Huge List of Dementia Activities

Caregiver created list of engaging dementia-friendly activities seniors love.

Keeping your loved one with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia busy and engaged can be a real challenge for caregivers. I’ve found that taking time to find and plan stimulating activities is well worth the effort.

With my mom, idle hands and boredom quickly evolve into anxiety and paranoia. And we all have plenty to do as caregivers without extra anxious and paranoid heaped onto our to-do list.

I’ve found that sticking to a schedule with planned activity times helps keep my mom entertained, happy, and way more agreeable. I call that an Alzheimer’s win.

Picking appropriate activities for your loved one with dementia

The activities listed below span a large range of functioning levels, but you can use these ideas as a springboard and adapt them for your loved one’s current ability level and interests.

I have a daughter with autism, and when she was in school I would meet with her teachers periodically to update her IEP (individualized education program). I feel like I’m doing the same kind of thing for my mom now. I call it her IAP (individualized activity program).

Just as everyone with autism is different in their abilities and functioning level, so it is with folks with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We as caregivers are chasing a moving target when looking for appropriate activities for our loved ones. Their abilities and functioning levels are changing all the time. Sometimes from day to day. I’m constantly adjusting activities for my mom’s current level of functioning. I find some days she can do complex activities that would be impossible and totally frustrating for her other days.

My mom is currently in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, and I have to be careful the activities I plan for her don’t look too juvenile.

She notices.

I can, however, get away with some “kid” activities if I have one of my children participate. She thinks she’s “babysitting”. This is a double win as she’s engaged and feels useful. Though I do have to keep a close eye on things when my kids participate. Mom is having more frequent episodes of,

ahem, just not being nice(sparing you the horrid details on that)

and I have to be ready to pull my kid away if things start going south.

I repeat activities often. So don’t feel like you need something new every day. Most of the time my mom doesn’t remember she’s already done an activity multiple times. And if she says she doesn’t feel like doing a particular activity, I put it away and pull it out again another day. I try to have one activity time planned for her each day, and I plan these several weeks at a time.

I have done many of the activities listed below with my mom. But some are either not appropriate for her current functioning level or are things I know she wouldn’t be interested in. I’ve included those on the list as I know we are all at different places in this caregiving journey and are caring for a wide range of personalities and abilities.

Dementia activity supplies

I highly recommend gathering supplies for multiple activities at a time.  I use plastic containers and bags to organize activities so they are ready to go. This saves a ton of time and having everything ready means I’m more likely to follow through on making the activities happen. Otherwise, I tend to put them off because I don’t have time at that moment to pull together what I need.

Having the activities sorted in containers also allows Mom to pull something out to work on whenever she would like. It’s also really handy to have things available for times when she starts talking about something (usually something that didn’t even happen) that’s upsetting her. Pulling out a container with a craft, puzzle, sorting activity, or matching game will sometimes be just the ticket to distract her. 

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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Activities List

