Activities for Dementia Patients

Connecting with others is at the core of being human - and it's something that doesn't change when a person has dementia. We're often asked what are good activities for dementia patients. It's important to know that there are many ways you can continue to form connections and strengthen bonds with your loved one during this time.


People with dementia often return to long-term memories of childhood. Their minds seem to only recall their younger years, and this is often where connections can be made. The next time you visit with your loved one, try one or more of the following activities to create a connection with them:

  1. Create a Memory Bag
  2. Fill the bag with items reminiscent of their late teens/early twenties. Scented products work well for this, as scents are strongly tied to memory. Try including soap, perfumes and aftershave, or holiday scents like gingerbread, pine and peppermint.
  3. Look Through Photo Albums
  4. Photo albums with pictures from their childhood or young adulthood are best for this. Old periodicals are another good option, particularly those that include many photos such as Life or Time magazines.
  5. Read Out Loud
  6. If your loved one has a favorite book, read it out loud to them and let them hold the book and feel the pages. Encourage them to enjoy the distinctive "old book smell." Reading aloud works especially well with poetry, as the cadence of the words are familiar and calming.
  7. Listen to a Playlist of Favorite Music
  8. Download songs or set up radio to stream that features music from their teenage years. Many internet radio stations include everything from classic rock to big band sounds, their favorite music should be easy to find.
  9. Sing Old Songs
  10. If they grew up going to church, sing old hymns with them. If it's around the holidays, sing holiday carols or other special songs. Class sing-a-longs and music classes were much more common in schools prior to the electronic age. You might be surprised at what songs your loved ones know and remember from elementary school.
  11. Watch Old Movies and TV Shows
  12. Did your parents grow up watching westerns like Gunsmoke or family dramas such as My Three Sons? Perhaps they were more interested in musicals like "The King and I" or "Singing in the Rain." You can find many favorite movies and shows from the 40s, 50s and 60s on Netflix or other streaming services.
  13. Go on a Nature Walk
  14. Use nature to integrate sensory experiences into conversation. Listen to birdsong, touch the wet grass, smell the roses and feel the sunshine on your shoulders. Ask what their favorite outdoor activities were during their youth and try to safely recreate similar scenarios if possible.
  15. Look Through Old Cookbooks
  16. In the past, women spent a great deal of their teenage years learning to cook and young adult years cooking for their families. Discuss origins and variations on old family recipes, or better yet, cook with those old family recipes and share the results with your loved ones.
  17. Enjoy Favorite Treats
  18. Look for candy or other indulgences that were commonplace when your loved one was young. Many companies specialize in nostalgic candy where you can buy old favorites like horehound candy and soft peppermint sticks. Even simple things, like an orange, can be a treat to someone who remembers when you only had them during holidays.
  19. Visit and Connect with Animals
  20. People who grew up on farms may enjoy an outing to a petting zoo or family farm where they can touch and talk to horses and other farm animals. Ask questions about animals, old pets, or what it was like to grow up on a farm. This is a great activity to involve grandchildren in, since many kids today are not familiar with farms.
  21. Reminisce Over Childhood Toys
  22. Nothing elicits childhood memories like familiar old toys. Erector sets, kewpie dolls, sock monkeys and marbles were some of the most popular toys during the 40s and 50s. There are many websites dedicated to antique toys. If you have any old toys available, bring them when you visit, ask questions about how they were played with, or, in the case of construction toys, build something together.
  23. Bring Back Old Skills
  24. Did your loved one quilt, crochet or knit? Put a homemade quilt or skein of yarn in their hands and let them feel the weight of the quilt and the scratchiness of the yarn. You may be surprised to find that your loved one can still crochet or knit a little bit, even though they have serious memory or cognitive deficits. Often, the muscles remember what the brain has forgotten.

Your loved one may be different than the person you have always known, but they still long for connection and companionship. You can encourage that connection by using these activities to enrich both of your lives.


Summer activities for the aging!

