Regular everyday activities can become too much for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Included in memory care services are fun, no-fail activities for your senior to enjoy.
The no-fail part is important because everyone, including seniors, has the need to feel successful. In the following activities, your senior will succeed at them no matter what.
Doing satisfying activities can greatly benefit one’s happiness. They reduce depression, anxiety, agitation, anger, and frustration. It could even go as far as to reduce or eliminate sundowning and make certain medications less necessary.
Below are 10 activities that you can do with your senior at home. Alternatively, you can avail of memory care services for more activities like this. There’s no right or wrong way to do these activities, and they are low cost/free to do.
14 Excellent Failure-Free Activities for Seniors in Memory Care
Everyone is unique, so it may take many attempts and/or some imagination to discover appealing activities for seniors with dementia.
A note on safety: don’t involve any sharp items and only provide things that will be safe for seniors. For instance, suppose they sometimes put items in their mouth or attempt to put ties around themselves. In that case, don’t include strings, small objects, or items that will be destroyed when bitten.
1. Towel Folding
Requesting your senior to assist you with folding laundry is an excellent way to keep them busy. This gives them a task that they can feel accomplished from doing and allows them to contribute to the household.
The objective of this activity is to ensure that they stay happily occupied. It’s better to use hand towels since they’re small and easy to fold.
Regardless of how well or poor they fold the towels, the objective is to feel happy from doing the task.
2. Going for a Walk
There are many health benefits of being outside. Even if that means just the sidewalk around your house. There is plenty of sensory stimuli as well as the chance to get some exercise. Have a nice chat during your stroll, or you could simply point out when you hear a bird chirp.
3. Rubber Tipped Darts
You can safely throw some rubber-tipped darts with your senior loved one; they won’t hurt players or damage walls. You could also try lawn darts and play outside and enjoy some fresh air.
4. Make a Memory Box
A memory box/rummage box is something that will make your senior feel connected to their past hobbies and career.
Create a box, any sort of box, and add things to it that would remind them of their career. Include photographs, non-essential keepsakes, and other items representing their favorite hobbies.
For instance, if they used to be an office worker, then make a box of things reminding them of their career: stuff like pencils, paper, perhaps a calculator, notepads, paper clips, erasers, envelopes, file folders, etc.
You can modify the above for any career or hobby – just be sure to only add safe objects for your senior loved one.
5. Do Some Sorting
Sorting things is a great way to hone motor skills and sharpen cognitive recall. Plus, it’s a simple activity that you can put together quickly without needing many supplies. Some examples of things that can be sorted include cards (by suit/color), nuts and bolts from the garage, sewing threads (by size/color), and even dried beans (pinto from black, for instance).
6. Computer Games
There are plenty of computer games that involve puzzle solving and are ideal for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Just search for dementia-friendly computer games in Google to start your search. Brain teasers like Sudoku or card games are also good options.
7. Untying Knots
Find a rope of medium thickness in your home or purchase one from your local hardware store. Tie a few loose knots and ask your senior to assist you with untying them. This helps with motor skills and keeps them occupied.
8. Driving Through Your Favorite Neighborhood
Take a joy ride around your favorite area. It will feel nice to get out of the house with your loved one and cruise around your favorite neighborhood. You can enjoy the way people decorate their homes during the holidays or reminisce about certain places that you enjoyed in the past, thinking about where you went to school, and more.
9. Make a Box of Variety Fabrics
This is an enjoyable activity for everyone, especially for a person who once took pleasure in sewing or creating fabric crafts.
Find a box and fill it with tons of different fabric pieces. Do your best to find as much variety in colors and textures as possible. Think silks, laces, velvets, felt, cotton, wool, etc.
Your senior will enjoy sorting, folding, and touching the different fabrics.
Bingo is a classic game that most people enjoy playing. It can also easily be adapted for seniors with dementia. It offers unique benefits like stimulating thought processing and memory.
11. Peruse Through Old Photos
Dust off one of your old photo albums from the bookshelf and go through it together. It’s not important if your senior loved one doesn’t recall who the people are in each photo; the purpose is to create a story of each image.
12. Create a Fun Scrapbook
Your senior will likely enjoy going through old calendars or magazines and snipping out the parts they like. It’s better to use magazines that highlight their personal interests and hobbies.
For any who would enjoy it, they might also place the pictures into a scrapbook.
Music fills a specific place in all of our minds. For a person with dementia, music is in a part of the brain that dementia cannot reach very quickly. You can both take advantage of this fact and listen to music/sing together on a regular basis. Choose songs that your senior enjoyed when they were 10 and 30 years old. Also include beloved lullabies that they may have sang to their kids.
Humor is always welcomed by anyone. Therefore it’s extremely useful for a caregiver to possess some good jokes for times when you need to brighten someone’s day. It can definitely turn a person’s day around for the better. Luckily for you, the internet is full of excellent jokes. Choose a few that you think your loved one will like and make their day!