Engaging Activity for Seniors with Dementia

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Did you know that dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia? In 2022, an estimated 480,000 Australians suffered from dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to almost one million by 2058.

Some medical experts have suggested that the primary cause of dementia is due to brain damage. It will lead to a deterioration in thinking, memory, logic, analysis, and organising. The correlation between dementia and age is a myth. But genetics does play a role in the condition. This neurodegenerative disorder is more than a biological condition. It affects a person's life in various ways. Chung Wah Community Care (Chung Wah CC) hosts health talks on the topic of dementia regularly because we believe education is power. Doing so can enhance the knowledge of our seniors.

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In addition, the speakers also highlighted some practical strategies to reduce the risk of dementia, such as staying physically and socially active, having a balanced diet, getting quality sleep, and effectively managing cardiovascular health.

The majority of the senior participants felt this workshop was beneficial. But for some seniors who are already living with dementia is difficult. In fact, Chung Wah CC encourages them to seek medical advice and considers ways to help them being connected in the community life. Approximately 20-30% of the clients at our community hubs are living with different stages of dementia. Despite the company of their friends and family, individuals with dementia can still feel isolated and confused. If conditions worsen, this feeling can turn into depression. In addition, it may affect their family, carers and friends.

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According to some medical advice, simple group games can help mild to moderate dementia integrate into happier daily lives and enable them to become more active. The Evergreen College at the Willetton Hub is a testing point to incorporate simple games such as "Throw and Catch" to stimulate brain functions and introduce such games to the seniors and people living with dementia to participate. This game might look simple, but it is an effective activity that can provide happiness for people living with dementia. All participants will sit in a circle, then they have to repeatedly throw the ball to their selected partners and catch the ball thrown by other participants. Chung Wah CC staff and volunteers will assist during the games and ensure their safety while cheering on the participants. To ensure the participants' engagement, we will adjust the games according to their reactions during the game. For example, the throw-and-catch game can turn into a Music Ball game. When the music starts, the participants will try to pass on the ball as fast as possible. When the music stops, the participant who is holding the ball will receive a round of applause and sing or perform for other participants if they agree to do so. As a result, the Willetton Hub received positive feedback and excellent outcomes. These group ball games let the participant feel at ease while helping them stay socially engaged and stimulating their brain activity. We plan to include the "Throw and Catch" game in the Evergreen College activity list to encourage individuals with mild to moderate Dementia. They can participate in this or other activities and have some fun.

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Chung Wah has been servicing the WA community since 1909, dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, Chung Wah CC has over 35 years of professional care experience helping seniors and people with disability improve their well-being and better integrate into the community. In 2023, we're promoting our theme, "Embrace, Elevate, and Flourish", to reach far and wide with various young and old communities to build a better community for all.

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