Elderly woman and caregiver

Activities for Dementia have Many Stages

Activities help with socialization and cognition/memory. Alzheimer’s/Dementia is experienced differently by each person who is at different stages of what they can do with your help. Family can acquire some items to do activities with their loved ones and make shared time more meaningful for both of you. If your family member becomes frustrated or agitated, do not coerce them into participating. It may take a few attempts to match activity and comfort level well. Consider any physical health needs such as balance, vision, hearing, pain level, etc.

Calming music or favorite songs will usually calm you both down. Find out what they did for a living and what they enjoy doing. Adjust activity to their ability level. If they like animals, go to a pet store. If you have an animal, perhaps they can help in grooming, walking, and playing with your pet.

Hobby and Crafts stores are a good place to find activities and crafts. You may wish to visit a Day Care center to see the tools they use and go online to purchase activities geared to people with cognitive impairment. These ideas can be used by families and hired caregivers.

Some Activities to do Together:

Coloring or painting

Polish the silver, dusting or sweeping

Putting things away – clothes, groceries, emptying dishwasher

Folding laundry, towels, or napkins

Organizing a drawer, desk, or closet

Balloon or beachball volleyball or a game of catch

Big pieces puzzles

Polishing nails, manicure

Listening to music, dancing

Read a book or newspaper, look at photo albums together

Make things with play dough

Match shapes together – cutouts

Put pennies (or other small single objects) on shapes you put onto pieces of paper, practice shapes, and counting

Simple card games or other games (dominos)

Go for walks

Simple gardening

Send out letters or cards to friends and family

Chair exercises or Chair Yoga with an exercise CD

Go Online to animal sites, sports, or whatever area of interest and view videos –YouTube.com

Look around your house, and think of some activities you can share.

Keep thinking… you’ll come up with more and ask your loved one which activity they prefer. Avoid open-ended questions. Keep it simple and enjoyable.