Finding practical and meaningful activities for people living with dementia or Alzheimer's Disease requires creative thinking. Here you will find a variety of activities suitable for early to advanced stages of dementia.
For any staff member, dealing with a person who has dementia, especially those with problem behaviors, can be challenging at times. How can you make the best of any situation?
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Many elders leave behind a lifestyle they dearly wish to maintain when they enter a care environment. Tapping into someone's muscle memory with daily living tasks will assist in meeting their need to feel valued and purposeful.
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Sensory Mats or Fidget Blankets provide a soothing and stimulating activity for people living with dementia or recovering from strokes.
Twiddlemuffs (or twiddlemitts) are knitted hand-warmers that provide sensory stimulation for people living with dementia. They keep restless hands busy and soothe and comfort those who are anxious or agitated.
How many do you remember? A fun reminiscing quiz for seniors, suitable for people living with dementia.
Drawing is a fun and interactive activity to pursue. Most people have done a little drawing or at least some doodling at some point in their lives. Offer clients the opportunity to revisit drawing as a pastime.
Encouraging the elderly to participate in scheduled activities can be challenging. Lack of engagement is a common problem. It is important that you identify any barriers - whether perceived or real - that might be preventing residents from getting involved.
After watching a Montessori video I decided to make my own resources. As dementia clients retain the ability to read for a long time I use words to match with pictures.
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Vintage photos from yesteryear provide wonderful reminiscing opportunities for the elderly living with dementia. Remembering the past helps the elderly affirm their lives and uncover deep-seated memories.
Our brains, just like our bodies need exercise! Neurobics is a type of exercise designed to stimulate the brain and enhance cognitive performance. Here are 13 simple and stimulating mind activities for seniors in nursing homes.
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.
This fun and simple game is great for seniors including people living with dementia. Includes well known sayings, idioms and proverbs that they will remember from their past.
The surrounding environment has a profound impact on people living with dementia. Along with clever architecture and design, there are many other ways in which Activity Staff can enhance the physical environment to improve the lives and reduce the daily struggles of people living with dementia.
Most people have experience filling out forms and this activity is a great reminder of how to do a simple life skill. I've found this activity great for distracting those who 'want to go home', ask them to if they would mind filling out the paperwork first, sit them down, present them with a form, give them a pen, have a quick look in their care plan so you can help them with some of the info they may struggle with.
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Conflict and disagreement exist in all relationships. When you have a community of people with a progressive cognitive disorder such as dementia living together, it is to be expected that unpredictable and difficult to control behaviors will arise.
Challenging behavior is common in people living with dementia and is considered one of the most difficult issues facing staff in residential care and caregivers at home. It is important to try and understand why the person is behaving in a particular way and remember that it is the behavior that is challenging and not the person.
Adapting and modifying games for seniors is necessary for all sorts of different reasons. As well as for those living with dementia, games need to be modified for those who use wheelchairs and those with impaired vision or sensory loss.
This is an adaptable game to be played by two teams. It is recommended to make cards in two or three different levels: easy, medium and if the game proves popular make an even more challenging set of cards!
Communication is vital to our well-being. People living with dementia slowly lose their language skills and their ensuing quality of life. Here are some tips to help communicating with people living with dementia.
The term ‘sundowning’ or ‘sundown syndrome’ refers to an end-of-day confusion and restlessness that manifests as dusk approaches. This syndrome affects people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
These touchy-feely sensory pouches (also known as squish bags and sensory pads) are a wonderful way to explore the senses. They are also so easy to make! Making sensory pouches is a quick and inexpensive way to make an engaging and relaxing sensory activity for people living with dem
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Everyone responds instinctively to music. A person’s ability to engage in music often remains intact far into the advanced stages of dementia. Music triggers certain networks of the brain that benefit people suffering from difficulties with language, cognition, or motor control.
Rain sticks are well loved by babies and older children. They are also particularly good for people living with dementia. They remind people of the sound of gently falling rain, which is harmonious and relaxing.
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Cue Cards or Communication Cards are visual tools that can be used to overcome communication difficulties with clients living with dementia. They assist and support caregivers, staff and volunteers to engage with the person in their care.
Depending on the age group, and of course personality traits, few have said they find them quite juvenile, and others love it and try to complete them... and are pleasantly surprised at , after all these years, how much they have retained!
