When a family member is diagnosed with dementia, it can be hard to know how to best care for them. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some activities that can help almost everyone with dementia stay engaged and connected. Here are eight dementia care activity options:
1. Music Therapy: Listening to music, singing, or playing an instrument can help reduce anxiety and agitation in people with dementia. It can also stimulate memories and connect them to positive emotions. If your loved one enjoyed music before their diagnosis, try using songs from their youth or favourite genre to get them started.
2. Art Therapy: Art therapy is beneficial for people with dementia in several ways. It can provide a creative outlet for self-expression, help reduce anxiety, and promote socialization. Whether your loved one enjoys painting, drawing, sculpting, or any other type of art, encourage them to give it a try.
3. Reading Together: Reading aloud can help people with dementia feel relaxed and calm. It’s also a great way to bond and make conversation. start with short stories or poems, then work up to chapters from a book if your loved one is interested. If they’re not keen on reading, try listening to audiobooks together instead.
4. Reminiscing: Talking about past experiences is a great way to connect with your loved one and get them talking about things they enjoy. You might look through old photo albums together or watch home movies from when they were younger. Remember to be patient—it might take some time for them to open up about their memories.
5. Gardening: Caring for plants can give people with dementia a sense of purpose and responsibility. It’s also a great way to get some fresh air and exercise (if your loved one can). When deciding on plant options, start small by planting herbs or flowers in pots that can be kept inside, then graduate to a garden plot if you have the space and your loved one is interested.
6. Exercise: Exercise is essential for everyone, but it’s especially beneficial for people with dementia. It can improve mood, increase energy levels, and help balance and coordination (which can help prevent falls). Walking, swimming, chair aerobics, and other low-impact activities are all great options for people with dementia. Just be sure to start slowly and increase the intensity level gradually as they become more comfortable moving around.
7. Games: Playing games is a fun way to spend time together while stimulating the mind—win-win! Some of our favourites include card games like Go Fish or crazy eights, table games like checkers; puzzles; and brainteasers like riddles or memory exercises. You might need to adapt the rules of some games as needed—the most important thing is that everyone is having fun!
8.’I Spy’: This classic road trip game can be played anywhere—no board or pieces required! One person starts by saying, “I spy with my little eye something…” and finishes the sentence with a description of an object nearby (e.g., “I spy with my little eye something red”). The other players then take turns guessing what object the first person was thinking of until someone gets it right.’I Spy’ is a great way to keep your loved one’s mind active while spending time together.’
Dementia can be difficult for both patients and their families, but there are things you can do to help your loved one stay engaged and connected. If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia and you are investigating dementia care options, it’s essential to ask about the activities the facility offers. At Livewell, our programmes ensure a memory-care-focused lifestyle by actively engaging with the individual needs of our residents and addressing their unique requirements. We offer a wide range of activities included in our dementia care service offering.