  1. Build with Legos – I first heard of this idea from a member of my FB group for caregivers. Her senior, who was previously a bricklayer, enjoyed building walls with Duplos (the larger size Legos). The pieces were in bright primary colors, but her senior didn’t seem to mind. Traditional size Legos are half the size of Duplos, but might be appropriate for some seniors with more dexterity. Building with Legos is definitely a great way to stimulate the brain making this a fantastic activity for dementia patients.Legos are a great activity for dementia patients.
  2. Sharpie Mug Craft – Use oil-based Sharpie paint markers to personalize a dollar store coffee mug. This EASY craft was a hit with my mom at stage 5 Alzheimer’s! It’s simple and with a few modifications seniors can complete this craft and have it come out looking fantastic! Great for individuals or groups. Check out my post HERE for detailed instructions and materials list.  Sharpie Mug Craft Alzheimer's Activity
  3. Christmas Carol Matching GameA fun holiday activity matching Christmas Carol song titles to their lyrics. Check out my post HERE for a free sample of my ready-to-print game cards. The Christmas Carol Matching Game is perfect for seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  4. Watch home movies
  5. Decorate their walker
  6. Bake cookies, muffins, or piesBaking is a great activity for Alzheimer's patients. #alzheimers #dementia
  7. Explore a fidget quilt or activity mat – These give restless hands something to do. My mom hasn’t used one of these yet, but I’ve talked with other caregivers who find them great for reducing anxiety and even self-harming behaviors in the later stages of dementia. You can find these ready-made online, but making one doesn’t look too tricky. I plan to try it at some point! Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board of fidget quilts and aprons. 
  8. Flip sequins – Everyone seems to love the feeling of swiping 2-sided color changing sequin fabric back and forth. ?‍♀️ You can find flip sequins on all kinds of things these days: pillows, blankets, toys, bags, clothing, and books to name just a few.
  9. Complete dot to dot books – These come in large print versions.
  10. Go out for ice cream – Oh, how my mom loves ice cream field trip day!
  11. Sort mail
  12. Sculpt with clay or playdough
  13. Complete a word search – My mom is beginning to find regular word search books difficult, so I make easy ones for her! I use large print and have all the words run in a readable direction. Here’s one I made her with a Halloween theme.This easy Halloween Word Search was designed especially for seniors with Alzheimer's.
  14. Make slime – My 9-year-old daughter is obsessed with making slime. I never dreamed my mom would enjoy the sticky, gooey stuff, but my daughter has her hooked on it! They make it together and create different colors and consistencies. They even name their creations! The ingredients needed for a basic slime recipe are things you probably have in your house right now: glue, borax or contact solution, and baking soda. But the fun really begins when you start adding all the extras like glitter, shaving cream, paint, clay, foam beads, and the list goes on and on. Check back here as my daughter is planning a slime-making tutorial for seniors that I’ll be posting soon.
  15. Go for a walk
  16. Work on easy crossword puzzles – I make crosswords for my mom with clues from things that happened in the 50’s or 60’s, stuff related to holidays, or people she knows well (close friends and family).  This is the stuff she still remembers. I have Christmas and Halloween themed crosswords available for download in my Resource Library for my caregiver community members. If you’d like to make personalized puzzles for your senior, see my post on how to easily make these puzzles here!
  17. Famous Duos game – We use famous pairs from my mom’s era as well as pairs my kids know so they can play together. Fred Astaire and …  Ginger Rogers, Adam and … Eve, Hansel and … Gretel, Beauty and … The Beast. Even when my kids aren’t around to play this with Mom, she still enjoys going through the deck and quizzing herself. See the Famous Duos post and get a free printable set of cards here!
  18. Go to the library and pick out books for the grandkids
  19. Play ring toss – We have a sturdy wooden ring toss set that works well indoors or out. I tell mom playing this is exercise.
  20. Go on a picnic
  21. Create a picture with stamps and an ink pad
  22. Create paper shapes with paper punches and colorful cardstock – I knew there was a reason I bought way too many paper punches over the last decade! Even if you don’t have a massive collection of paper punches, just a few can still make for a fun activity. Use them to make cards, artwork, holiday decorations, and placements.
  23. Color easy adult coloring pages – This sounds easy, right? Well, not so easy in my mom’s case. The adult coloring books, even the ones that say “easy”, are usually way too intricate for her. Also, she has gotten to a point where choosing which color to use for each part is a hard decision. It seems to paralyze her. I’ve found that if I offer her truly simple drawings that aren’t too juvenile, along with a sample colored picture so she doesn’t have to make the color choices, she will color for an hour or so. Coloring Page Resources – Beautiful coloring pages created especially for seniors living with dementia are available in my shop.  I also have a couple of free coloring pages available in my library to my newsletter subscribers. Easy adult coloring pages are a perfect Alzheimer's activity. #alzheimers #dementia
  24. Play with magnets – My mom enjoys THESE cube shaped magnets and will fiddle with them for 20 – 30 minutes at a time.
  25. Color or trace a map of their hometown – I print out maps of mom’s hometown from google maps. I choose a size that allows enough detail for familiar landmarks like churches, museums, post office, etc., to show up. She loves outlining and coloring these maps while reminiscing about her life there!
  26. Get a joke book and tell jokes
  27. Play Wii bowling
  28. Have Beauty Day – I don’t schedule this one too often because it’s time-consuming for me to execute. But when I do, it’s always a hit! We do manicures, makeup, and hairstyles. This is a fun one to do if you’re planning on going out to dinner.
  29. Paint with Q-tips
  30. Play dominos – My mom plays a solitaire version of this, and will sometimes do it for a couple of hours. I think there is something soothing about those smooth, cool tiles.
  31. Make sundaes
