When caring for someone with dementia at a senior living community, days should to be filled with activities that keep residents engaged and working their minds. And when suitable events are planned for someone with this type of condition, the payoff is wonderful and can be very rewarding.
Activities that encourage hand-eye coordination, strengthen mental capacity, and encourage recollection of memories are best for dementia patients. And with the right activities, dementia residents will be comfortable and confident enough to participate.
Here are seven simple activity ideas that are stimulating and plain, old fun.
Bonus: they’re easy on your budget too!
1: SENSORY BOXES
Fill a plastic tub with bright, colorful everyday objects that follow a common theme. Create a fake garden with dirt, flowers, and gardening tools and hold the sensory activity inside. Then, take the group outside to do some actual gardening.
2: SWATTER BALL
Swatter Ball is a great activity where residents whack a floating balloon with fly swatters. It guarantees laughs and would be a great activity to hold on special visitation days. Encourage family members to join in the fun too!
3: FUN WITH CLOTHES
Match socks and fold all sorts of clothes. Folding baby clothes could restore some beautiful family memories and provoke the distant memories of a resident’s child or grandchild. This doesn’t have to be expensive! Clothes can be donated by the residents’ loved ones or purchased at a local Goodwill store.
4: FAMILY PICTURES
Producing mental connections through association is key for dementia residents. Ask the families of residents to bring in pictures of the resident with other family members. Pass around each resident’s photo and encourage everyone to share a story or family memory. Most dementia residents have wonderful memories. It’s just takes a little push to get them out.
Everyone loves a puzzle. Host puzzle making (with large pieces) and leave the puzzle out for a day or two. If residents get frustrated or distracted, they can always come back to the activity.
It’s never too late to learn a language. Start with the simplest of words in one language or a few different languages. “Hi,” “bye,” and “thank you” is a great start. Play songs in that language at the beginning and end of the activity.
7: TRAVEL THE WORLD
Bring in travel magazines and allow each resident to create a “dream vacation” mood board with favorite pictures from the magazine. Gather facts from vacation destinations chosen by the residents to make the activity educational.