When autistic adults enter their golden years, their cognitive impairment can increase due to cellular degeneration, which is part of the natural aging process. However, with increased cognitive stimulation, the impairment your elderly loved one is experiencing can be alleviated. In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, the staff at Prescott Home Care Assistance wants to share some ways you can help keep your loved one mentally engaged.
Cognitive stimulation for the elderly begins with stimulating the senses. For seniors who live with autism, this requires a gentle approach, often beginning with focusing on their living environment. Your loved one deserves to live in calm surroundings devoid of loud noises or excessive excitement that may trigger his or her autistic patterns.
A proven sensory stimulation exercise that can help boost your loved one’s cognitive function involves giving him or her a box filled with objects of various shapes and colors. Ideally, the box should also contain objects that produce sounds and others that can be doused with perfume or aromatic oils. The idea is for your loved one to interact with the box and its contents habitually but not repetitively. This activity can help him or her retain memory skills.
Sensory stimulation can be eased into communication exercises. Ideally, you or other family members who are providing home care in Prescott should engage your loved one in conversation as he or she explores the aforementioned box and its contents. Depending on the level of your loved one’s autism, it may be necessary to spin conversations about the objects before moving on to personal or family topics. Your loved one can also play computer games that challenge him or her with pattern recognition, reflexes, and time management. However, it is important to remember these games do not engage all the senses.
Because seniors with autism have a higher risk for Alzheimer’s, it is important to encourage them to practice their social skills to keep their minds sharp. Whenever possible, encourage your loved one to participate in social activities that give him or her more opportunities for sensory stimulation. For instance, encourage your loved one to either watch or help his or her Prescott caregiver with preparing a meal before sitting down to eat.
For more information on activities that can help keep your loved one mentally engaged, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer part-time and live-in care, and we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s and dementia home care Prescott families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (928) 771-0105 to schedule a complimentary consultation.