  32. Watch old movies – My mom is at a point where she has trouble following the plot and characters in movies, but she still enjoys musicals. We always make popcorn and turn down the lights. I find our movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos. Flixable.com is a super handy site to search Netflix. It lets you search by genre and year. Try choosing “classics” or “musicals”.
  33. Make door decorations
  34. Create DIY fridge magnets – This is the super popular fridge magnet craft you’ve seen on Pinterest, but this version is adapted for seniors living with dementia. Seriously, this craft is fail-proof and the results are stunning! Your senior will be proud of the product. I did this craft with Mom, and you can see our process and results at my DIY Fridge Magnet Craft for Seniors post here. DIY Fridge Magnet Craft Dementia Activity
  35. Play Connect Four
  36. Sing-along or karaoke – We like old-time favorites, patriotic songs, or classic hymns for this one. If you don’t have a karaoke machine, you can find these on YouTube. Make a playlist or use ours. 
  37. Paint rocks – Check Pinterest for tons of rock painting ideas.
  38. Stitch with lacing cards
  39. Clean out a junk drawer – This activity makes Mom feel useful and is a huge help to me.
  40. Play tic tac toe – Here’s another one where grandkids come in handy. We like to get creative with our X’s and O’s. We use skittles, legos, buttons, and even rocks we painted in another activity.
  41. Sort buttons, nuts, bolts, coins, socks, or silverware
  42. Play cornhole – I call this more exercise.Cornhole is a fun large motor activity for seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia.
  43. Blow bubbles with the grandkids or dogs
  44. Plant flowers or vegetables – If your loved one can still get around well enough to get out in the garden, definitely take advantage of that. My mom isn’t that steady anymore, so we do our planting in containers on an outdoor table. After they are planted, watering them turns into a daily activity. Senior planting flowers as an activity
  45. Solve pattern block puzzles – Mom has trouble with the sets with small pattern cards, like these.  She gets so confused! But I found THESE that come with puzzle piece sized pattern cards, and she can place the pieces directly on top of the card. She is successful with these!
  46. Explore busy boards with bolts, fasteners, latches, buttons, zippers, or snaps – Currently, I think my mom would think this was too juvenile, but it will probably be something I invest in when she progresses to a later Alzheimer’s stage.
  47. Fold towels, pillowcases, or socks – My mom isn’t too fond of this one, but I’ve heard from lots of caregivers that it works well for them.
  48. Go fishing
  49. String beads – Base the size of the string and beads on current fine motor skills.
  50. Make a collage from copies of old family photos
  51. Clip coupons – After clipping, sort them into categories. Here’s a link to the scissors Mom uses. They are bigger than the little kid scissors but smaller than adult scissors. They are sharp, so be careful. 
  52. Decorate for a holiday with window clings
  53. Wash eyeglasses
  54. Have a tea party for lunch – We pull out my mom’s vintage china and have tea with pinwheel sandwiches and cookies. Mom thinks they look fancy. I buy them ready made at the Kroger deli. After lunch, Mom hand washes the china.Tea parties can be a fun activity for seniors with Alzheimer's.
  55. Decorate homemade bookmarks with Washi Tape
  56. Play or call bingo – Mom has a group of seniors she plays this with. If you haven’t found a senior activity day for your loved one to participate in, make that a priority.
  57. Solve easy jigsaw puzzles
  58. Pop bubble wrap or stomp it to music
  59. Watch oldie video clips  – Mom loves Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and others. Make a YouTube playlist or use ours.
  60. Visit with pets – Live animals or robotic pets like THESE.
  61. Massage their hands
  62. Look at or read old magazines – I’ve found these reasonably priced on eBay.
  63. Visit with young children and teens
  64. Decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles
  65. Squeeze sensory balloons – Make these by filling an empty water bottle with flour, sugar, rice, or whatever you think will feel good. Partially blow up a balloon and put in on the mouth of the water bottle. Turn the bottle upside down, and the balloon fills with the bottle’s contents. Don’t use thin, cheap water balloons for this project. Ask me how I know.
  66. Create bubble art – Glue bubble wrap to a wooden block and stamp paint.
  67. Make bird feeders – Put peanut butter on pinecones, roll in birdseed, hang outside a window, and then watch the birds. Bird houses for dementia activity
  68. Make a scrapbook using photos from their lifeCreating and looking through scrapbooks is a great Alzheimer's activity.
  69. Build towers and pyramids with solo cups
  70. Have happy hour” with wine (or grape juice) and cheese – This is a fun one to combine with the karaoke and singalong activity.
  71. Play balloon ball – We haven’t tried this yet, but it looks fun. Hit large balloons around with a fly swatter or 1/3 of a pool noodle.
  72. Arrange flowers – This is fun with fresh and artificial flowers. I have several bags of artificial flowers and rotate them. Mom thinks she’s making a new arrangement every time.
  73. Try on wigs, scarves, old costume jewelry, and hats – We have a trunk with old hats and jewelry that belonged to my grandmother. We will “dress up”  and take pictures. I add a sepia tone filter to the photos for a vintage look. So much fun.
  74. Play complete the phrase with nursery rhymes or song lyrics
  75. Care for a lifelike baby doll – I know several ladies in the later stages who love their “babies” and enjoy taking care of them.
  76. Hit beachballs around with plastic bats
  77. Play the alphabet game – start with letter A and name an animal, city, or person’s name
  78. Bowl with lightweight bowling balls
  79. Play solitaire on a computer or tablet – Mom has enjoyed doing this for years, but it’s getting increasingly difficult for her. She’s forgetting how to find the game on the computer and gets confused easily with the game’s commands. I’m looking for a way to adapt this for her. Any ideas?
  80. Play Guess the Smell – Put things with familiar scents (coffee, cinnamon, baby powder, cat food)  in small paper bags.
  81. Practice chair yoga
  82. Peel hard-boiled eggs – Then make chicken salad.
  83. Have Game Day – Decorate with their favorite team’s colors, make snacks, and watch the game.
  84. Shell peanuts

