This is a wonderful multi-sensory activity for residents living with dementia.
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This is a wonderful multi-sensory activity for residents living with dementia.


  • Promote Alertness
  • Sensory Stimulation


In planning this activity, gather props relevant to songs to use as sensory stimulation.
For instance, for the songs suggested you could consider:

  • a teddy bear,
  • roses,
  • a dust shovel,
  • a packet of tea,
  • a wedding veil,
  • a soft toy dog


Seat four or five residents in a semi-circle; close enough to be able to pass objects to each other but do not over-crowd them.

Show them an item and ask which song it reminds them of.

Pass the item around and wait for each person to express their opinions.

You may hum the song to assist them. The songs for the above objects are:

  • Teddy Bear’s Picnic,
  • Roses of Picardy / Rose of Tralee
  • My Old Man is a Dustman
  • Tea for Two
  • Bicycle Built for Two
  • How Much is that Dog in the Window.

Do not feel discouraged if at first there is little response, it pays to persevere in my experience.

As with all activities there should be a starting and a finishing point, so residents can look forward to the next session. Half an hour to 45 minutes is adequate.

Adapting the Activity

Point out colors in a resident's clothes and ask them to remember songs with those colours;

  • Blue Danube,
  • Red Sails in the Sunset,
  • Greensleeves
  • etc.

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Comments   Post a Comment

Shanta Armogum 20th Oct 2022
My Resident are really enjoying all the great ideas and the new activities especially the bingo games. I appreciated and the great ideas, tips and new activities.
Susan 26th Oct 2022 Activity Director
Hi Shanta
Thank you for your kind words
Keep up the good work
Leanne 26th May 2020 Lifestyle Officer
Hi, absolutely I loved this idea it inspired me!
Idownloaded several songs on spotify and had all my props together
I used the following songs:-
Green Green Grass of home and had a bag of fresh grass
Im forever blowing bubbles - whilst blowing bubbles
Teddy bear by elvis presley-using a teddy bear
Singing in the rain - using an umbrella
Well the residents absolutley loved it especially im forever blowing bubbles the smiles and delight on the face of the residents brought tears to my eyes. I got as much out of this activity as the residents did. Thank you so much for suggesting such a wonderful, special Idea.
Jean 7th Jul 2019 Activities Coordinator
Thanks Susan, It is a good idea and gives the group a goal to work towards.
Jean 6th Jul 2019 Activities Coordinator
It took me a long time and a great deal of determination but I now have a group of ladies that come in every Friday for a sing along. I advertised in local and our own newsletter. Several members from the same ladies singing group share the job, I print a song book with the words of the songs, we have between 10 and 15 residents every Friday, we do have a piano or I could use recorded music but the ladies prefer to take the session without music as we cant keep up with any music that is playing. Residents who are reluctant to join in are doing so now and today I had 1 lady who was pretending to read her newspaper singing along with us. Good luck
Susan 6th Jul 2019 Activity Director
This is a great idea Jean
I had a resident Choral group similar to this
We did have performances of the group 4 times a year for family members and the community
RAO 12th Jul 2017 Recreational Activities Officer
I have bought John McSweeney in Concert 102 Songs you know by heart Volume 1 & 2.
The residents love them and sing a long. Everyone knows the words and each DVD goes for about 90 mins. Best fun ever!!!
Jean 6th Jul 2019 Activities Coordinator
My residents enjoy this DVD as well
Aubree 31st Jan 2017 Recreation Therapist

Can anyone recommend other Sing Along CD's that would be beneficial for dementia residents?

I looked up Vera Lynn and I think her songs are too slow. I also looked up Toni Almond, but came up with nothing. Maybe the spelling is wrong?

Thank you in advance!


Solange 31st Jan 2017 Diversional Therapist
Hi Aubree, there is so much mood enhancing music out there, but it is not always easy to find. I would try the Big Bands of the 1930s and 1940s. The Tango, Swing and Salsa music often inspire movement and dancing. Also, take the average age of your clients and look at the Top 40 hit parade from when they were 20 or 25. Here is a small list from the 1950s:

- Delicado - Percy Faith and his Orchestra
- Diana - Paul Anka
- Leroy - Jack Scott
- This Old House - Stuart Hamblen
- She Say - The Diamonds

Of course soothing music for agitation management is important. Try lullabies, religious Hymns, and soft classical music. Best wishes
Aubree 1st Feb 2017 Recreation Therapist
Thank you Solange!

I will do exactly that!
I appreciate the fast response!

Nicola 16th Jul 2018
There's a fantastic piano singalong karaoke disc on Amazon and its worth looking at their pub singalong discs too lots of familiar songs
pauline 21st Jun 2016 lifestyle coordinator
There are some great singalong cd's that you can purchase such as Max bygraves singalong the war years ,Vera lynn and Toni almond they come with there own song book . I download lyrics to mixed cds like crooners and we singalong with the cd . Dvd singalongs are great too such as golden memories and some karaoke ones .
jean 18th Feb 2015 activities officer
does anyone have the words to these songs ?? thanks Jean.
jean 18th Feb 2015 activities officer
does anyone have the words for some old time song for sing along
Maria 2nd Mar 2014
yes!...great idea I never like the "babysitting" culture that we can spot everywhere...I rather motivate "Inspire Me" with meaningful activities. Please give me ideas for only high care residents. Only three can sing or whisper melodies.
Great site.
sarah 10th Dec 2010 Recreation Coordinator
hey guys was wondering how i go about setting up my own little music theropy group. any ideas would be greatful :)
Solange 2nd Jul 2009 Diversional Therapist
I agree Lauretta, the smaller the group the better!
Lauretta 1st Jul 2009
This is so simple but a really good idea for any therapsist working with high care and attempting small group therapy. There is a need for therapists to be encouraged to do small groups rather than be expected to look after larger groups which often ends up just "babysitting"
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