It can be challenging to take care of a loved one who has dementia. One of the most important things you can do is keep them engaged and active. This will help to keep their mind sharp and delay the progression of the disease.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological conditions that cause a decline in cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases.
For many people with dementia, the most effective treatments are non-pharmacological. In other words, they focus on activities and therapies that help to engage the individual and slow the progression of the condition.
The purpose of this blog is to provide an introduction to some fun activities that can help keep dementia patients engaged.
None of these activities is intended to be a “cure” for dementia, but they may help to slow down the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for both the patient and their caregivers.
I hope you find this blog helpful and please feel free to share it with anyone who might benefit from it. If you’re living with dementia patients and looking for ways to keep a loved one with dementia engaged and active, read on for our top activities to do at home!
What Is Dementia?
There is a general term for dementia that refers to a decline in mental ability. It’s caused by damage to the brain, and it can lead to a range of different symptoms, which can vary from person to person.
Some common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, confusion, problems with speech and language, and changes in behaviour. Dementia can make it difficult for people to take care of themselves and live independently. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost!
Aged care residents are one type of facility that provides care and assistance to people with dementia. However, there are also many people with dementia who choose to remain at home. For these individuals, it is important to find activities that will keep them engaged and help to slow the progression of the disease.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your loved one engaged and stimulated at home.
What Symptoms Might Be Present in a Dementia Patient?
It can be tough to deal with a loved one who has dementia. One minute they might be perfectly fine, and the next they’re completely lost. There are different stages of dementia.
The first step is to understand the symptoms that might be present in a dementia patient. The most common are memory loss, confusion, and changes in mood or behaviour. As the disease progresses, patients might have problems with walking, speaking, and swallowing.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone experiences dementia differently. So what works for one patient might not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to try a variety of activities to see what engages them.
The Benefits of Engaging Dementia Patients in Activities
When it comes to engaging dementia patients in activities, the benefits are twofold.
For one, engaging patients in activities helps keep their minds active and sharp. This is crucial, as the disease can often lead to a decline in cognitive function.
But activities also provide social interaction and stimulation, which are both essential for maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Patients can feel isolated and lonely when they’re unable to participate in regular social activities, so engaging them in fun activities at home can help alleviate those feelings.
There are all sorts of activities you can do with dementia patients to keep them engaged. There are different group activities for dementia patients, cognitive activities etc. You can cook together, do puzzles, go for walks, or even just have a conversation. The possibilities are endless!
How to Choose the Right Activity for a Dementia Patient
When you’re looking for activities to keep a dementia patient engaged, it’s important to think about their interests and abilities. Not every activity is going to be a good fit for every person, so it’s important to take the time to find the right one.
Start by thinking about what the patient used to enjoy. What did they like to do for fun? What were their hobbies? Once you have an idea of what they liked, you can start looking for activities that match that interest.
If the patient is still able to participate in activities, there are plenty of things you can do at home. Puzzles, painting, crafts, and even gardening can be great options. If the patient is unable to participate in activities themselves, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep them engaged. You can read stories, play music, or even take them for walks outside.
How to Get Started With at-Home Activities for Dementia Patients
It can be tough to know where to start when it comes to activities. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
- Start by talking to your loved one. Find out what they used to enjoy doing, and see if there’s any way you can incorporate those activities into their daily routine.
- If your loved one is up for it, take them for a walk around the neighbourhood or in a nearby park.
- Art therapy is a great way to stimulate the mind and help patients express themselves. Get creative and ask them to help you make a painting, collage, or sculpture.
- Puzzles are a great way to keep the mind active and engaged. Try puzzles with different levels of difficulty, or switch things up by doing crosswords, word searches, or Sudoku puzzles.
- Memory games are another fun way to keep the mind active. Try games like Simon Says, 20 Questions, or I Spy.
- Precast concrete is durable
Tips for Getting Started
Now that you know some of the best activities for people living with dementia, it’s time to get started. But where do you begin? Let’s see
- Talk to your loved one’s doctor. Your loved one may receive some specific recommendations from them.
- Start small. Don’t try to do too much at once. Just like with anything else, starting slowly will make it more likely that your loved one will stick with the activities.
- Make it a routine. Try to schedule the activities at the same time each day so your loved one can start to look forward to them.
- Be creative. There are tons of different activities that you can do at home to keep your loved one engaged and interested. Discover what works for them and be creative.
- Stay positive. It can be frustrating when your loved one is no longer able to do the things they used to enjoy, but it’s important to stay positive and keep encouraging them.
What Are Some Fun and Easy Activities to Do at Home With a Dementia Patient?
It can be tough to keep a dementia patient engaged, but it’s important to try. While there are many great activities in assisted living and nursing homes, there are also many things that can be done at home. Here are some easy activities for people with dementia you can do at home to keep them entertained:
Listening to Music
Dementia patients’ ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally deteriorates as they age. Dementia patients require cognitive-stimulating activities to stay engaged with caregivers and other loved ones.
Music provides stimulation and has been shown to be an effective way to keep dementia patients engaged in conversation. A person with dementia may enjoy listening to music. Play an old favourite or select songs based on your personal relationship with your loved one.
- Music can also be used during therapy and physical exercises. When selecting music, keep the following tips in mind:
- Loud noises can cause dementia patients to become confused.
- Instead of harsh, high-pitched sounds like alarms or sirens, choose good music.
- If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics, avoid them.