Would you help me with additional ideas for this list? Leave a comment with an activity you’ve found enjoyable for your loved one.

Would you like to get a printable list of some of the most popular dementia activity ideas? You can find a copy in my Resource Library of senior-friendly activities and printables. The library is available free to members of our caregiver community!  If you aren’t already a member, you can subscribe by clicking the link below. 


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Dozens of activities for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimer's.
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Over 75 activities and crafts for Alzheimer's and dementia patients

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  1. I have made “solitaire” games by sticking 6-9 cards to poster board then using a separate deck to match to cards on board. Still feels like solitaire to my memory impaired residents

      1. I did this craft with my daughter and her Daisy Girl Scout Troop friends.We enjoyed it so much, we took it to my grandmother’s house and did it with her. She has Dementia, and she loves making these, she did 4-5 of them in one sitting in a. Afternoon. Zshe loved that I immediately tied then in her lower tree branches. We all enjoyed watching a couple of robins and a cardinal enjoying them too!


        1. Hi Ana,

          The bird feeder craft is a winner! My mom loves that we go out and tie them on a tree right away, too! The crafts that have a “use” after they are made are my mom’s favorites. I’d love to see pics of your completed feeders if you have any! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the great ideas. My mom enjoys making words with letter tiles. I give her a large handful of tiles from the banana gram game in the morning with her breakfast. She sits at the table for 1-2 hours making words.

    1. Hi Fran,
      I had to google the Banana Gram game. ? Found it, and the letters look like scrabble tiles! What a fabulous idea! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. Everyone in our family loves strawberries. Mom likes to feel useful so i buy them every single time i grocery shop and i give them to her with a bowl and she hulls them for me. We eat a lot of strawberries so it’s lucky we like them. Thank you for this list. Lots of ideas on here i will try.

