Dementia Friendly Activities

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No matter the season, it’s always a good idea to have ready a playbook of activities that are safe and fun for loved ones with dementia.

Key Strategies:

  • Be flexible! Rainy days, sleepless nights, illness, or mobility issues can often complicate excursions or physical activities, so make sure your playbook includes activities suited to a variety of requirements.
  • Interaction, not completion, is the goal! Don’t get frustrated with your loved ones if they are not interested in completing an activity, as the goal is to stimulate their minds and/or engage them in physical activity.
  • Don’t force it! If they push back against an activity, try something else. Activities should provide agency to your loved ones, and help them feel in control.

Activity Ideas:

  • Cook together. Simple recipes with safe tools are a great way to rekindle old interests, or spark happy memories.
    • Stir, wash dishes, spread batter, etc.
  • Puzzles. Guided activities like puzzles are a great way to practice manual dexterity, and are a good conversation piece.
    • 5-50 piece puzzles, crossword puzzles, etc.
  • Music. Invite your loved one to play a simple song, or see if they remember the words to older tunes or rhymes.
    • Music from their ‘era’ (i.e. 40s, 50s), nursery rhymes, simple dances, piano music.
  • Scrapbooking. Exploring family albums and creating family collages are a great way to take a trip down memory lane.
  • Reading. Large-print books, audiobooks, or reading aloud are a great alternative to television programming.
    • Choose works with positive, simple stories.
  • Gardening. Plant stands are a great way to allow access to planting without requiring you to kneel or bend over for long periods of time.
    • Make sure to have all tools and supplies ready before you begin.
  • Cleaning. Shared activities like cleaning are a great way to empower your loved ones and to help them feel comfortable in their home.
    • Folding clothes, dusting surfaces with a cloth, etc.
  • Walks. Even if just around the perimeter of the home, walks are an essential activity to keep your loved one engaged and physically fit.
    • Make sure to bring a snack, something to drink, and (if appropriate) some music.

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