Fun things to Do with Dementia Patients - Wisteria Care Homes
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Fun Things to Do with Dementia Patients

If you know someone who is living with dementia, then finding engaging and enjoyable things to do can make all the difference to that person’s quality of life. Helping to stimulate the mind, boost mood and morale, and foster deeper connections with loved ones, fun activities have a vital role to play. 

If you are looking for some safe, interesting, and fun things to do with dementia patients, here are some fun and therapeutic ways to bring joy and comfort to each day. 

Social Activities 

As with everyone, social interaction plays a crucial role in the lives of those living with dementia. Helping to maintain cognitive and emotional well-being, regular social activities can offer a wealth of benefits. When tailored to individual requirements, these benefits can range from reducing feelings of isolation and depression to granting a revived sense of purpose, connection and fulfilment.  

If you are considering where to go, you may be able to look towards your local community. Many venues offer dementia-friendly sessions suitable for patients and their caregivers, for example local pools, cafés and even walking groups. When run by professionals, these environments are designed to be supportive and understanding of unique needs, providing a safe and inspiring space.

A great way to meet new people and engage in stimulating conversations, social activities can also include trips to bingo, craft classes, and coffee mornings.  

Creative Activities 

Creative activities provide incredibly fun things to do with dementia patients. Cathartic and creative, these activities offer a means of expression and a creative outlet, as well as an opportunity to tap into artistic talent. Both absorbing and inspiring, they can also provide a good way to practice skills and maintain dexterity.

Something that can be enjoyed anywhere, simple arts and crafts activities can be both relaxing and stimulating. These can include things like painting, drawing, and making collages to express emotions and share memories. Many organisations offer guided sessions specifically designed for dementia patients. 

Another type of creativity activity, listening to music, especially childhood tunes and favourite songs, can evoke positive memories and emotions. Music therapy can also be a powerful tool for regulating moods and reducing anxiety too. For something to do together, encourage sing-alongs or even gentle dancing if possible. Writing poetry can also be a really soothing and enjoyable pastime, serving as a way to both reminisce about past experiences. Alternatively, listening to stories encourages an absorbing way to stay rooted in the moment. 

Sensory Activities 

If you are considering fun things to do with dementia patients, then sensory activities can help encourage connections with the environment and stimulate the senses. Particularly comforting and grounding, these are especially positive when enjoyed outside and combined with the added benefits of fresh air and sunshine.

Delightful places to visit, sensory gardens are designed to engage all the senses and are usually home to a variety of plants with an array of textures, colours and scents. Similarly, woodland walks can offer a peaceful retreat and the chance to enjoy nature. 
To head to the right place, look out for parks or nature reserves that offer accessible trails for those with mobility issues.

If you don’t want to venture far, simply sitting outside and listening to the sounds of nature can be just as relaxing for those with dementia. In a peaceful location, the heightened sounds of birdsong, rustling leaves, and buzzing bees can exude a real sense of calm. Of course, if it is raining, you can also visit dedicated indoor spaces with sensory equipment, sounds and decorations. 

Reminiscence Activities 

Reminiscence activities, or reminiscence therapy, can be a wonderfully fun thing to do with those living with dementia. Helping to recall and share past experiences, it involves discussing events and experiences from their life and aims to conjure old memories, encourage gentle mental activity, and improve overall well-being and sense of self.

Aimed to be both comforting and enjoyable, these activities can be aided by personalised props such as videos, music, old photographs, memory boxes and familiar keepsakes that hold particular meaning. 
For an introduction to reminiscence activities, looking through old pictures, photo albums and letters can provide a wonderful window into the past.

Discussing the memories that come to mind with each one can be both soothing and reassuring, and also help dementia patients feel more connected to their history and identity. That said, try to avoid asserting any pressure if the memories don’t come flooding back. Another soul-stirring activity, listening to old music can resonate on a deeper level and evoke powerful, moving feelings. Create a playlist of favourite songs and listen together for an enriching, inspiring experience. 

Physical Activities 

One of the best things to do for those living with dementia is maintaining tailored physical activity. This is important not only for maintaining general health, but it can also be an important source of fun and enjoyment. If you would like to think of some fun things to do with dementia patients, consider gentle exercise classes.

Many community centres host bespoke classes for seniors and those with dementia that promote movement. These can include activities such as chair yoga, tai chi, and light stretching, great for boosting endorphins and improving flexibility. 

Depending on individual needs, then there are lots of other physical activities that can be explored. For example, gardening can be an especially therapeutic activity that calls upon ingrained reflexes and knowledge. Be it planting seeds, weeding or watering plants, gentle gardening tasks can be really rewarding, create a sense of purpose and encourage time in nature.  

Top Tips  

When planning fun things to do with dementia patients, it’s important to consider their individual needs, preferences and capabilities. For the best time, try and focus on overall enjoyment rather than achievement, and celebrate engagement and interaction rather than perfection. Everyone’s cup is measured differently, and even small gestures and moments can make a huge difference to how someone feels.  

Always be patient and flexible and be mindful that your loved one’s energy and ability to engage may fluctuate from day to day. Being able to adapt activities will make all the difference to enjoyment. Of course, it’s also really important to ensure that you can experience your moments together in a safe environment. Remove any potential hazards and provide plenty of support so that you both feel safe, comfortable and happy.  

 

If you find you need extra help and support, at Wisteria Care Home we nurture a safe, welcoming and comfortable home for those living with dementia. Rated CQC Outstanding, we specialise in providing the highest quality for those in need.