Activities for People with Dementia

Activities for people with Dementia

Participating in everyday tasks and activities can boost mood and improve quality of life for a person with Dementia. Activities can also reduce common dementia behaviours, such as agitation, repeated questions, and anger. This keeps the person engaged and occupied as well as giving them a way to use their energy in a positive way. We have listed common recommended activities for Dementia patients below which we hope you will find useful.

Music

Music can be an extremely calming and soothing force and the ability to play an instrument can remain relatively constant, even as Dementia progresses. Listening to music is also known to release dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of pleasure. Activities can include singing, playing musical instruments and listening to music.

Art

Art programs have shown to improve quality of life and can improve some of Dementia’s behavioural and emotional symptoms. Activities can include crafts such as pottery, knitting, painting, drawing and colouring.

Exercise

Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and can improve mood and quality of life. Regular exercise has also been shown to help, reduce or delay functional limitations in individuals with Dementia. Activities can include tai chi, dance, bowls, swimming or walking. You may be able to find organised exercise and physical activity sessions for people with Dementia at your local community or sports centre.

Sensory Stimulation

Sensory stimulation can have positive short-term effects on behaviour. Activities can include bringing objects into the home that are not normally around, such as sand or seashells, giving a hand massage, taking a short walk, reading out aloud, or providing a change of scenery such as going outdoors.

Reminiscence

Reminiscing involves any activity that involves life experiences, memories and stories from the past. Benefits include the potential to bring up happy memories, cultivate positive feelings and instil a sense of value with sharing stories with others. Activities can include looking through photos or keepsakes, listening to their favourite music, smelling familiar scents and tasting favourite foods.  Familiar tactile activities like drawing, painting, pottery, knitting, sewing, or other crafts can spark old memories. Even if they can’t participate in these hobbies anymore, doing things like touching paintbrushes, swirling paints and playing with wool or fabrics can evoke strong memories.

When choosing activities for a person with Dementia it is important to consider their likes and dislikes and their individual needs and limitations. A person with early stage Dementia will likely continue to enjoy activities that brought them pleasure previously and where possible should be encouraged to do the activities independently. A person with middle stage Dementia typically begins to need greater assistance. Potential activities include; going for a walk, helping with household chores, dancing, listening to music and crafts.  For a person with later stage Dementia you should look for activities that are stimulating but don’t provide too many choices or challenges. Activities may include painting, sensory stimulation and reminiscing.

If you would like to learn more about how Right at Home East Lancashire can help care for your loved ones with Dementia please click here.

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