If you are caring for an aging loved one that has Alzheimer’s, the majority of your day will probably be spent making him or her feel as safe, as comfortable, and as independent as you can. Alzheimer’s and dementia are illnesses that impair memory, thinking, and behavior. Eventually, the symptoms of these health issues become severe enough to interfere with daily activities. These are gradual conditions that start with modest memory loss and may lead to loss of capacity to converse and respond to the surroundings.
Alzheimer’s can have a significant impact on the capacity of an individual to carry out daily tasks. It is responsible for around 60% to 80% of all dementia cases. While it is not a natural component of the aging process, the most significant known risk factor is growing age. In fact, the majority of Alzheimer’s patients are aged 65 and up.
Medical treatments can enhance the quality of life for those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. However, at the present time, it has no recognized cure. But it can help to assist people in maintaining their brain health and taking care of their behavioral symptoms. As the illness progresses, people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia may become restless or develop fidgeting behaviors. They may pull their clothes or bedding, twist their fingers, wring their hands, or rub their skin. This can also worry their loved ones that they might hurt themselves.
Based on experts, sensory therapy can help soothe seniors safely by keeping their hands busy in a productive way. One of the ways to keep their hands busy is with the use of fidget toys. These toys are popular among children, and they are advertised as a useful tool to assist people with ADHD or anxiety to remain calm and focused. But based on experts, it can also be beneficial for elderly people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you are interested to learn more about how fidget toys can help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, read on as we’re giving you more information along with the best fidget toys for them.
What are Fidget Toys?
Fidget toys are items people can hold in their hands to keep them engaged while focusing on what’s going on in their surroundings. They are commonly used by children who have difficulty learning. However, a lot of geriatricians find them beneficial for older adults that have cognitive conditions, as well. There are many different shapes and forms of fidget toys, but all of them can provide distractions that reduce restlessness or destructive behavior.
These toys can provide a place for people to direct their energy in a less distracting and more socially appropriate way while they focus on the task they have at hand. It also helps people to filter out all of the excess sensory information in the surroundings and within the body that is causing distraction, leading all of the energy and focus on the toy at hand.
Benefits of Fidget Toys to Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia that impair cognitive functions, perceptual acuity, and social abilities cause a person to be rattled and often agitated. Think about it this way: as the disease progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s disease regains childlike qualities that make children see the world as a magical place. For children, everything is new since they don’t have a past. But for a person with Alzheimer’s, the world can be filled with novelty because he forgets the past due to the disease.
Once you give toys to the patient, he or she will be fascinated. When a patient’s speech is incoherent, and he or she is usually tired, amusing them with sensory toys will help ease tiredness and make them much more conversational. However, it is important that you pick fidget toys that are appropriate for them as these will do a better job of holding the interest and attention of the person with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
If you are wondering what positive things seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia can get from fidget toys, below are some of them:
Calms Hands and Engage Minds
Regardless of age, humans need physical activity and play. It is very important for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia to be involved in life in whatever capacity, and fidget toys can help with this. Playing with them is a technique for a lot of people to maintain focus and be involved in an enjoyable pastime. For example, playing with a spinner might be comforting to a dementia patient’s restless mind.
In addition, hand exercises, which are provided by most fidget toys, provide the additional therapeutic advantage of keeping the hands and fingers stronger and nimbler, which can be great for seniors who have arthritis. It can also relieve their tension and anxiety, and they allow for silent, non-distracting movement for patients.
Fidgeting pertains to being restless. Seniors suffering from neuromuscular problems are often observed to be agitated. This can be because of different reasons, such as uneasiness, impatience, worry, and boredom. But with fidget toys, they can focus their minds on something else that is more enjoyable and calming, reducing their stress.
Diversion from Ruminating
Since fidget toys are found to be distracting, they can assist in diverting the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient from items that generate stress, which has a direct impact on ruminating. It has the same effect as meditation, which provides a release of stress hormones to the brain cells.
Influence Motor Control
Motor nerves can be found in the central nervous system. These are responsible for causing effectors to respond. These nerves also convey signals to the muscles or hormones, which cause them to react to any external stimulation. Seniors with nerve illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease may lose motor control. But fidget toys can assist them in recovering control and improving the state of their disease.
Fidgeting is a motor sensation in and of itself, and it has several types. One example is the recurrence of a certain activity as a result of external stimulation. Since it is performed a lot of times, it becomes the person’s habit.
Improve Attention and Concentration
Toys that allow people with Alzheimer’s to fidget can help enhance their attentiveness. These toys can improve the capacity of the brain to notice objects, respond to particular stimuli, and provide other functions. Fidget toys can also divert a senior’s attention away from the sources of tension and agitation. Fidget toys are claimed to soothe an unsettled mind by providing it something else to focus on. Since some dementia patients have a limited range of abilities, fidget toys can be great for them as they are very easy to use.
Fidget toys are quiet and can be used without disturbing other people. This makes them a good activity for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who share living space in a residential care facility. They are also perfect while in waiting rooms.
Create Connections with Grandchildren
Since a lot of kids today are also caught up in the fidget toys craze, they will think that it’s pretty cool that grandpa or grandma is using the same toy that they enjoy playing with.
The Best Types of Fidget Toys for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
If you are looking for the best types of fidget toys that you can give to your senior loved ones who have Alzheimer’s and dementia, below is a list of some that can help soothe and entertain them.
