"Activities for Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease"

"When people are first diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, they often withdraw from social activities and hobbies. It’s important to combat this and keep them engaged, especially when they’re in the early stages of the disease. Because of how these diseases affect cognitive functions as well as mood and behavior, it’s important to continue to engage with your loved ones and stimulate their minds. Some activities can even help slow down memory loss and improve cognitive abilities, and often helps eliminate aggression by giving patients a way to express themselves. Read on to find out how to go about doing this, and which activities can help your loved ones the most.

Considerations When Choosing Activities

The most important thing to know when choosing activities to partake in with your loved one is that the outcome doesn’t matter – it’s the activity itself. Activities also shouldn’t be boring or busywork – they should be engaging and allow patients to exercise their minds. Of course, there’s a careful balance between this – extremely easy tasks may seem condescending but tasks that are too difficult may result in anger and frustration.

Be sure to keep their limitations in mind and adjust the activity accordingly. For example, when choosing puzzles, make sure to use word puzzles with large print or jigsaw puzzles with large pieces so that your loved one doesn’t get frustrated. You should also balance tactile and cognitive tasks so that your loved one can benefit from both.

The best way to get your loved one to participate in activities is to pick activities that they enjoy. Activities that were previously enjoyed may be adjusted so that your loved one can still participate. For example, if they were an avid knitter before, perhaps they could try knitting smaller pieces now. Lastly, it’s essential to remember that you should provide simple instructions at the beginning. These can be written or verbal instructions and can even include demonstrations.
Remember, not only do the following activities help stir memories, but they can also encourage self-expression, reduce aggressiveness and anxiety, and help you bond with your loved ones.

Activities for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia 

The following are some of the most beneficial activities for seniors suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Some of them are adjusted to suit your loved one’s needs. For example, instead of large social gatherings where they might feel nervous, they can meet smaller groups of people.

Art Therapy

Art therapy can be especially useful for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia because it not only allows patients to express themselves and be creative, but also helps improve any behavioral issues and aggression. Try drawing, painting, or sculpting and see how your loved one responds. Because art doesn’t require testing or questions, it’s usually calming for patients – just make sure to use simple patterns and to avoid sharp tools.


Listening to music with your loved one is simple and effective. It can even be incorporated into daily routines such as playing upbeat songs in the morning to encourage them to engage in activities and playing slower songs in the evening to help them calm down and prepare for sleep. Music is especially useful because it can unlock memories and help your loved one remember things that they associate with those songs. It can also help reduce agitation and be used during challenging times to help patients relax.


Exercise for seniors doesn’t have to be rigorous. Even short walks around the neighborhood or nature parks can be relaxing and enjoyable, as can light yoga or Tai Chi. These light exercises aren’t strenuous and engage them without overwhelming them. Depending on their physical limitations, water aerobics may be a great idea for those who were previously fond of swimming.

Games and Puzzles

Board games, jigsaw puzzles, and word puzzles can be excellent tools to combat cognitive decline. In fact, rolling dice can even help with dexterity. Crossword puzzles are especially great for those with early to mid-stage Alzheimer's disease and dementia because they boost confidence and help keep the brain active. On the same note, card-matching games can help with memory and trying to improve it.

Gardening and Arranging Flowers

Gardening can be an excellent activity for seniors in the early stage of dementia. Whether it’s giving them a patch of the garden to make their own, or providing them with seeds and a few pots, this allows them to not only spend time outdoors and enjoy the sun, but also engage in something that yields concrete results.
On the same note, arranging flowers can help seniors embrace nature. However, this combines both, nature and art, making it especially rewarding. If your loved one isn’t interested in gardening, you can always visit a botanical garden together – this helps with fresh air, embracing nature, and sensory stimulation.

Stimulate Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients' Minds

At Interim Healthcare, we understand how difficult Alzheimer's care and dementia care can be. That’s why we offer qualified homecare and respite care. However, we also believe that personal care and support don’t go far enough when helping senior clients live independently. Through our HomeLife Enrichment® Program, we go beyond physical needs – we also focus on emotional and social needs through programs and activities that focus on mind, body, spirit, and family. By keeping your loved ones’ minds stimulated, we intend to enrich their lives.
If you’re interested in the HomeLife Enrichment® Program, read more about it here. You can also contact us via our contact form or simply call us at (636) 717-9292 – we look forward to helping your loved one embrace life!"

Article Categories: