One of the most challenging things about caring for a patient is keeping them active and engaged in different activities. Depending on a patient's physical and mental capacity, there are a number of things a PA can do to keep patients active and happy in their daily home routines.
Before introducing any new activity, the PA should be familiar with the patient's health issues, and consult his/her physician or therapist to determine whether the activity may negatively impact the patient.
Here are a few ideas to keep a home health patient active:
1. Establish a routine of daily activities. Routines are especially important to maintain for patients with Alzheimers or memory problems. Routines should include set meal times, bath times, shopping excursions, walks and mild exercise, reading, puzzles and even television viewing.
2. Learn what their interests are (or were) and introduce activities that include past hobbies, such as knitting, sewing or playing the piano. Encourage the patient to spend an hour a day on these hobbies, if physically able.
3. Mild exercise may reduce agitation and boredom in patients with dementia. Take walks if the weather allows, or perhaps have them ride an indoor bicycle, lift light weights, or walk a flight of stairs. Dancing can provide a well-balanced workout, exercising various muscles as well as the brain when remembering steps and coordinating with a partner.
4. Gardening may be very therapeutic, and provide a sense of nurturing. If there is no outdoor space, or the weather doesn't permit, an indoor herb garden could be considered. Be cautious of heavy lifting or excessive bending when gardening, however, as these may prove detrimental to the patient's health.
5. Other activities that may engage a patient include card and board games, arts and crafts, yoga or tai chi classes, educational programs, field trips and lectures. If the patient is mobile, consider visiting a local senior center to discover any of these supplemental resources.