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.
This is one of many free activities.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

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?

Save time with 1000's of meaningful
activity ideas for every occasion.

Enter your email address to collect your free activities.

✓ 100% Privacy ✓ No Spam

Back to: Activities

Comments   Post a Comment

Mallory 15th Oct 2018
This sounds exactly like it came from the Best Friends approach from David Troxel and Virginia Bell. We’re instituting that program this year. Very cool.
Talita 15th Oct 2018
Thanks Mallory!
Carmel 23rd Jul 2018
We do a lot of these activities as well, residents love to receive hugs, hand or foot massages etc. Human touch is so important to us all.
We also have visits from a couple of babies/toddlers, all the residents love to touch and hold those little hands.
Thank you for all your help
Talita 15th Oct 2018
Thanks Carmel!
Robyn 13th Mar 2018 Activities Officer
Rosemary,
Here in Alice Springs I started doing exactly this idea for our less active residents . They are called "Activity Bags" and they hold varying items of interest to the resident. The bags were ordered online and decorated with brightly coloured felt letters with the resident's name.
A Journal, Bible or spiritual tracts, snippets of interest like cut out jokes or articles, dementia specific aids, and yes, pencils and colouring books, items that have reflected their life for example, laminated copies of the art works of one of our ladies who was a noted artist, - the contents are as varied and unique as the individual resident is.

Activity bags can be easily carried from room to room by the care staff or relatives and conveniently hold items that reflect thier passions and interests. Good luck with this idea. It has proven worthwhile here.
Rosemarie 7th Mar 2018 Diversional Therapist
hi I'm a DT from across the ditch, South West coast of New Zealand. i have 70 residents to care for with two part time helpers, one DT and the other a DT in training.
i have read through this activity as we do have dementia residents here as well as residents on what i call the periphery of our social structure.
Anyway, reading this has prompted me to start putting together a shoulder bag type or resource containg a sketch pad and pencils, colouring sheets and pencil crayons, a picture book, a talkabout object, socks that need folding ect. it's not up and running yet but i believe it will be a handy resourse as i walk around the facility. any suggestions to enhance this will be welcome.
Talita 15th Oct 2018
I think this is a wonderful idea Rosemarie. I'm sure it was well received.
Carol 15th Feb 2018
My Grandmother died in the local nursing home of dementia, now my Mother has it and I am trying to keep her here in her home so she will hopefully do better in familiar surroundings. I read and try anything that I can find to help keep her mind as active as possible. I talk to people that give me ideas that are sometimes useful and other times not so much. I welcome any material I can get. I love finding ideas like I did here today for her to try.
If anyone has material and knowledge to share with me that would be helpful for my Mother I would very much appreciate it. Thank you!
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 Activity Coordinator
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 Lifestyle therapist
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 Lifestyle Therapist
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 Activity Co-Ordinator
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 Supervisor
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 Activities Coordinator
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 Recreation Activities Officer
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 Carer
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 Leiasure & Lifestyle Officer
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.
No Avatar
Help