.If you care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s then you know how difficult it can be to find engaging activities for them.
People with dementia and Alzheimer’s are in need of activities that enrich their minds. This allows them to stay in the here and now.
When my grandmother began to develop dementia, we watched as she slowly slipped into a confused state.
It started with not remembering things from the day before then progressed into not remembering her family members at all.
The different stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s can impact some elderly patients differently than others. However, throughout the horrible process of these diseases, certain activities for dementia patients and Alzheimer’s patients can help make the patient feel better about themselves and help stave off their cognitive decline.
Keeping patients with moderate dementia and patients with Alzheimer’s active is an easy way to keep their brains active and engaged more so than watching television.
So today I’m going to share with you some activity ideas that my family used. I will also show you where you can purchase them if necessary.
Dementia Activities Ideas
- Take a walk around the yard: This was my favorite activity to do with my grandmother. She enjoyed being outside and feeling the breeze. There are a lot of things to see while outside. When your loved one stays inside the same room for hours on end their brains aren’t learning anything new. We would count how many trees or flowers we saw, this helped keep her mind active. Walking outside can be difficult for some but it is a great idea if it’s possible for your loved one. Sometimes a cane can be useful for dementia patients with mobility issues, here is one of my favorite walking canes.
- Dancing: My grandmother loves to dance. If your loved one or the person you care for is able to stand it helps to get them on their feet and dancing by playing some music from their favorite era. If you care for someone that can’t stand they can still dance while in a chair. My grandmother, to this day, still loves Dean Martin. She may not know my name, but when you play “That’s Amore!” she can’t help but be energized and sing along. Try getting a CD with various artists from the 50’s or 60’s with some of their favorite songs. These are some of the best.
- Put a puzzle together: This can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding activities for dementia patients. Puzzles allow the patient to problem solve while having fun. If your loved one has severe dementia this task can be challenging since it is hard for patient with severe dementia to stay focused. Patients with moderate dementia will find this activity very entertaining and it can be used multiple times. Here are a couple great puzzles for dementia and Alzheimer patients to use: Dog Puzzle, Bird Puzzle, and a Vintage Candy Wrapper Puzzle.
- Sweep off the porch: This a great activity to keep the mind moving while also getting exercise. For the longest time we didn’t understand why my grandmother loved sweeping so much. After reading and doing some research it seems that patients with dementia love doing tasks that are easy, yet rewarding. Sweeping off the porch was rewarding for my grandmother because she was able to finish the job and know that she helped by completing a chore. Small things like that can help boost a dementia patient’s self-esteem. Here are some brooms just in case you don’t have one yet, or need a new one.
- Create a scrap book: Working with their hands and looking at pictures is a great activity for dementia and Alzheimer patients. The pictures will keep the brain active while they go down memory lane. Each picture will bring up a memory, which is great for dementia patients. Also, using their hands allow their brain to think about where they are going to put each picture. This means they are using their minds to solving problems. There are hundreds of scrap books that you can purchase for your loved one, here are my favorites.
- Fold laundry: This goes back to the same premise of sweeping of the porch. Folding clothes is simple. But the activity allows your loved one to feel that they are helping out (which I’m sure they are) by helping to fold the laundry. My grandmother loves doing this. She will jump (slowly) out of her chair to assist in folding laundry. It’s something that is easy yet rewarding for dementia patients.
- Sanding wood: Sanding wood with a piece of sand paper is an easy way to keep a loved one’s mind active. They can sand a 2X4 or a fallen branch from outside. Either way they are using their hands and their brain. Sandpaper is readily available and is not dangerous. Sanding a piece of wood can take hours. Therefore, this is a great task to keep a dementia patient’s mind active. Buy some sand paper here!
- Look at a map: Looking at a map of where your patient or loved one is from can bring back memories. You can also use a map of the USA or wherever your patient is from to name each state and its capital. This can be a fun trivia game to do on a daily basis. Simple trivia games are great for dementia patients. The questions jog the patients mind and makes them search their memories. Here are some of the top trivia games: Map Trivia and movie trivia.
- Water plants: Watering plants indoors or outdoors is a great activity for people with dementia. As long as the person is able to stand and get around comfortably this can be a great activity. If your loved one is watering plants inside make sure that the watering can is not filled to a point that makes it too heavy for them to carry. If your loved one/patient has a garden or bushes outside this can be a great way to keep them active. Here are some great hoses and watering cans.
- Have conversations: This may sound silly but sometimes people forget how beneficial it is to have a conversation with someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. You can ask them about their day, memories from the past, or what they’ve eaten so far. Asking about the past is especially a great way to keep a dementia patients brain active. You’ll be amazed by how much someone can remember from 30 years ago, while they may not remember much about the day before.
I hope that these ideas have helped you come up with new or improved ways to keep your loved one/patient active mentally and physically. People in all stages of dementia, be it moderate dementia, or the last stages of dementia can benefit from the activities above.
Only you know how active your loved one/patient can be so keep them safe, and keep them ENGAGED.