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15 Activities for Those Living With Dementia

It’s important that those with dementia are able to engage in activities just the same as anyone else. In fact, activities can both stimulate the brain and trigger memories. Whether or not you live with someone with dementia, or are considering elderly live-in care for a loved one for someone with dementia, this guide provides some useful ideas for activities to enjoy with your loved one.

 

We take a closer look at the below activities:

Exercise

Jigsaws/ puzzles

Crosswords

Listening to music

Playing a musical instrument

Walks

Arts and crafts

Gardening

Baking

Looking at old photos

Reading

Animal therapy

Watch a favourite TV show or movie

Card Game

Useful Apps

You can read our guide to understanding the difference between dementia and Alzheimers here. 

 

Exercise

Helping keep the person with dementia active is important for their overall mental and physical wellbeing. Exercise can be incorporated into their daily schedule, even if this just includes a stroll outside or a yoga class. They might enjoy swimming in the local sports centre which can be a great way to not only include this as part of their exercise routine but also as a way of increasing their social lives. There may be other classes at local centres that offer tai chi, aqua aerobics, tennis and other sports that the person may be interested in.

Jigsaws/ puzzles

Jigsaws and puzzles can be great ways of helping pass the time on rainy days. They can also help keep a person with dementia’s brain active and give them a good opportunity to practice fine motor functioning. You can even buy personalised jigsaw puzzles that might make the activity more enjoyable for the person.

 

Crosswords

Doing sudoku and crosswords will not reverse dementia symptoms but they can be enjoyable activities for people with dementia. Since these are also problem-solving exercises, they can encourage connections in the brain to continue to remain active, hopefully reducing the speed at which they are lost.

 

Listening to music

Listening to music can be relaxing for people with dementia and there are studies that suggest it can improve mood and therefore wellbeing. Certain songs may also activate and stimulate specific memories which can be important for someone who is losing their memory.

 

Playing a musical instrument

If the person plays a musical instrument or shows interest in doing so then this can be an enjoyable activity to help encourage them with. Playing a musical instrument has also been shown as beneficial for people’s cognitive health which is a great reason to help support them with this activity.

Walks

Walks outside in nature can be an easy activity to incorporate frequently. Walking has many psychological and physical benefits. It helps stimulate your senses and encourages connection with other people. Local parks can be good locations for walking as they are usually away from busy roads. If the person is prone to falls then using walking aids such as a walking stick can be helpful. They may also experience disorientation or forget the route home so try not to leave them unattended outside the home.

 

Arts and crafts

This can include anything from drawing, colouring, sewing, knitting or collaging. This will be very much dependent on what the person would like to do and this can change each time they engage with this activity. If you notice that they like a particular activity more so than others, then you can support them with buying enough supplies for what they want to do.

 

Gardening

If the person with dementia has a garden then you can help them to maintain any plants or flowers they may have. You can also support them with mowing the lawn and planting new plants. Even if the person does not have a garden, you can support them with watering indoor plants and if they have a keen interest, they can even grow edible plants inside such as herbs. This can be rewarding for the person with dementia and help them feel a sense of achievement.

 

Baking or Cooking

This can be a great activity to do together and it can be an opportunity for people with dementia to try to remember recipes that they used to make or follow a new recipe using clear instructions. You may need to support them with each step but try to prompt rather than do it for them. Be careful of the person with dementia using sharp knives or other potentially dangerous equipment as they may be clumsier, which could result in injury.

 

Looking at old photos

This can be a useful activity to help people with dementia recognise familiar faces of family members and friends. It can also be an opportunity for them to reminisce and recall any memories that may be triggered by the photographs.

 

Reading

Reading the newspaper together can be a good activity to keep them up to date with topical information and help stimulate conversation.

 

Animal therapy

Animals can be therapeutic for people with dementia and pets can improve companionship and reduce anxiety. One activity a person with dementia might like to do is take their dog for a walk or spend time with their cat.

 

Watch a favourite TV show or movie

This can be incorporated into a routine but should not be the main activity someone with dementia engages in. Watching TV is a passive activity, despite the flashing images and lights and therefore does not stimulate the brain in the same way as other activities on this list. However, sometimes the person will need to sit down to rest and putting on their favourite programme can be enjoyable for them, especially if you are there too.

 

Card Game

Playing card games that the person with dementia is familiar with can help stimulate cognitive processes involved with memory and problem-solving. Adapt games if you need to and remind them of the rules as you go along.

 

Useful apps

If the person has a smartphone then they will be able to download different apps that they might like. You will most likely need to support them with downloading the apps and helping them onto an app.

 

These are a few apps to consider:

  • My Reef 3D
  • MindMate
  • Lumosity
  • Headspace
  • Let’s Create! Pottery

 

One activity could be going through the different apps available together and choosing those that they would like to try.

 

The above are just some of the activities you can enjoy with a loved one. For those who think their relative may have dementia, but are unsure, you can read our guides on dementia for more information. The Live in Care Company can provide elderly live in care for a loved one, meaning they can remain in comfort in their home, one of the benefits of live-in care. For more information about what types of elderly live-in care are available, or to speak to one of our friendly team, contact us today.

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