What are Some Good Activities for Dementia?

Patti Kate

There are various activities for dementia that may help individuals in their daily life, including cultivating a hobby of interest, musical therapy or card games that promote mental stimulation. Those afflicted with mild dementia symptoms may find that activities which invoke recollections of the past are helpful in keeping their mind alert. Interacting with pets can also prove to have therapeutic effects for dementia patients.

Collecting coins can be good for those with dementia.
Collecting coins can be good for those with dementia.

Caregivers can help find activities for dementia patients, whether they are in the stages of early onset dementia or are moderately affected. Often this can be as simple as choosing past times that are well-suited to the individual's personal likes and preferences. For instance, if the individual with dementia enjoyed a longtime interest in coin collecting, but gave it up due to struggles with his condition, helping him ease back into his hobby can have a positive effect. Often dementia and depression are related due to inactivity, which is why rekindling a former interest can be beneficial.

Mentally stimulating card games can help with dementia symptoms.
Mentally stimulating card games can help with dementia symptoms.

Beginning a new hobby can have positive effects in dealing with dementia as well. Engaging the individual in nature walks may provoke pleasure or interest. This may spark a new hobby in the form of bird watching. Recognizing various bird species can be a good way of sharpening memory skills as well. Such every day occurrences can have a lasting positive influence in a dementia patient's life.

Sudoku can be a great game for dementia patients.
Sudoku can be a great game for dementia patients.

Activities for dementia can also involve the interplay with pets. Experts believe that adopting, caring for or simply stroking and handling a pet can have positive health effects. Pets can help control depression in many people as well. Experts also believe that activities for dementia involving the interaction of pets can help lower blood pressure and control stress and anxiety in many patients.

Bird watching may be good for patients with dementia, as recognizing different bird species may help sharpen the memory.
Bird watching may be good for patients with dementia, as recognizing different bird species may help sharpen the memory.

Musical therapy can be an essential part of dementia management. This may involve special classes or sessions to allow the dementia patient to become involved in the creative aspect of music. Music in various forms can have relaxing benefits while providing mental stimulation. In these activities, the individual works with a trained musical therapist to help achieve positive results.

Other activities for dementia may include arts and craft projects, cooking or gardening. Drawing, painting, sewing or knitting can be a creative outlet for many individuals with mild to moderate dementia as well. Cooking can be a rewarding past time that can also help the individual feel more confident. Gardening can have the same positive effects, with the added benefit of being outdoors and becoming physically active as well.

Reading is a good way to stay mentally active, which is important for the prevention of dementia.
Reading is a good way to stay mentally active, which is important for the prevention of dementia.

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Discussion Comments

lluviaporos

One of the best things I ever heard of is a village in Denmark where they have basically set it up to be completely safe and accessible to people with dementia. All the "shopkeepers" are actually nurses and the patients are allowed to just go along with their lives completely supervised but without the stress of living in care.

I imagine they get dementia training as well, but at least it feels like a normal life to them.

Ana1234

@pastanaga - I don't think anyone should give up hope and I do think that intellectual and creative activities for people with dementia can be extremely beneficial. But the human brain is a mystery and one single case of someone managing to hold off on developing symptoms does not mean that the same will work for everyone.

It is tragic to watch someone suffer from this kind of disease and continually forcing them to work on their cognitive skills isn't necessarily going to help. It might just increase their stress levels and make everything worse.

pastanaga

I saw a documentary a few months ago with a woman who seemed to have put off her diagnosed dementia indefinitely, basically through keeping her mind sharp. In her opinion, what usually happens is that activities for dementia aren't ambitious enough and everyone around the patient basically gives up and encourages them to complete crosswords rather than stay on with real work.

She continued her job as a professor with help from her husband and even though she occasionally has lapses of memory, she hasn't seen much more than that in almost a decade.

That might not work for everyone, but I'd definitely do a lot of research if you were facing this kind of thing. They make advances all the time.

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