Daily activities should be meaningful or purposeful, not just a diversion. Group them according to the different spheres of everyday life:
Domestic life: for example, baking, preparing morning tea, setting tables, clearing and wiping tables, washing dishes, folding washing, dusting.
Outdoor life: for example, walking, raking the leaves, sweeping up, gardening, feeding chickens or pets, small repair jobs, doing woodwork in an outdoor shed.
Social life: for example, shopping, outings like visiting a park, going to the beach, seeing a film, attending a concert, games, exercise.
Artistic life: for example, painting and drawing, crafts like knitting, crocheting, decorating placemats, papier mâché work, making cards, flower arranging.
Personal life: for example, facials, hand massages and manicures, life review, looking at photos, pet visits.Individual life: for example, activity board projects, sorting objects, reading, writing letters or cards.
Work life: for example, working at a desk, using a computer, other tasks related to past occupations.
Physical life: for example, Tai Chi for people with dementia (Arthritis Victoria: <www.arthritisvic.org.au>), strength training, standing and seated exercises.
How to make daily life meaningful and purposeful
- Use skills familiar to people.
- Draw on people’s positive past experiences.
- Focus on existing strengths.
- Create areas that invite activity - make a piano seen and easy to get to; have garden beds raised so passers-by can easily get their hands dirty.
Physical design for daily life
Activity kitchens encourage participation in food preparation: washing vegetables, buttering bread, baking and decorating biscuits. They also encourage washing dishes, setting tables, sweeping floors and people helping themselves to drinks and snacks.
If there is no specially built activity kitchen, set up an area for domestic experiences using some small tables, a small fridge, a microwave or toaster oven with appropriate safety features, an old cupboard and a display of familiar kitchen items.
Internal work areas can be created using a desk, chairs and other props like writing pads and pens, a typewriter, reading lamp, file folders and a computer, providing a familiar setting for people who once did office work. For flower arranging, create table space for vases, dried or fresh flowers and ribbons.
Outdoor sheds can offer experiences that draw on old skills in a setting of familiar sights, sounds and smells. People can hammer in nails or sand wooden surfaces with safe, simple tools, or sit on a workhorse and reminisce.
Gardens are a favourite place for many people. With reachable garden beds and failure-free tasks, such as planting, weeding, watering and sweeping, gardens offer individual and group activities at different skill levels.