Older folks with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia crave and benefit from fulfillment and interaction just like anyone else. There are various activities for dementia patients that stimulate their mind while providing them with an avenue to have fun, be creative, and stay productive to support their cognitive functions. Here are some senior activities you can do with your loved one with dementia.
Knitting or Crocheting
Take a skein of yarn or a homemade quilt and place it in your loved one’s hands. Let them feel the scratchiness of the yarn and the weight of the quilt. For some dementia patients, they may still be able to knit or crochet a little bit even if they are living with serious cognitive or memory deficits.
If your loved one used to love music or was a musician, introduce to them simple sing-alongs or instruments. Dementia patients with mild cognitive decline usually have their musical ability outlasting their other memory functions. For those with more advanced impairment, maracas, nursery rhymes, and tambourines can still encourage creative expression.
Drawing and painting are some ways that enable dementia patients to express their feelings in a safe way through creativity. Encourage them to use bold, bright colors on wide surfaces. Butcher paper lets them explore their creativity without being confined to restrictive spaces.
Use tactile crafts to create sensory experiences for dementia patients. Work with malleable play-dough or slippery clay so they can benefit from creativity and tactile stimulation. It is recommended to vary the objects used to include different sizes, shapes, textures, as well as rubbing lotions on their hands.
Combine Creativity and Happy Memories
Create a collage by cutting out images from print old ads, articles, and magazines. Choose the subjects that best fit your loved one’s interests such as cars, cooking, or fashion. You may also scan and print old family photos. Let your loved one arrange and rearrange the different elements to create scrapbook pages or collages.
Look Through Photo Albums
Photo albums bring back precious memories. You can show your loved one with dementia their childhood or young adulthood photos to jog their memory. Alternatively, you may also show them digital photos on your tech gadget.
Watch Old TV Shows and Movies
If your older loved one grew up watching TV shows and movies that you are still able to find today, stream them online and watch them together with your loved one. There are also old titles that you can borrow at your local library.
Simulate Handy Tasks
Does your loved one with dementia used to love to tinker? Come up with a project that simulates handy tasks such as fitting together PVC pipes, painting wooden boards, and others. These projects are great for dementia patients to improve their high motor function. Plastic or wooden play tools provide a similar experience for dementia patients with more advanced symptoms.
Get a thick rope and tie loose knots with it. Your older loved one may enjoy untying them but ensure that you keep the knots loose or make use of a rougher rope.