- If you’re concerned about remembering the lyrics, download music onto your phone and listen to it through headphones so only you can hear it.
You can commission your loved one to create artwork on canvas or paper. Provide them with a variety of materials, such as paintbrushes, paints, and canvases, and let them get to work.
It’s a great chance for you and your loved one to spend quality time together. You’ll enjoy watching them finish their masterpiece while working on their motor skills.
Allow them to be creative and use all of their artistic talents if they are not of an age where they require physical assistance in drawing or painting. Even for those who do require assistance, it is an excellent way to keep them engaged and involved.
Baking and cooking
Nothing beats cooking for stimulating all five of your senses. Cooking is an excellent activity for dementia patients at home or in memory care facilities.
Cooking is not only useful, but it also provides a tasty treat as a reward.
Allow your loved one to do as much of the work as possible while keeping safety in mind at all times.
Your loved one may create the entire recipe from start to finish, depending on their abilities.
Or they may only be able to assist with one or two steps. And if they are unable to perform any of the processes but are interested and engaged, simply watching you cook and bake may be beneficial.
Do you, for example, know how to bake? If not, ask your grandparents and parents about their favourite childhood recipes.
Take them out and experiment with baking with them! The kitchen is a great place to spend time with loved ones while keeping their minds active plus, seniors with dementia may enjoy it and you’ll have something delicious at the end!
Looking through old photo albums
Photo albums having images from your loved one’s childhood or early adulthood can rekindle fond memories. You can also create books by scanning or photographing old photos.
Looking through photo albums with dementia patients can be a wonderful way to connect with them and create lasting memories. This activity can provide a way for patients to reminisce about their past and share their stories with loved ones.
There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this activity with a patient. First, it is important to choose a photo album that is age and culturally appropriate. Second, be patient and allow the patient to take their time looking through the album and telling their stories. Finally, be sure to keep the conversation positive and upbeat.
Looking through photo albums of dementia patients can be a rewarding experience for the patient with dementia and the caregiver. It is a great way to connect with the patient, learn about their past, and create lasting memories.
Playing Puzzle games
Puzzles have been shown to improve memory retention by exercising areas of the brain that have otherwise declined due to dementia-related memory loss.
Give dementia patients some great brain stimulation by using fun puzzle-like crosswords, jigsaws, or word searches.
Placing a photograph in front of them and asking them what they remember about it can help stimulate memories—important it’s not to assume you know everything about their life!
Puzzles are entertaining while also assisting patients in avoiding anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Choose one of these puzzles the next time you’re looking for fun activities for patients living with dementia.
A fun one can be found online or at your local department store. Tip: It will be even more engaging if it includes photos of familiar faces and things (such as family members).
What Are Some Slightly More Challenging Activities for a Dementia Patient?
Now that we’ve looked at some basic activities that can help keep your loved one with dementia occupied and engaged, let’s explore a few slightly more challenging options.
Remember, it’s important to start slow and easy, and only move on to more challenging tasks as your loved one becomes more comfortable with the idea of participating in activities.
Some ideas for slightly more challenging activities include:
– Playing card games like gin rummy or canasta
– Working on a jigsaw puzzle
– Painting or drawing a picture
– Coloring in a picture book
– Doing word searches or crosswords
How Can I Keep My Loved One With Dementia Safe While Engaging in These Activities?
Now that we’ve gone over a few of the top activities for dementia patients, let’s talk about how to keep them safe while engaging in these activities.
It’s important to keep in mind that each person is different and will respond to activities in their own way. Some people might be ok with leaving the house and going on walks, while others might prefer to stay inside and do puzzles or crafts.
The most important thing is to always keep an eye on your loved one and to make sure they’re comfortable with whatever you’re doing. If they start to show signs of agitation or discomfort, it’s best to stop the activity and try something else.
Dementia patients often become withdrawn and disengaged as the disease progresses. Dementia is a debilitating disease that can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life. However, there are things that can be done to help patients stay engaged and active.
In conclusion, there are a variety of activities that can help keep dementia patients engaged at home. These activities can help to reduce anxiety and depression, improve cognitive function, and improve quality of life. While some of these activities may require the assistance of a caregiver, many can be done independently.
The activities listed in this article are a great way to keep dementia patients engaged, both mentally and physically.
Dementia patients can feel isolated and bored when they’re confined at home. But with a little creativity, you can help keep them engaged with a variety of activities. Here are some frequently asked questions about at-home activities for patients living with dementia.
What kind of activities can I do with my loved one who has dementia?
There are all sorts of things you can do with a dementia patient, depending on their interests and abilities. You can play music, do arts and crafts, go for walks, cook together, or just have a conversation. The key is to keep things interesting and varied.
What kinds of activities are best for dementia patients?
It’s important to choose activities that are stimulating and engaging. Puzzles, games, crafts, and music are all great options. And don’t forget to get outside and take walks whenever possible.
What if my loved one doesn’t want to participate in any activities?
Don’t force your loved one to do anything they don’t want to do. Just try different activities until you find something they enjoy. And be patient—it may take some time for them to warm up to the idea.
What Are Some Easy Activities to Do at Home With a Dementia Patient?
Some easy and great activities to do at home with a dementia patient are:
- Gardening: This is a great way to get them outdoors and moving.
- Crafts: Crafting is a great way to stimulate the mind.
- Puzzles: Puzzles are a great way to keep the brain active.
- Cooking: This is a great way for them to feel productive and useful.
- Music: Music is a great way to stimulate the mind and emotions.