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Activities & Dementia

Ideas, Approach & Benefits

Importance of activity for people living with dementia

Staying active, physically, mentally & socially is key to living well with Dementia. A diagnosis certainly does not mean that you should stop doing activities that bring enjoyment, it may just mean that some activities take longer or need adapting or it may provide an opportunity to try new activities together. Being stimulated can improve not only mood and over-all wellbeing but can also increase concentration levels and cognitive function.

Achieving small goals can lift spirits and enhance quality of life through activities and light physical exercise. With the evenings drawing in, it can help to have a range of Activities which stimulate the brain, promote independence, provide a sense of purpose and structure to the day.

8 things to be mindful of when approaching activities:

  • Focus on what the person CAN do

  • Make sure the environment is calm, lighting is appropriate

  • Avoid over-stimulation – stop if person either withdraws or becomes agitated

  • Check person is comfortable (temperature/ pain/ nutrition/ hydration/ toileting)

  • Be aware of how time of day might affect person and their energy levels

  • Allow for hearing or vision impairment and adapt activity accordingly

  • Ensure activity is appropriate to their physical ability and stage of their dementia

  • Encourage engagement

Note: The person may not remember what they did but will likely remember how it made them feel

15 minute Activities:

  • Reading – read poems, short stories or news articles to the person

  • Play simple card games e.g. matching pairs

  • Play dominos or connect four (don’t worry about rules or who is winning!)

  • Complete easy crosswords or wordsearch puzzles together (large print are easier)

  • Dot to dot activities

  • Sorting buttons into colours or sizes

  • Online games and puzzle apps

  • Joke telling

  • Look through old magazines

Longer Activities:

  • Fill window bird feeders: ‘Bird spot’ & use bird identification cards

  • Plant seeds in pots or window boxes

  • Decorate plant pots

  • Flower arranging

  • Jigsaw puzzles

  • Shell beans or peanuts

  • Folding towels , pillow cases

  • Polishing brass or silver

  • Painting

  • Craft work

  • Baking

  • Life story work

  • Memory boxes

Physical Activities:

  • Complete standing, seated or lying exercise together

  • Tai Chi

  • Mindfulness - colour nature walks

  • Play ring toss

  • Play indoor/ outdoor boules or skittles

Calming Activities:

  • Fidget toys/activity blankets

  • Kneading clay or play dough or similar

  • Adult colouring books

  • Mindfulness activities – e.g relaxation stories

  • Hand massage

  • Breathing exercises

  • Blow bubbles

To explore other Blogs with hints, tips and advice, click here

Final Thought

Our Wayfinding Team are always here to help but adjusting and educating ourselves is for some the first step on the journey. Offering free advice and guidance for your whole dementia journey, even from before you have a formal diagnosis. The Wayfinders can also sign post to other services we work with to provide holistic, person-centred support.

If you have concerns about your loved one's memory, you can contact our Wayfinders on 01243 888691. They can support you and your loved ones for your whole journey with dementia, from pre-diagnosis to end of life care.


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