9 Engaging Activities for Dementia Patients
Daily routines can be challenging for those caregivers who live with dementia patients. Taking care of patients affected by dementia can be a difficult task because you must ensure their safety while providing activities that can be mentally stimulating for them. As a caregiver, you may be struggling to come up with safe yet invigorating activities for your loved one with dementia.
If you create a plan for activities for dementia patients, you will be able to organize your day without exhausting yourself.
Here are 9 ideas to help you plan your day or the week ahead:
Light Physical Activity
Encouraging a dementia patient to engage in light household chores could help them feel enabled and encouraged. Choose safe light household activities that you feel they will be comfortable doing. As a caregiver, you can designate activities such as folding clothes, towels or pillow covers. These activities are light and not too complicated. Acknowledge their efforts after a dementia patient completes a task and pay them a compliment.
Arranging a photo album
Looking at photographs could bring back positive memories and help them remember friends and family. Caregivers can either assist their seniors with dementia or hand them a bunch of photographs and ask them to help organize. Arranging a photo album with sequence will help them organize the images accordingly.
Game of Puzzles
Some people may prefer doing puzzles by themselves, but others love doing it as part of a family group activity. As a caregiver, if you love putting pieces of the puzzle together this could be a great interactive activity for you and your senior loved one. If you have other family members living with you, engage them as well and invite your senior loved one with dementia to come and join so they feel encouraged and motivated. You could label the pieces by color for their ease and comfort.
Take Them for a Walk
If your senior loved with dementia is mobile, take them for a short walk. Most dementia patients use a walker, so they have some assistance and stability. With the right footwear, they will feel secure while walking and anti-slip shoes can reduce chance of accidental slips and falls. If you have a dog, this could be a great way to go for regular walks.
Arts and Crafts
There are many arts and crafts activities that caregivers can use to engage their senior loved ones with dementia. Ranging from watercolors to flower arrangement, from homemade play dough to making a scrapbook, this wide range of activities can help them feel creative and motivated. With every attempt, encourage them by giving a compliment.
Some of the benefits of creative social activities:
- Better emotional health
- Restful sleep
- Improved cognitive function
- Sense of achievement
- Better physical health
Light Garden Work
If you have a garden that you regularly take care of, seek your senior loved one’s help so they can assist you. Light garden work that does not involve extensive standing or crouching can be a great way for them to feel involved. You can have them sit on a chair and keep the small potted plants on the table so they can work easily. If your dementia patient is mobile, have them assist you with small tasks in the lawn for improved interaction and involvement.
Here is a 5 minute video for people with mild cognitive impairment, early memory loss, and mid or later stage dementia.
Reading Newspapers/ Magazines
Magazines and newspapers are considered lighter reads because they are displayed and compiled as short passages. The bite-sized paragraphs and a variety of images in magazines also keep the readers engaged. Subscribe to a magazine (or magazines) that you feel your senior loved one will enjoy reading. Some options include gardening magazines, art magazines, or home décor magazines.
Adult Coloring Book
Adult coloring books are so popular these days and for all the right reasons. As a caregiver, you can choose a theme for the coloring book that your dementia patient will enjoy the most, like flowers or animals and gift them the adult coloring books with a pack of coloring pencils. Some tend to forget the passage of time when they are having fun and coloring books are very engaging, therapeutic and a great stress reliever for a lot of people.
Being indoors all day can dampen a person’s spirit. Dementia patients need sunlight and a positive environment, so they feel inspired. Choose a time of the day when its not too hot for them to be outside. You can set up their creative space outdoors in the lawn or backyard and they can enjoy reading or painting while sitting outdoors. Having a lap desk or a small easel would be extremely helpful so they can sit and enjoy themselves.