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Armchair Travel takes people to faraway places without leaving home. It provides a sensory experience and the opportunity to learn about exotic lands and important past events in a meaningful manner. This is a wonderful activity for seniors living in nursing homes and suitable for people with dementia.
Nursery Rhymes are a good topic for conversation and reminiscing for people with dementia. Take your time when doing this quiz and encourage clients to sing and share memories.
Elderly people who are confined to bed for long periods of time because of diagnosis or frailty often experience severe mood swings. They get tired of sitting or lying down, become bored with life and miss social contact with others.
A simple idea where a group of random objects are displayed on a tray for a limited period of time and then the clients try and recall what the items were.
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Sensory stimulation with familiar scents. A fun activity for seniors and the elderly living with dementia.
An engaging and stimulating Activity for Seniors! Mixed Media Collage activities are especially beneficial for people living with dementia. Dementia and creativity mix well together, producing works that are original and daintily surprising.
I am posting this because we have tried it and we had a great response. This is a fun craft activity and bingo style game for seniors.
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This is something that we began doing in our Sundowning evening program for some of the male residents. The possibilities are endless and they really seem to enjoy it.
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It is not uncommon for seniors living in assisted-living facilities to lack mental stimulation and social contact. Recreation Therapists often use one-on-one visits to respond to the needs of those who avoid social settings. There are many enjoyable games and activities that can keep minds and bodies strong and active.
Sensory stimulation is the activation of one or more of the senses such as taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Sensory stimulation is a key component for improving the quality of life of people living with dementia.
Coloring for seniors is a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Research into the effects of coloring activities for people living with dementia show positive outcomes, most notably a decrease in agitation and anxiety.
Alzheimer's Disease affects people in different ways. Rather than focusing on the disease and impairment, we should aim to identify each person's strengths and remaining abilities and find activities to support these. Here are 15 Activities For Late-Stage Alzheimer's Disease.
Reminiscing with the elderly is a wonderful way to validate the lives of individuals and provide seniors with a sense of purpose, especially those living with dementia. Reminiscing activities also encourage social interaction and promote interpersonal skills.
20 activities for the elderly with dementia. The following ideas may be used on a one-to-one basis and others may be suitable for small groups depending on their abilities. These dementia activities are designed to promote and maintain existing skills.
For the elderly with dementia, depression declines after they interact with a therapy animal. As well as being wonderful companions, pets also provide significant health benefits to their owners.
Pet Therapy in Nursing Homes has been enthusiastically accepted for decades. Stroking a dogs fur may elicit positive responses and lift the spirits of many a lonely resident.
March 2015 Update - There are many reasons to be hopeful for a future without dementia; a disorder that affects 36 million people globally.
The sensory functions of elders decline as they grow older and this can impact on their feelings of well-being. Multi-sensory stimulation is becoming increasingly popular in nursing homes based on impressive results. Sensory activities contribute to the emotional and physical health of people living with dementia. Sensory activities can be non-verbal; thereby crossing cultural boundaries.
Doll Therapy can provide satisfaction and comfort to people with dementia or Alzheimers. It provides them with the opportunity to nurture and satisfy an emotional need that wouldn’t be fulfilled otherwise.
Research indicates that over 40% of adults over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year. In long term residential care facilities the percentage is more dramatic; almost two thirds of residents fall once a year or more.
Spiritual support for people with dementia in nursing homes and other care facilities is vital to their well-being and a requisite for the holistic care we strive to achieve
Stringing beads is a simple and affordable activity for seniors that produces beautiful and satisfying results. This activity can be adapted to suit people living with dementia.
Musical Bingo improves recall and provides opportunities to reminisce. It is also an enjoyable and sociable game. This game was created by a Music Therapist I worked with and it was very popular in our Dementia Care Unit. If you don't have time to put the game together, ask a volunteer to help you. All you need is a computer, a printer and a laminator. This activity includes downloadable song cards and calling cards.
Sensory salt Garden can assist with behaviours and also serves as a communication tool, along with making your home smell wonderful. Let the imagination run free.
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Wind chimes have been around for hundreds of years. They have been known to have a healing effect on the mind; reducing stress and promoting relaxation and creativity.
There is hardly anything more rewarding for activity coordinators than an increase in resident participation. Weeks of hard work are paid off!
