To maintain overall well-being, it is essential for a person living with dementia to engage in meaningful activities. As part of caring for someone with dementia, such as in their own home, various activities can be undertaken together.
Dementia-friendly activities can be great for boosting moods and bringing joy, but it is important to take into consideration the abilities, likes and dislikes of the person with dementia in order to provide engaging and enjoyable activities.
This article presents some fantastic dementia activities that anyone with dementia and their caregiver can enjoy together.
During the course of dementia, it becomes more challenging for someone to recall memories, and sometimes prompts are necessary. A great activity for sparking conversations and bringing back fond memories is to reminisce together.
An exciting reminiscence activity is to listen together to the music that the person with dementia is familiar with, such as a wedding song or a song from their era. Ask gentle questions like ‘did you enjoy dancing to this song?’ and ‘did they play this at parties?’ so the person with dementia can share their stories about the song.
Another great way to spark memories is to look through old photographs together and talk about the places and people featured. Alternatively, if it isn’t possible for the person to provide their own photos, carefully selected pictures from postcards or magazines that have meant something to them can be used.
Photos of places or things can evoke memories; why not use pictures of places like holiday destinations or sports games?
Arts and Crafts
It is well known that creative activities are fantastic for boosting mood and promoting relaxation while also providing a sense of accomplishment.
A person’s abilities and preferences should be taken into account when planning the activities.
Painting from a still life object, colouring in an age-appropriate picture, making decorations, or knitting together are all possible activities. Providing encouragement as a caregiver can be just as important as ensuring they complete the activity. Seeing the creation displayed can also help to reinforce the sense of achievement.
Staying active can promote mental health and physical well-being as we age. The range of activities and exercises available to older adults may change depending on their mobility, balance, cognitive or vision challenges, but they can still remain active.
Daily activity can be provided by doing some seated exercises together or taking a walk around the garden.
With age, our senses can sometimes decline, causing us to withdraw from activities or conversations. You can offer a multitude of benefits and enhance the quality of life by exploring meaningful sensory activities together. People living with dementia can benefit greatly from engaging in sensory activities, especially if their communication is limited or they are not able to go outdoors as often.
The sense of smell or music can transport someone to a fond memory and reduce agitation with sensory activities.
It can be fun and engaging to create a sensory box together, which can be revisited over and over again. Place items that will both engage the senses and hold significance for the person in the box. It can be a CD with a favourite song, a photograph of a loved one, a familiar fragrance or garment.
You can ask gentle questions to spark conversation as you place each item into (or take it out of) the box.
For a carer and a person living with dementia, there are many activities available. Whenever choosing an activity, it is important to consider the person’s routine, preferences, and hobbies, as those that are meaningful or fond will be most enjoyable.