When a parent has Alzheimer’s, it’s easy to feel down. Alzheimer’s patients are often depressed and even despondent. Mood swings happen regularly and make it hard to be around that person. You get yelled at, cried on, and, perhaps, even hit a time or two. You know it’s the disease, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
In all of this difficulty, it can seem hard to find the positives. Sometimes, you have to seek them on your own. Here are five ways to get your parent out of a funk and into a lighter, enjoyable mood.
Enjoy a Meal Together
Gather the family and have a meal together. With everyone bringing a dish, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If possible, do a little research and find favorite foods of your parent’s childhood and make those dishes.
While you eat, talk about the years your parent remembers best. It may not be early childhood. You might find your mom or dad focus on the teen years most often. If that’s the case, aim for favorite foods from that time period.
Go Through Photo Albums
Taking a look through old photo albums often triggers happy memories that get your mom or dad talking. Enjoy these moments. If possible, jot down notes on the back of the photos to help future generations identify who people are.
Put On Some Music
Music has a way of changing a sad mood. Crank up some music that’s certain to be cherished by your parent. Start dancing and singing and see if your parent will follow your lead. Having someone available to capture this moment on a phone camera will preserve that moment.
Take a Walk
A walk in the fresh air has a way of easing depression and a blue mood. Dress for the weather and head off on a walk around the block or down the street. If there are no safe paths near your home, head to a local town or state park and use the groomed walking trails.
Visit a Petting Zoo
People with Alzheimer’s usually love animal therapy. If there’s a petting zoo in your area, take your mom or dad there to pet and feed animals for an hour or two. If you don’t have a petting zoo nearby, see if there is an animal shelter that needs someone to spend time playing with the cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies.
Don’t let Alzheimer’s overwhelm you. If you need a break from family caregiving, take one. Elder care aides take over so that you can get away for an hour or two. Call an elder care agency to arrange respite care and other caregiver services.