Two Minute Activities for Dementia Care

Two Minute Activities for Dementia Care

Found In: Activities Articles Dementia

During your working hours, you will see many clients outside of programmed activities; seize the opportunity and engage with them. It will only take a minute or two and can transform someone's state of mind and lift their spirits more than you can imagine.
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We often underestimate what a kind word, a touch, a smile, a sympathetic listening ear, or a compliment can do for mental health.

According to research, gentle physical touch is capable of regulating blood pressure and releasing endorphins (the pleasure hormones).

Words can also be life-sustaining and provide immense comfort in dementia care, but we often miss the opportunity to say them.

Engaging with Residents Outside Programmed Activities

During your working hours, you will see many clients outside of programmed activities; seize the opportunity and engage with them. It will only take a minute or two of your time and can transform someone's state of mind and lift their spirits more than you can imagine.

Be disciplined and don't stay longer than necessary; it's showing that you care that counts.

25 Two Minute Activities for Dementia Care

Here are a few ideas for short activities 'in-between' programmed activities.

  1. Greet the client by name and make eye contact
  2. Try on a couple of hats in front of a mirror with a client
  3. Tell a client she/he looks 'Beautiful!' today
  4. Show a client vivid colours in a garment/magazine and talk about it
  5. Hold hands and step outdoors for some fresh air
  6. Pick flowers in the garden together
  7. Help a client to try on a new shade of lipstick
  8. Give a client an impromptu shoulder massage
  9. Play a quick game of ball catch
  10. Evoke memories: e.g. "Tell more about your grandmother's farm!"
  11. Tease: "I saw your boyfriend/girlfriend today!"
  12. Tell a client you love her/him
  13. Give spontaneous bear hugs
  14. Try a new scented hand lotion on a client
  15. If the background music is good, take a client for a dance
  16. Blow bubbles together
  17. Look at a landscape or animal calendar together
  18. Ask for help: sorting books on a shelf, hanging clothes out to dry
  19. Water plants together
  20. Listen to the sound of a large shell
  21. Wrap herbs/spices individually in fabric and ask a client to identify the smell
  22. Comb, french braid or curl a client's hair
  23. Read a few funny limericks
  24. Remind a client about fruit and vegetables in season
  25. Sing a Nursery Rhyme together

As Randi G. Fine said:
“No other form of communication is as universally understood as touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of being lonely”.

We'd love to hear your feedback!
How do you engage with residents in-between programmed activities?

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Comments   Post a Comment

Jean 12th Nov 2017
Love your ideas, because I actually do many of them and the response is amazing, majority love to be hug and the more I take time out just say hello or greet them you actually get to know them a little more. Thank you!
Talita 13th Nov 2017
Thanks so much for your feedback Jean, that's lovely to hear. Sometimes it's just the little things that make a big difference.
Talita 26th Jun 2017
Thanks everyone for your wonderful feedback, it is much appreciated.
Denise 24th Jun 2017
I've been an activity coordinator for a long time and it is always good to reaffirm best practices and not stick to the same routine. Spontaneity and 100% positivity is the key to unlocking happy memories.
Geraldine M 12th Jan 2017
Wonderful practicle low cost heart warming activities. Thanks for reminding me. Very valuable Geraldine Melican
Talita 14th Jan 2017
Thanks so much for your feedback Geraldine.
Karen 30th Nov 2016
Nothing better than to see the look in their face when you give them a hug or hold their hand. To make them feel we care is so important.
Tranquillity 29th Nov 2016
that is so sad not being able to give hugs.
We work in a very homely and careing rest home and always give hugs freely and sit down and talk to them, listening is very important
Christine 20th Oct 2016
In my job we are not allowed to hug client's it is against the policy of the organisation that I work in. The client has to initiate the touch or hug. This system has become very sad because many clients like a hug from their carers from time to time.
Peter 1st Nov 2016
For Christine from the facility that has the policy of "no touching". I'm sad to hear that there is still a facility that does not allow it's carers and particularly Lifestyle staff to physically engage with it's clients that have a Dementia. Perhaps the policy writer has had a bad experience where there has been an escalation of sexual behaviours but with appropriate management and an efficient communications policy alongside appropriate education particularly to newer or younger staff members these issues can be reduced and clients of yours can experience the joy of human touch. It is very important that education, documentation and managing the process is carefully assessed .... Good luck !!
Heather 18th Oct 2016
Thank you for this, like Jo I do many of the above as I work in high care with many advance dementia clients and I feel its such a special time being able to share a little sparkle in ones life. Activities are not always about the large active group session but fitting in these simple little pleasures that we take so much for granted. Thank you once again.
Liz 18th Oct 2016
Allowing someone with dementia to hold your hand, or reciprocate a hand massage is also powerful. Tell them how lovely it is to have someone pay you attention. Most people like to feel needed allowing them to give back even in small ways can lift the spirit. Both yours and theirs. Win/win.
Jo 18th Oct 2016
Thank you. I do many of the above & find that the ladies in general really respond to gentle hugs & the residents (both male & female) love to be encouraged in all their endeavours.
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