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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

11 Dementia Friendly Activity Ideas

1. Create a playlist of familiar songs from the past. Consider adding some of their favorite music and songs that you know hold meaning for them. You can even make a sing-along book they read the words from if needed. You can also give them small instruments to play along with the music, like a tambourine.

2. Reminiscence activities. Watch family videos, go through a photo album, or tell a story of a fun memory. Try to help your loved one stay engaged by supporting their memory of the events rather than asking if they can remember it. For example, you can say, “This is from your brother Simon’s birthday party. I remember we had a vanilla birthday cake!”

3. Get moving. Try out a seated stretching or yoga class together. You can do this virtually, or even at a local community center. You may also want to go out on a walk together.

4. Travel the world from home. Take a virtual museum tour, or use an online search to find websites and photos from far away places. Think of places that your loved one may have been in the past, or that they have always liked talking about.

5. Repetitive activities. Your loved one can sort coins into piles, fold towels, or match socks.

6. Sensory activities. Your loved one may enjoy a busy box or activities that stimulate the senses. Keep a box full of everyday items ready for them to feel and sort through.

7. Take care of the home or garden. They can try sweeping the floor, washing dishes, or planting flowers.

8. Create something. You can try different ideas like making a watercolor painting, arranging plastic flowers, or decorating cookies with icing squeeze bottles or colored sprinkles.

9. Go on an outing. If your loved one enjoys running errands or shopping, take them the next time you go. You can also simulate this experience by creating it in the home. Give your loved one a basket and let them choose fruits, vegetables, etc. around the house.

10. Spend time with children or animals. They may enjoy playing with their grandchildren, feeding the birds, or petting a household animal. These activities can be relaxing or fun, but monitor for signs they’re becoming overwhelmed.

11. Special personal care activities. Give your loved one a hand massage, paint their nails, rub their back, or brush their hair. These types of activities tend to be calming and could come before bedtime.

Source: Dementia Friendly Activity Ideas / © Trualta Inc. 2022

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