Activities for Dementia Patients
When you have a loved one with dementia, it can be hard to figure out activities to do. Wanting to connect with your loved one is important and beneficial for them. There are ways you can connect with them and work on making your bond stronger.
When someone has dementia, it is hard for them to not revert back to childhood memories. Their minds can only remember their younger days and this can be where you connect with them. Below are some activities that can be done with dementia patients that will hopefully get them interacting and helping them bond.
1). Create a memory bag.
Take a bag (whatever you can find) and fill it with items that will make your loved one reminisce about their younger days. With the mind having a strong attachment to scent, try to include as many items in the bag that smell of something they may remember. You can include their favourite soap, perfume, aftershave or seasonal related scents.
2). Look through photo albums.
Sit down and look through their albums of their childhood and/or younger days. Periodicals like Time are good to look through with them as well.
3). Read Out Loud.
If your loved one has a favourite book or poem, read out loud to them. Encourage them to hold the books and turn the pages.
4). Listen to a playlist of favourite music.
Play their favourite music while you are visiting. You can either find the music online or if they still have the equipment, play their music on record players, 8 tracks, etc.
5). Sing Old Songs.
If they are regular church goers, sing hymns with them that they sing in their church. Sing their favourite holiday songs or if you know their favourite songs, sing the songs with them.
6). Watch Old Movies And Tv Shows.
If you know your loved ones favourite shows, watch them with them. Try to find the old Westerns or musicals that they used to watch when they were younger.
7). Go On A Nature Walk.
When going out for a walk, use nature to make it a more sensory experience. Listen to the birds singing, watch the squirrels play, smell the flowers as you pass them by. Ask what their favourite outside activities were when they were younger and try to recreate them as much as possible.
8). Look Through Old Cookbooks.
Ask them what their favourite recipes were when they were younger and what they like cooking the most. Maybe get them to help you in the kitchen recreating some of these meals. Encourage them to smell the food to bring back memories.
9). Enjoy Favourite Treats.
Try to find candy or other treats your loved ones liked when they were young. Simple things can be a treat to them as well especially if they only ate them at certain times of the year (birthday cake, peppermint sticks, etc).
10). Visit And Connect With Animals.
If your loved one grew up on a farm, try to see if you can take them back to the farm or even to your local humane society. Some city centres do have local petting zoos for you to visit.
11). Reminisce Over Old Toys.
A lot of toy companies are bringing back old toys. Some toys they may even still have. Ask questions about how they were played with, if there were other types of available, or if there is a construction set that they liked when they were younger, try to build something with them.
12). Bring Back Old Skills.
If your loved one knew how to crochet, knit or sew. Let them feel the weight of the yarn and the way that it feels. They may start working with the yarn. The muscles may remember how to do something while the brain forgets.
Most important thing is to be present with your loved one and to try a variety of activities. With dementia patients, they may not like something one day but want to do it the next day. Try not to get too discouraged.