A woman engages in dementia-friendly activities, such as putting together a puzzle, with her elderly mother.

What is it that gets you up out of bed every day? Most of us have an extensive list of to-dos that pushes us to start the day. As much as we might wish we could keep hitting the snooze button, having a sense of purpose is certainly vital to our health and wellbeing. That’s true for a person with dementia as well.

When caring for a person with dementia, it is normal to want to do as much as possible for the individual. Though the motives behind this way of thinking are to make life better and easier, it might have the exact opposite impact. It’s important to encourage the person to keep doing tasks and engage in enjoyable activities, even if this means a little extra time and patience on your part.

What Are Some Good Dementia-Friendly Activities?

There is an endless list of dementia-friendly activities suitable for someone with Alzheimer’s. It begins with activities of daily life, the things we hardly give a second thought to: taking a bath or shower, getting dressed, preparing and eating meals. But imagine having these everyday tasks completely taken over by someone else. What would it do to your self-esteem?

With some modifications and support, a person in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can still perform these activities. For instance, if:

  • Removing the toothpaste cap and squeezing the right amount onto the toothbrush is challenging, handle that step for the person, leaving the toothbrush on the edge of the sink so they are able to brush independently.
  • Buttons and zippers are cumbersome, select clothing that can be pulled on and off more easily.
  • Preparing a from-scratch meal from start to finish is not possible any longer, consider which steps the person can still accomplish: washing and tearing lettuce for salad, setting out napkins and silverware, stirring butter into a bowl of mashed potatoes, etc.

Additionally, you’ll want to be sure there are a variety of fun and engaging activities for the person to participate in during the day too. Base these activities on their current and/or past hobbies and interests. Consider:

  • Gardening: indoor dish gardens or planting seeds in small pots can take the place of outdoor gardening if necessary
  • Taking a daily walk around the block or in the yard, enjoying nature and chatting with neighbors
  • Ability-appropriate puzzles and games
  • Organizing nuts and bolts in a toolbox, sinkers and bobbers in a tackle box, or papers in folders
  • Music: creating a playlist of favorite songs and having a singalong, dancing together, or just clapping hands and tapping toes to the beat

The dementia care experts at Compassionate Nursing Services are trained in innovative techniques that make every day the best it can be. Reach out to us online or call us at 314-432-4312 for more information on how our dementia care services in Town and Country, Creve Coeur, Clayton, and the surrounding communities can improve life for someone you love.