Why Is It Important to Keep Dementia Patients Engaged in Daily Activities?

Dementia is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide, including those closest to us. It can be challenging to connect with someone with dementia as their cognitive abilities decline. However, connecting with loved ones or patients with dementia is essential for their emotional and mental well-being. Activities for dementia patients can be an excellent way to connect with someone with dementia, stimulate their minds, and improve their quality of life. 

Taking part in engaging activities and enjoying sensory stimulation can significantly improve the quality of life for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Games, exercise, and outdoor activities can have a profoundly positive impact on brain health, especially when done with beloved family members or as part of a group. Fun everyday activities give dementia patients something to look forward to each day and can help them feel more comfortable and secure.

Crucially, social interaction, physical health, and cognitive function are closely linked, so the mental and physical benefits of staying active and engaged are undeniable. 

In this blog post, we will explore how activities can help you connect with someone with dementia and provide practical tips on using them effectively. Whether you’re a caregiver, family member, or friend, this post will provide valuable insights and tools for connecting with someone with dementia.

Tea and reading. Top view of retired grey-haired woman and caregiver drinking tea and reading

Dementia Activities

It’s particularly important to cultivate a supportive environment with plenty of encouragement and failure-free activities for dementia patients to take part in. While memory issues impair a person’s ability to learn and process information, the emotional center of their brain is much deeper and therefore less affected by the disease. As such, many people with dementia feel frustrated with themselves and might feel like a burden on those around them.

Spending time taking part in regular activities provides sensory stimulation and boosts self-esteem as the individual builds a sense of productivity and engagement in the world around them.

Examples of Meaningful Activities for Dementia Patients

Whether you’re a family member or a caregiver, it’s great to have a roster of activities that offer physical or mental stimulation to your loved one. Activity ideas include:

  • Dedicated dementia apps
  • Making a memory box
  • Sorting through family photo albums
  • Dementia-friendly cinema screenings
  • Board games
  • Hand massage
  • Sculpting with Play-Doh
  • Singing holiday songs
  • Making holiday desserts
  • Talking about happy memories
  • Simple crossword puzzles
  • Memory card games

Tailoring Activities to the Individual

Close Up Of Senior Woman Painting Cup With Art TherapistSome people with dementia are keen to take part in any fun or relaxing activities, while others may be reluctant. In such instances, it’s worth tailoring the activity to the individual. A former office worker might be inclined to sort colored paper, stationery, and folders. Someone who worked as a gardener may enjoy planting and tending to flowers.

Memory Care Activities

In the earlier stages of dementia, games, and activities that stimulate memory and encourage reminiscence can help slow the process of cognitive decline for people in memory care.

Some examples of memory care activities include:

  • Memory games and jigsaw puzzles
  • Reading and writing activities
  • Reminiscing and storytelling sessions
  • Music therapy and singing sessions
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Cooking and baking activities

Sensory Activities for Dementia Patients

Senior adults doing some activities for dementia patients Activities that provide sensory stimulation can be pleasurable to people with dementia. Sights, smells, sounds, textures, and foods that awaken the senses can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and enhance the quality of life.

Some examples of sensory activities include:

  • Aromatherapy and essential oils
  • Sensory boxes filled with different textures and objects to touch
  • Music therapy and singing sessions
  • Tasting and smelling different foods and spices
  • Gardening and nature walks
  • Massage therapy and hand massages

Physical Activities for Dementia Patients

Keeping the body active is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain and can be highly effective at preventing dementia patients from developing depression. Experts say it can improve sleep, improve memory and slow the process of cognitive decline.

Here are some examples of exercises for dementia patients:

  1. Chair exercises: These exercises are low-impact and can be done while sitting in a chair. They can help improve mobility, flexibility, and strength.
  2. Walking: Taking a short walk daily can help improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase overall mood.
  3. Yoga: Yoga can help improve flexibility, strength, balance, and overall well-being. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Chair yoga is available for individuals with mobility issues.
  4. Tai chi: Tai chi is a gentle, mindful form of exercise that can help reduce falls and increase awareness for people in the early stages of cognitive decline.
  5. Dancing: Dancing is a fun and engaging activity that can help improve coordination, balance, and mood.
  6. Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help improve cardiovascular health, strength, and overall well-being.

How Bel Air Assisted Living Can Help

At Bel Air Assisted Living, our team of qualified caregivers is on hand around the clock to provide support and care. We host games and activities each day to encourage self-expression to ensure each and every resident feels a sense of joy and purpose, and we welcome loved ones 24/7. Come and take a look around or call us today at (410) 893-9164 to learn more.