitive Improvements During Quarantine
- Online classes need to be on a regular schedule of at least 2-3 times per week if you’re at home during the Covid pandemic.
- Choose instructors who are familiar.
- Provide a quiet area without interruptions for your loved one to take their class.
- Family members and caregivers should let their loved one respond to the instructions however they wish. Remember, they just do not make mistakes! Please refrain from correcting them. For example: if the class instructor says to use a yellow color but they use blue instead, just go with the flow — it is their work and the completed project is not the goal here!
At Oakwood, we’ve noticed that the highest levels of improvement in cognition happens when a regular schedule for online classes is followed for 3-5 days a week.
However, we do see some improvement if a 2 days-per-week schedule is followed on a very firm basis. This has also been shown and written about many times by medical professionals.
I guess the very old saying “if you do not use it, you lose it” holds true throughout our entire life!