Engaging in significant activities enhances the quality of life for everyone, regardless of a dementia diagnosis. For those diagnosed with dementia, their capabilities can differ significantly based on their stage of dementia. It’s essential to provide activities that keep those with dementia engaged and fulfilled.
These valuable activities can range from everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, gardening, and self-care to interactive activities such as video calls with loved ones. Dementia might lead individuals to disengage from enjoyable interactions and activities, hence the importance of preserving these interests to boost their overall life quality. It’s not uncommon for dementia patients to exhibit signs of disinterest, such as nodding off unexpectedly or getting side-tracked, which can make interaction challenging.
Meaningful activities offer those with dementia:
- A structured purpose and routine.
- Recognition of their skills and past experiences.
- Emotional experiences that boost self-worth and value.
- Enhanced social interactions with family.
- Preservation of skills and autonomy, and potentially even an enhancement in daily activity abilities.
- The chance to make choices and decisions.
It’s recommended to align activities with past hobbies or interests of those with dementia. They should be encouraged to actively choose and define what activities are meaningful to them, fostering a genuine connection and sustaining relationships.
As dementia progresses, activities might need modifications, depending on the individual’s dementia stage, physical capabilities, and available support—be it from family caregivers or otherwise. Regardless, it remains crucial to involve them in family activities, even post-pandemic when families are predominantly indoors, provided the activities are appropriate.
Dementia affects memory, cognitive function, and the ability to perform everyday tasks, and can be challenging for both the individual and their loved ones. But just because someone has dementia doesn’t mean they can’t lead a fulfilling life. Engaging in meaningful activities can significantly enhance the quality of life for those living with dementia.
Here are some great ideas for planned activities and social interactions suitable for people living with dementia:
Going through old photographs
Listening to music from their youth
Watching classic films or TV shows
Art and Creativity:
Painting or coloring
Simple crafts, like making a photo frame
Pottery or clay modeling
Making a scrapbook
Music and Dance:
Playing simple instruments (like tambourines or maracas)
Sing-alongs to familiar songs
Gentle dance or movement to music
Puzzle games or jigsaw puzzles
Card games like “Memory” or “Snap”
Simple board games
Gardening or pot planting
Gentle exercises or yoga
Reading and Storytelling:
Listening to short stories or audiobooks
Sharing personal stories in a group
Reading aloud from familiar books or magazines
Cooking and Baking:
Baking cookies or making simple sandwiches
Making homemade lemonade or iced tea
Nature and Animal Interactions:
Watching bird feeders
Pet therapy sessions with calm animals
Planting flowers or herbs
Aromatherapy with calming scents
Feeling different textures (like smooth silk or rough sandpaper)
Tasting sessions with different flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.)
Tea or coffee mornings
Themed parties or celebrations
Group discussions about current events or personal experiences
Life Skills Activities:
Folding laundry or sorting socks
Setting the table for a meal
Technology and Virtual Interaction:
Simple computer games or apps designed for dementia patients
Virtual reality experiences, tailored for seniors
Video calls with family members
Visits to a local park or garden
Trips to museums with guided tours
Attendance at senior-friendly community events
Spiritual and Religious Activities:
Prayer or meditation sessions
Listening to religious songs or hymns
Group discussions on spiritual topics
Remember, the key to these activities is to ensure they are appropriate for the individual’s stage of dementia, their physical abilities, and personal preferences. a dementia diagnosis doesn’t limit one from enjoying life. With the right activities tailored to their interests and abilities, those living with dementia can find joy, purpose, and connection in their daily lives. It’s all about finding the balance and ensuring that every day is filled with meaningful moments.