It is important for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to participate in activities that will benefit their cognitive and physical health. The activities should be creative, engaging and meaningful. Here are ten ideas for activities that will help those suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or memory loss maintain their cognitive function and physical abilities and engage their memories, while keeping them active and entertained throughout the day. There are many posts on Tailored Home Care, Inc.’s Facebook Page that include more activities and ideas.
1. Listen to Music
Music has also been found to be an enjoyable activity for many adults with dementia. Seniors with dementia may enjoy creating music (singing or playing an instrument) and listening to their favorite tunes. Adults with dementia may be unable to recall names or dates, they may still remember the music they’d played or listened to throughout their lives.
Coloring can be therapeutic and calming and the bright colors help stimulate the brain.
Holding the crayons and markers, also helps to maintain fine motor skills.
3. Sensory Pillows or Blankets.
For individuals in late stage dementia, sensory stimulation is one type of activity that may be especially useful, particularly for those with Alzheimer’s disease. In the later stages of dementia, seniors typically experience greater declines in reasoning and language, but they still have their senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), and caregivers can use them as ways to connect. Sensory pillows or blankets can be purchased online or simply made. Attaching zippers, clasps, buttons and different fabrics to a pillow, apron or blanket can help stimulate and maintain fine motor skills.
4. Complete Puzzles and Crosswords or Play Sudoku
Completing puzzles and sudoku games helps keep brains sharp and active.
It can also boost memory skills and is a great way to stay actively engaged throughout the day.
Crosswords are a low-stress workout for your memory and problem-solving skills.
Sudoku is meaningful for those who are mathematically inclined.
Painting is another great calming activity that can benefit those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Attempting different strokes and patterns is great for concentration practice and it also helps maintain fine motor skills.
6. Read Books or Tell Stories
Hearing the sound of a caregiver or loved one’s voice can be soothing. Listening to stories is light exercise for your brain and your imagination. Short stories tend to be better than long books and stories that relate to their past are a great way to utilize long term memory. Do you know whether your loved one is showing signs of normal aging or dementia? We discuss the difference in this blog post!
7. Organize, Rummage and Sort
Rummaging is a common trait amongst those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This can be a good way to keep them engaged if controlled and done purposefully. You can gather things that relate to their hobbies or former career and create themed boxes like a sewing or knitting drawer, a sports basket, a costume jewelry box, a tool box, a box of music-related items, etc.
You could also have them organize containers or items around the house. The possibilities are endless, and you could provide hours of organizing and sorting fun.
8. Count Coins
Counting and wrapping coins by hand is a great activity for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients and is a great way to also keep their minds and hands busy. It is a simple activity that can easily be done anywhere and is a great activity to starve off boredom.
9. Look at Photo Albums or Watch Home Videos.
Reminiscence is vital for emotional and mental well being. The benefits of reminiscence include the potential to bring up happy memories and cultivate positive feelings. Reminiscing can also help instill in individuals with Alzheimer’s a sense of value and contribution, in that they are sharing stories with others who are interested in what they have to say.
10. Play Games that Boost Memory Skills
Games that require memory skills are a great way to stimulate the brain and give it a workout.
You can even engage memories from the past by incorporating reminiscing into memory games.
Create “Fill in the Blank” games by choosing songs and things that relate to each person. You can choose movie related items, songs, colors! This is a great versatile activity that can be adapted to be more meaningful to each person playing. Here are some examples of memory games that you can create.