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I absolutely love the strawberry activity! I’ll be buying some this week! I have 5 kids, and they can eat a lot of strawberries. ?


  4. For “wanderers” we found that aprons (either full or waist) covered with buttons, zippers, Velcro, bells, and plaited or knotted cord were much appreciated and can be adapted to a more masculine slant by adapting a men’s business shirt, complete with tie, linked at the back of the neck with Velcro

    1. Hi Roybn,

      I’ve seen “fidget” aprons before, but never one adapted for men! Thanks so much for sharing and for stopping by my blog!


  5. Good ideas. Have you tried jig saw puzzles? So many to choose from . You can pick one for the ability of the person, size ,numbers of pieces, etc.

    1. Hi Pat,

      Yes! Puzzles are great! I love making them from photos of things Mom knows well like her home and town. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!


  6. I work in adult day services. We have circles in a variety of colors and sizes, and when our dementia client becomes anxious, usually near the end of the client’s day, I will sit with the client and we sort the circles – either by size or by color. It helps to calm our client, and helps pass the time until the client is picked up.

    Thank you for sharing this list! There are many ideas that will be useful for our clientele.

  7. I find microwave mug cakes are great. You don’t need to be too accurate with the ingredients and they are cooked quickly so our residents are more likely to remember they made them. Also you can get plain mugs and decorate the mug with Sharpies first.

    1. Hi Anne! What a great idea! Can sharpie mugs go through the dishwasher? I’d love to see some of your residents’ creations. Thanks so much for visiting my site!

  8. My sister has Alzheimer’s and I gave her a reversible sequin pillow. She loved pushing the design back and forth. She also loves the robotic cat. They are $$ (about $99) but they are cat size, meow, roll, and purr. She thinks it’s her old cat. I made her a figet quilt. Not sure how that is going over. I found it wadded up in her desk but she likes it if you get it out.

    1. Hi Jane,
      Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! The reversible sequin pillow is brilliant! And I’ve been wondering about those robotic pets. Good to know it’s been a success for your sister. Thanks again for commenting!

  9. Thank you for your ideas! Dollar stores are a great place for ideas as well. I purchased several sets of salt shakers and a funnel. My mom loves to help fill them. We have made bead bracelets for gifts, and sorted baby socks, silverware, and Band-Aids (by size).

  10. I buy grapes when I go to the supermarket and I have mom pull all the grapes off of the stems and place the grapes into ziplock bags so they are ready to eat when we want a snack. She feels like she has done something to help me and I know she has had a healthy snack when she says she is not hungry because I catch her eating some of them as she is preparing them for us

    1. Hi Evelyn,

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog! My mom still wants everything she does to have “purpose”, so preparing grapes is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Thank you so much for these ideas! I’ve done quite of few of them with my residents before and they loved it. I’m excited to try some of the ones you suggested! thanks for your ideas and input!!

  12. I volunteer on an Alzheimer’s unit. I often play UNO with them. I’ve adapted it so all they have to focus on is colors & numbers. Some of my folks have to be given a choice & some urging, but they all love playing. Your ideas are wonderful & I’ll use some of them in the future.

  13. This is such an amazing list of activities…the best I’ve seen. I’m an outreach librarian, and have recently started doing programs at some of the assisted living centers and nursing homes that I frequent. I can’t wait to incorporate some of these ideas. Thank you!!

  14. I recently took my mother to a new primary care physician that only treats seniors. It was a great visit! The dr recommended giving my mother laundry to fold when she wants to it was a great idea for distraction! I wait until after dinner to give her the laundry so we don’t have so many reparative questions and it keeps her calm for a little while. When she runs out of fresh laundry I dump towels and things unfolded for her to fold.?

    1. I purchased about $20 worth of baby socks and a cute little white basket that resembles a laundry basket. My mother loves matching up the different baby socks. The Dollar Tree sells the socks 2 for $1.

