Finding activities that your loved ones will like may require some trial and error.
Use their prior preferences and interests as a guide, but don’t be scared to try things they didn’t like previously because dementia may drastically alter tastes. Experiment with these strategies to see what works best for your senior.
Below are some ideas you can use as a starting point and tweak to fit the skill level and interests of your loved ones.
Remember that when someone has dementia, their interests might vary, so don’t be hesitant to try something new in the future.
It is never too late to pick up a new hobby. Your loved ones can start with learning a simple musical instrument, such as a harmonica or a musical shaker, to play or experiment. Play their favorite songs or albums, preferably from their childhood. Alternatively, you can sing or encourage them to sing along to familiar tunes (check out an app that makes it easier to sing along). For example, you can tune the radio to a station that plays music that they enjoy.
Overall, listening to music helps most of us enjoyably reflect on happy moments.
Reading Aloud, Listening to Audiobooks, and Listening to Radio Broadcasts
Many of our loved ones would enjoy listening to the newspaper, novels, periodicals, or even past letters read aloud. Find items that pique their curiosity yet aren’t too difficult to comprehend.
A good way for guests, especially youngsters, to connect with someone with dementia is by reading aloud.
Alternatively, if your loved ones spend most of their time alone, they can listen to many books if it is available through audiobooks. You can also purchase them from a store, borrow them from the library, have them sent to your home for free through the National Library Service, or locate them for free online.
Exercise and Movement
Play music your loved ones enjoy and invite them to join you in dancing, swaying in their seats, or tapping their hands and feet to the beat. Having a regular exercise routine helps with overall health as well. Guide them through chair-based activities intended for adults with dementia to improve mood, circulation, and general health.
Take a walk outside to enjoy the fresh air and the sun. If you have a car, consider taking your loved ones out for a breezy ride and tell them about the sights you see along the way.
A good activity to connect both nature and your loved ones is to include children as much as possible in gardening. Engage the rest of your loved one’s senses by evaluating plant growth by touch, pushing earth in a pot, smelling herbs, or even sampling the harvest by taste.
Hands-on Activities, such as Arts and Crafts
Utilize modeling clay or sculpting sand to allow older persons to express themselves artistically without having to use their sight.
Making montages from magazine photographs or filling a simple box with cut-out images or colorful paper may appeal to older persons with limited eyesight.
Some persons with poor eyesight may appreciate expressive painting (think abstract forms and wide strokes) – use bright colors against a contrasting background to make it easier to tell apart.
Sorting is a fun exercise that doesn’t require eyesight; simply make the forms distinct enough to differentiate them – for example, a bag of coins, assorted pasta shapes, and so on.