101 Things to Do With a Person Who Has Dementia


July 18, 2023

Things to Do With a Person Who Has Dementia

Daily activities for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias tend to change as the disease progresses and can limit concentration and cause difficulties in following directions. These factors can turn simple activities into daily challenges. Individuals with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s often don’t start or plan activities on their own. When they do, they may have trouble organizing and carrying out the activity. Many caregivers state that the individual often sits in one area of the room, paces the floor, or searches for familiar objects with little interest in doing the things that had once brought meaning and pleasure to life.

By using a variety of activities matched to the person’s abilities, the caregiver can help the family member enjoy their current level of skill and talent, as well as retain their sense of positive self-esteem.

Provide existence with meaning. Make each activity success oriented, failure free, purposeful and meaningful. Here are 101 ideas to help pass the time throughout the year.

  1. Clip coupons.
  2. Remember famous people.
  3. Read aloud from labels.
  4. Identify states and capitols.
  5. Count tickets.
  6. Wipe off the patio furniture.
  7. Sing favorite hymns.
  8. Read out loud.
  9. Use the vacuum cleaner.
  10. Read classic short stories.
  11. Play horse shoes.
  12. Dye Easter eggs.
  13. Bake cookies.
  14. Have afternoon tea.
  15. Make a fresh fruit salad.
  16. Button clothes
  17. Prep food (ex. snap beans, mash potatoes, or peel apples).
  18. Water house plants.
  19. Use a spray bottle with water on plants.
  20. Have a spelling bee.
  21. Look at family photographs.
  22. Mold with Play Doh.
  23. Sand wood.
  24. Plant seeds indoors or out.
  25. Color pictures.
  26. Name the presidents.
  27. Finish nursery rhymes.
  28. Cook hot dogs outside.
  29. Wipe off the table.
  30. Make homemade ice cream.
  31. Ask simple questions.
  32. Make a family tree poster.
  33. Make cream cheese mints.
  34. Dance.
  35. Fold clothes or sort socks.
  36. Sweep the patio.
  37. Have a calm pet in to visit.
  38. Color a picture of our flag.
  39. Look at a picture book.
  40. Reminisce about the first kiss.
  41. Wash silverware.
  42. Fold towels.
  43. Feed the ducks.
  44. Read a letter out lout.
  45. Make a Valentine collage. 
  46. Take a walk.
  47. Give a manicure.
  48. Cut out paper dolls.
  49. Take a ride.
  50. Remember great inventions.
  51. Pop popcorn.
  52. Put a simple puzzle together.
  53. Make a collage from a magazines
  54. Put together nuts and bolts
  55. Put coins into a jar.
  56. Rake leaves.
  57. Roll yarn into a ball.
  58. Weed the flower bed.
  59. Look out the window. “What do you see?”
  60. Listen to music. 
  61. Make Christmas cards.
  62. Play Pictionary.
  63. Arrange fresh flowers.
  64. Finish Bible quotes.
  65. Take care of a fish tank.
  66. Sort poker chips.
  67. Sing Christmas carols.
  68. Paint a sheet.
  69. Decorate paper place mats.
  70. Make homemade lemonade.
  71. Finish famous sayings.
  72. Fold clothes.
  73. Clean out a pumpkin.
  74. Put the silverware away.
  75. Exercise.
  76. Toss a ball.
  77. Sort playing cards by their color.
  78. Color paper shamrocks green.
  79. Cut pictures out of greeting cards.
  80. Rub in pleasant-scented hand lotions.
  81. Read the daily newspaper out loud.
  82. Look up names in a phone book.
  83. Dress in red on a football Saturday.
  84. Play favorite songs and sing together.
  85. Put bird feed out for the birds.
  86. Force bulbs for winter blooming.
  87. Cut out pictures from magazines.
  88. Make peanut butter sandwiches.
  89. Make homemade applesauce.
  90. Write a letter to a family member.
  91. Reminisce about a favorite summer.
  92. Cut up used paper for scratch paper.
  93. Reminisce about the first day of school.
  94. Read Reader’s Digest out loud.
  95. Look at pictures in National Geographic.
  96. String Cheerios to hang outside for the birds.
  97. Straighten underwear drawers.
  98. Trace leaves and cut them out.
  99. Sort objects such as beads by shape or color.
  100. Say, “Tell me more” when they start talking about a memory.
  101. Ask a friend, neighbor, or church acquaintance with a baby to visit.

Because there are many different stages that a person with Alzheimer’s and Dementia will go through. It is very important to continue to provide quality of life at each stage. To do this it’s important to look at what a person can do instead of what they cannot do. In addition, look at the task that you want to provide and break it down into the simplest form so that the task may be accomplished.

In the last stages of Alzheimer’s, concentrate on the senses when providing stimulation. One other important area of activities is to remember that activities can be passive or active. A person may only observe or watch an activity. Other persons may participate in an active way.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association, National Institute on Aging, AARP

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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