  15. Fantastic list! I’m an aide for a 93 year old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t speak or walk and divides her time between bed and recliner. Two years ago, she enjoyed putting rubber ducks and frogs into a small swing lidded trash receptacle and stacking or lining up big foam dice (all of which I purchased at Dollar Tree). While no longer able to do these things, she likes holding the dice. Recently I crocheted covers for her used foam manicure blocks and they’ve been a big hit. She’ll hold one in each hand for hours and even sometimes through the night.

  16. THanksso much for sharing. I am racking my brain trying to find tings to do with my mother (Over skype.) Some of these will also work on skype. I have also tried Mad libs. And see how many words we can find within a word ,We used “friendship”. It held her attention for alomost half an hour. (she is in the ealry middle stage of ALZ).

    1. Hi Dale,
      I bet activities over Skype are a challenge. My mom is in the middle stages as well and keeping her busy keeps me busy. So I know your struggle well. Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions! ❤️

  17. My mom likes to keep busy. I am a teacher so I bring home learning material that has been laminated at school for Mom to cut. It saves time for other teachers and makes Mom feel like she is doing something productive.

  18. my mother-in-law has enjoyed these two activities:
    1) rag garlands from torn strips of fabric. She is not able to do the ripping, but others may be able to do this step also. I tie a cord between the handles of her walker and she ties the strips on! It can be a random pattern or could be more challenging if they try a pattern. We are making some for the different seasons and holidays, so its an on-going craft.
    2) ‘organizing’ her stash of yarn (she was an avid crochet-er) by rolling the skeins into balls. I usually get a small ball started, but then she can just roll, and roll. It seems to calm her when she is anxious. For Christmas we made ‘snowballs’ by rolling white yarns in different textures. We also felted some wool yarn balls that she rolled and made dryer balls. The snowballs and dryer balls were given as Christmas gifts and she felt proud to have made them.

  19. Hello I work for a care home in scotland. My job is a passenger assistant. I along with the driver have developed our job into just more than just a drive with residents on board. On fine days We offer residents the chance to do some outside painting as we have table top easels and paints stored on the bus also we run a photography club on the bus, taking residents to various beauty spots etc. We have done many a unique activity with the residents on the bus for instance held a tropical day complete with mocktails, garlands, and Hawaiian shirts for every resident. We also have introduced sensory trips for individuals who may not like mixing in groups or they may not have any visitors or may have any other reason why they would have a need for a one to one sensory trip. We have had great success with these trips – which can last from as little as 10 minutes to a good couple of hours. All depending on the person.
    There have been times when a resident has been unsettled and they have had the opportunity to go out for a drive. Because it is totally person centred the resident has returned calmer and comments have been made from the carers that they can’t believe the difference in the person.
    I love my job as does the colleague I work with and we know that we make a difference and have never heard of any other care provider to allocate the use of their mini buses to be used in this way..

    1. Thank you for this amazing list of activities. I will try to use some with a friend who has DLB. I work in the servery at an aged care facility where they had a box of different sized clean bandages they would give to the resident living with dementia who would enjoy rolling them up. I’m working on adapting that for my friend by getting her to roll them up, put in medium sized snaplock bag, add bandage clips and bandaids and seal them up, put in a box ready for someone to “pick up and deliver” then empty and unroll for another day. I also like the jigsaw puzzle idea, but I will print things she had as a child from the 1940s as pictures, maybe limit to 8 jigsaw pieces and laminate. Thanks for the inspiration!

      1. Hi Elizabeth, I love bandage rolling and sorting as an activity! What a great idea! I love activities with a purpose! Thanks so much for sharing. ❤️

  20. We are caring for my grandmother. We play old maid and go fish. She likes to go visit and watch us work in her flower bed. We have tried several other list mentioned items but are excited to add some we have not tried. Thanks for the help.