Fidget spinners were in the rage in 2017. For many people, playing with the fidget spinner is a way to stay focused and engaged. Some consider it as a toy, but it’s a therapy for children and adults with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or those who fidget. For seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, it can help soothe them and keep them focused on a specific activity. It can also help those with arthritis strengthen their finger and hand muscles and prevent stiffness in the finger joints.
Below are some examples of fidget spinners to help you choose:
- FIGROL Fidget Spinner Clear Fidget Toy: These are very entertaining fidget spinners as they feature different lights as they spin. They are small enough to be used anywhere, and they can fit in purses and pockets easily. It is made of high-quality materials and can be used with or without lights.
- ATESSON Fidget Spinner Toy: This fidget spinner looks nice with its chrome colors. It can spin for around 2 to 5 minutes and does not create any noise. It has stainless steel bearings and is made of aluminum metal material that is high-quality. It is perfect for those with dementia to be used as a pressure release when they feel agitated.
- INNÔPLUS Fidget Spinners: This is a modern-looking fidget spinner that can spin for around 3 to 5 minutes. Its spin is controlled based on external force. It is also glow-in-the-dark, making it fun to use at night. It is perfect for releasing stress and anxiety.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have fidgety hands, and these tangle games can give their hands something to do as they move. Seniors can play with these things for hours. It can help calm anxious seniors and improve their hand motion and restore movement of hand joints and finger muscles.
The links of this toy can come apart and be reattached over and over again. But if the elderly likes putting things in their mouths, they must be supervised when playing with these tangle therapy toys because some have small pieces that can be choking hazards.
Below are some examples of tangle toys for seniors to help you choose:
- TANGLE Textured Original: This tangle toy features fun colors and five different textures that add to the enjoyment of the user. It can be twisted, bent, turned, coiled, and shaped into various creative visions. It also includes brainy games and fun ideas. It is a great fidget toy for sensory and tactile fun.
- Tangle Therapy Relax for Hand and Mind Wellness: This product is a good solution for seniors who have anxiety attacks as it provides them something to occupy their hands. It has a hard interior with a rubberized and texturized exterior, which is great for handling and occupying the mind. The twisting and turning action that can be done to this toy is great for calming seniors with dementia.
- Tangle Hairy: This tangle toy features a hair texture in different colors. It can provide seniors with an exciting tactile experience. It is great for any sensory recreation program, too.
Like fidget spinners, fidget cubes are meant to occupy the hands and minds of the patient. It offers stress and anxiety relief for the user. Unlike fidget spinners that can only offer one activity, a fidget cube features several different interaction points or sides. They can allow you to flip a switch, twirl components, press buttons, and more.
Below are some examples of fidget cubes to help you choose:
- JOEYANK Fidget Cube New Version Fidget Finger Toys: This fidget cube is made from premium anodized aluminum alloy. It has eight small cubes that can be rotated from any direction and angle. When you hold it in your hand, you can make any shape you want. It is also lightweight and easy to carry and keep in your pocket.
- PILPOC the Fube Fidget Cube: This fidget cube has a smooth surface that has a rubbery texture. It features rubber buttons, a joystick, a clicking button, and smooth rotation. It also comes with a protective case, allowing you to carry it anywhere.
Fidget Snap and Click Toys
Snappy plastic fidget toys can offer stress relief therapy for seniors with dementia and for kids with autism and ADHD. It helps promote a sense of calm and increases focus and attention. It can also keep the seniors’ fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and eye and hand coordination skills intact.
Below are some examples of fidget snap-and-click toys to help you pick:
- Neliblu Wacky Tracks Snap and Click Fidget Toys for Sensory: This is a tactile fidget toy that is great for those with dementia. It can break nervous habits like skin-picking and nail-biting as it keeps the hands occupied. This toy can be pivoted, twisted, or clicked. Each of the links on the snap-and-click toy pivots and locks into five positions, allowing users to build and shape the chain in various ways.
- Big Mo’s Toys Fidget Toy: This sensory snap-and-click toy includes one of each of four-color chains that can be pulled apart and snapped back together. They are bendy fidgets that are great for seniors with dementia.
Fidget quilts come in various textures, colors, and patterns. It’s a perfect gift for those with restless hand syndrome, fidgeting, and anxiety often associated with dementia. These fidget quilts can help exercise the hands and fingers, stimulate the brain with colors and textures, and alleviate boredom for seniors.
Below are some examples of fidget quilts to help you choose:
- Restless Remedy Fidget Quilts Fidget Blanket for Dementia: This fidget quilt can keep patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s occupied for hours. It is a soothing solution to the anxiety and restlessness that they feel. It has fabric prints and textures that can evoke fond memories. The soft fabric and silky ribbons are also soothing to the touch. Its bottom layer of fleece helps keep the fidget quilt from slipping off a lap.
- GeriGuard Solutions Fidget Quilt: This is a handmade fidget quilt that is a great solution for fidgeting, anxiety, and restless hand syndrome that often comes with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can exercise the hands and fingers, as well as stimulate the brain with bright colors and different gadgets, textures, and activities.
It is truly critical for seniors suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to participate in some form of activity to keep them busy and avoid being at risk of danger or harming themselves when they feel anxious. Fidget toys can assist them, and these toys do not have any detrimental effects on adult Alzheimer’s patients. Therefore, if you have an older loved one who has dementia, you can try and get them a fidget toy to provide them with something interesting to do, which can also be beneficial for their health. We hope this post helped you learn more about the best fidget toys for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
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