Whether you live with someone who has dementia or just visit from time to time, here’s a few activities you could enjoy together, courtesy of the team at the National Activity Providers Association:
1 – Help write an autobiography
For a person with dementia, recounting special memories doesn’t only relieve boredom, it can boost self-esteem, provide meaning and purpose and become an extremely enjoyable process. You might even find you learn something you didn’t know about them! The Unforgettable Life Story book has been specially designed to capture these precious memories in a fun and flexible way that you can both enjoy.
2 – Read a newspaper or magazine aloud
Many people with dementia, particularly those in the earlier stages, want to keep in touch with what’s happening in the world but find it increasingly difficult to do so, especially if reading or concentration skills are beginning to falter. If reading independently is too much, reading aloud will enable them to continue sharing their thoughts and opinions and engage in conversations about issues that matter to them.
3 – Create a collage poster with pictures from magazines
It really doesn’t matter whether they haven’t picked up a paintbrush since they were six years old, a simple art projects can be totally absorbing, and for someone with dementia the process can be a way to restore dignity, ease anxiety and give a sense of control. There’s no right or wrong way to do it either, so it could be lots of fun.
4 – Have an indoor picnic
Picnics can be a powerful reminiscence tool, as well as a good way to make mealtimes less stressful. You could both be involved in the preparation; make sandwiches together, for example and lay an old tablecloth on the carpet so you don’t worry about the crumbs! You might want to invite grandchildren around to share in the fun too.
5- Play ‘Name that Tune’ with old CDs, records or a playlist
A great way to stimulate conversation and listen to some favourite songs at the same time. Music can have enormous benefits for people with dementia. We have a Music Quiz CD available, which is an ideal way to encourage reminiscence.
6 – Do a crossword together, or do yours out loud (listening is an activity!)
Crosswords and puzzles stimulate both mind and memory. If the person you care about might struggle to complete a crossword now, you could try one specially designed for people with dementia. .
7 – Make a joy box or memory box
Decorate a shoe box or you could use a favourite old handbag if they’d prefer. Fill it with items that mean a lot and spend time talking about the items and what they mean. Read more about reminiscence therapy here.
8 – Share favourite stories and memories
If this is becoming difficult, why not try using memory joggers such as old photographs, favourite music, perfume, or treasured household objects to get things going. We have a full range of reminiscence products and books, which are sure to inspire conversations and spark memories.
9 – Look at travel books, glossy brochures, dream about a fantasy holiday
Follow it up by watching a film or documentary about your favourite destination and finding out more about it.
10 – Be a good listener
Sometimes it’s enough to simply spend time together and listen.
Want to read more?
21 ideas for group activities