Summer is rapidly approaching, are you racking your brain trying to think of things to do with your aging loved ones? We have some ideas to help you! First of all, think of things that your loved one would enjoy, eg: picnics, walks. Try to incorporate those into summer-time fun! Here some idea's on behalf of us:

Create a garden, it doesn't have to be big or elaborate, it could even be a garden box. This is a fun activity that come with a beautiful product!

Attend a baseball game, or town festival! This provides great entertainment for all!

Pick a new hobby, such as bird watching! Identify all different kinds of birds with your loved one, it keeps your brain busy, and you occupied!

Take stroll to your nearest beach, or lake. You and your loved one can cool off while catching a great view! Even just dipping your feet in can cool you off on a hot summer's day!

Go for a picnic in the shade. You and your loved one can prepare the food and pack the basket together, help keep their minds stimulated! 

Go to the park and people watch. Let your loved one reminisce on being young and seeing the children play. Listen to their stories of being young, or having children.

Don't forget sunscreen and water for all!

How to Plan the Perfect Picnic

August is National Picnic Month

Polly | September 19, 2012

If you're looking for a fun activity for seniors, a picnic is an easy, low-cost idea for an afternoon outing.

There are few joys as great as planning, and pulling off, the perfect picnic. Although picnics are sometimes thought of as old-fashioned they can actually be the simple, unique, and incredibly fun. Whether you are planning a romantic picnic, a family picnic, or an occasion-based picnic there are a few basic guideline that you should follow. While picnics appear effortless and nonchalant, a great picnic takes a little bit of planning and creativity. However, what a picnic does not require is a lot of money. This is what makes picnics a wonderful experience; you can plan a unique and fun picnic and not have to spend a lot of money doing so. Below are tips on how to plan the perfect picnic.

1. Pick a location

While you may want to start packing your picnic baskets right away one of the first things you should do is pick your picnic location. Depending on the type of picnic different locations could end up making all the difference. For example, a romantic picnic will benefit from choosing a location that holds special meaning to the couple, such as the flower field that they visited on their first date. A family picnic is made even more fun at a favorite park where there is a playground nearby for kids to play in. While an occasion-based picnic, such as a birthday picnic, will benefit from a location with beautiful scenery that is perfect for taking pictures.

2. Gather Your Supplies

If you don’t already own picnic baskets or picnic coolers then you should invest in some to make your picnic truly special. Picnic baskets make it easier to carry food, plates, utensils, and even wine glasses without things breaking or spilling. You can find a large variety of picnic baskets online including baskets that are extra large or that have special holders for wine glasses and come with plates and silverware.

3. Pick Your Food

Once you’ve looked at picnic coolers and found the perfect one for you the next step is to plan the food you are going to bring. Try to keep food simple. You don’t want to bring ice cream or foods that can easily spoil. You also want to steer clear of food that will need to be reheated. Instead pack cheese, fruit, bread, crackers, salad, cold chicken, sweets, and other foods that will be easy to pack and serve. Make a meal plan ahead of time so you aren’t digging in your refrigerator at the last minute for things to pack in your basket.

Planning a picnic is easy as long as you stick to a few guidelines. Once you pick the location, gather your supplies, and come up with a menu ahead of time you will be able to easily plan the perfect picnic that everyone will appreciate.

Activities for Alzheimers/Dementia Patients

  • Place a bird feeder just outside a window so you can watch the birds. With spring being the nest building time of year, you could also hang a bag with some nest building materials and watch the birds take things from it for their nests.

  • Cut pictures from magazines or greeting cards to make a spring themed collage.

  • Set a pretty spring table and serve some spring type foods and tea.

  • Make ice cream sundaes or floats.

  • Paint, or sort, seashells

  • Using a basic watercolor set, paint spring pictures.

  • Plant some seeds in cups for the window sill, later you can plant them in the yard together.

  • Blow bubbles.

  • Make fruit salad

  • Make Lemonade

  • String cheerios or popcorn for the birds.