  21. We are going to put together some store bought gingerbread houses (or you can make your own with graham crackers and thick powdered sugar icing) then make a family activity out of decorating them with my Mom who has dementia

  22. I like this article very much. Thanks for all the suggestions. I have used some of your ideas with my mother like the fly swap and balloon game, memory game cards, rock painting, handmade post cards and others. Something that is working great with my mom in her early to mid stage is creating stuff with paper mache. I’ve been encouraging her to make step by step a small ‘greek column’ planter base with the mix. And she is working on it! Also we have done beads bracelets for both girls and women and she loved it. She actually sent them as gifts to her friends with some thank you cards written by herself. Another project, I did cut different colored foam pieces from the dollar store into different small pieces and let her choose a picture that she liked to make it with the pieces and she amazed me when made this amazing creation full of details. Acrylic painting is been another tool.

    1. Use ping pong paddles for your “balloon tennis ” games. easier to hold and less length to worry about.
      The Missing game: put 5-6 items on a tray.[ keys, a spoon, button, pen. etc.]. Let the senior examine them closely; cover them and remove one …guess which one was removed. This is good for short term memory stimulation [also good for kids!]

  23. My mother-in-law likes to do things that maker her feel useful such as folding laundry, peeling potatoes, sorting beans. Thank you for additional ideas in the list and the comments.

  24. Wonderful ideas! Thank you so much, Anne! I do crafts at my mom’s Assisted Living each month. I find so many ideas on Pinterest. I often adapt them so the residents are able to feel successful. For example, we will be making fall pumpkins out of toilet paper rolls and colorful fabric. For some, I will have the 18 inch fabric square already cut out and others can cut their fabric if they’d prefer. The stems will be cinnamon sticks tied with a ribbon. Again, some of my materials will be prepared and some not. This allows for differentiating the needs and abilities of each resident. I also bring a patient and loving friend who can assist. We often end the crafts with frosting cookies to take back to their rooms. The key as mentioned above is to respectfully gauge and respond to each person individually.

    Linda McCabe

  25. Very helpful list of activities! My mom enjoys helping with meal prep. She was always such a good cook but can no longer, due to Alzheimers, be independent at all in the kitchen. I found plastic serrated safety knives used to teach kids as young as 4, with supervision, and they work great! ( They can be found on Amazon.) Some experimentation was needed on my part first to ensure I didn’t set her to a task that didn’t work well for the knives but worth the effort to get her back in the kitchen. Mom also loves to help “bake”. I have her stir while I add each ingredient. She keeps an eye on the bananas for ripeness so we can make banana bread together. The little extra time to have her help is worth it for the satisfaction Mom gets from helping!

  26. Thanks for these ideas! We have done some and are looking forward to some of your suggestions, like sorting all the nuts and bolts we have gathered in a tin can in the garage. She loves to sort things and fold laundry. Once I even ran into the bathroom and pulled out a dozen folded towels, and folded them, and piled them on the couch for her when she needed some thing to distract her, lol. I’ve taken fabric that I’ve torn into strips and she has rolled them up for me to use as ties in the garden. She would even pull all that little threads off the edges.

  27. Thanks for the great ideas! We used to do colouring books together (mum, my kids and I). Mum used to always use one colour (even when suggested to change) so that was interesting to read about the colour choice being a struggle. Now we tend to listen to music together. We used to dance around the kitchen but more sitting down dancing now with mum leading the dance moves and we follow her. This weekend I am planning on us decorating some shop bought biscuits with icing and sweets. Mum loves to wash up although doesn’t like the washing liquid so I’ll often pop them in the dishwasher later too.

  28. These are such great ideas! Another helpful tip is to keep a journal to record what worked well and what didn’t, the time of day and any other surrounding circumstances.

  29. This has been the most helpful list I have come across to use with my mom who has advanced dementia and her mates in her nursing home. I get old magazines, and catalogs to let them talk about their younger years and fashion likes. I just got a few Bridal ones so when I visit again, I will try that on the ladies. Calendars of pets and nature are also fun to look at together.

    I had some success with bringing an assortment of smaller fabric swatches and ribbons that we all fondled (lots of different textures and colors) and compared, then dressed up some small dolls. We talked about old sewing days together.

    I am bringing my collection of shells for one of my other visits, (I fly down to Florida once a month) and we’ll talk about beach visits and other great vacations. I have a few smaller beach balls to bat around..

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