It is even more gratifying to see a resident who repeatedly declines to join activities walk into the recreation area for a concert, game or to participate in a trivia or discussion group. Here are a few tips that may help improve participation rates at your facility. Some you may be using already, others you may not have tried for a while.
This is a wonderful game that can be adapted to any occasion. Residents will enjoy reminiscing and sharing stories.
Dementia is not a disease in itself, it is a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain (like Alzheimer’s Disease). This article provides an overview of dementia and the most common causes of dementia.
Gentle exercise for the arms as well as an opportunity to socialize! Great for game for the elderly. Also suitable for people living with dementia.
I work in a secure dementia wing and I found this activity excellent, even for vision impaired.
Thank you Marina for submitting this activity!
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Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's Disease is a long and challenging process for the everyone involved. It is especially difficult when the late stage of the illness is reached.
Make your own sensory quilts to ease agitated or restless clients.
Thank you Chantal for this wonderful idea!
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The theme for this reminiscing session is: The Beach.
18 sample questions are provided.
Grand-Parents Day is celebrated in many countries on different dates. The celebration is to promote the importance of grandparents to children.
People living with dementia can benefit greatly from exposure to soothing and sensory environments.
Pets can help us lead happier, healthier lives. Companionship with a pet will ease loneliness, reduce depression, stimulate movement and boost moods.
Starting a Leisure and Lifestyle Program for residents in nursing homes and long term care requires creative thinking and enthusiasm. Your main point of reference will be the assessment of your clients.
This activity is suitable for people with dementia or Alzheimers. You can use socks, playing cards, picture matching Games etc
Improve hand-eye coordination and enhance motor skills
Improve dexterity and promote dimension discerning
Matching colour games can be made from coloured buttons, milk bottle tops, coloured wooden blocks, pom-poms or you can recycle incomplete games such as chess.
Beautiful scrapbooks made from recycled magazines. Make them to suit the interests of individuals. A wonderful activity for seniors living with dementia.
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Singing is a favourite activity for many people and if movements are added with the hands and arms then singing can also become a gentle exercise actitvity.
If you have participants from the referred countries, encourage them to help out and perhaps to sing one verse in their native language.
Each resident will bring her own handbag to be cleaned-up. The idea is to have them engaging in cleaning up and talking about the contents of their handbags.
VIDEO Instructions included! Object: maintain social skills and reinforce friendships. Sensory stimulation.
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This has always been a very popular game at all the facilities where I have worked. If you don't have a sewing machine ask a volunteer or one of your clients' relatives to do it for you.
There are two ways to play this game.
Great for dementia patients!
Try inviting relatives for this activity; it is an enjoyable occasion.
Leader says the first word and the audience guesses the next
Promote cognitive alertness. Opportunity for socialization
Evocation of familiar scents to stimulate long-term memories. Ideal for sight impaired seniors.
Opportunity to reminisce. Focus of interest outside routine.
Memory recall and reminiscing
Tactile stimulation and promote 'staying on task'.
Improve dexterity (grasping objects) and practice decision-making.
Promote recognition of colours. Develop motor skills.
Fun exercise and opportunity for social interaction.
Promote cognitive well being, provide fun and enjoyment, and establish old roles.
Suitable to clients in first stage dementia (small objects are dangerous for later stages).
Enhance memories and provide stimulation by utilising interesting textures.
Sensorial stimulation and provision of home-like activity.
Provide sensory stimulation and enjoyment, ideal activity for Mother's Day
Make clients feel special and keep hands and nails clean.
Calm the mind and cleanse the spirit with essential oils. A lovely activity for seniors.
Relieve muscle aches and increase circulation using essential oil compresses
Sensory stimulation. Reduce stiffness. A good alternative if your client cannot use the bath.
Time out to relax and quiet the mind. A simple and effective way to use essential oils.
Sensory stimulation through the use of essential oils
Good for reminiscing about family life. Friendship and cooperation may be enhanced.
Promote friendship and stimulates physically.
Nice game to maintain or improve physical abilities.
Engagement of residents in tasks they used to do in their own home. A very calming activity. Ideal for people living with dementia.
Orientation, reminiscing and enjoyment. Socialization.
Promote alertness and sensory stimulation
Choose positive, pleasant, interesting articles.
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