Joyful elderly woman with headphones representing engaging activities from '101 Things to Do with Dementia Patients'

Summary:
Looking for meaningful ways to improve the life of someone with dementia? In this article we’ll walk you through a list of 101 things to do with dementia patients. We go beyond just activities, highlighting groundbreaking programs like the Voise Foundation’s VST Music© Therapy and the art sensory videos of Artful Minds© on YouTube Channel – Dementia Media Hub by Voise Foundation, or @VFDementia. These aren’t just fun and games; they’re proven methods to boost emotional well-being, social interaction, and even tackle financial stress. 

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If you have a friend or loved one with dementia, you’re probably looking for ways to make their days better. Finding the right activities or things to do with dementia patients can make a big difference in their happiness and mental health. The best activities should:

  1. Make them feel happy and enjoy their time.
  2. Help them feel connected to the world around them.
  3. Allow them to maintain some sense of personal independence.

These meaningful experiences can usually be grouped into four categories: daily tasks, fun and recreational activities, social interactions, and work-like tasks. That’s why our article focuses on offering a comprehensive list of 101 things to do with dementia patients, aiming to provide activities that meet these core needs for each stage of dementia.

Things to do with dementia patients - A happy elderly couple

Daily Tasks

To find some inspiration for meaningful activities you must consider the fact that many dementia patients have the desire to stay involved in normal “daily life” activities. They want to do everything they can as long as they can.

Important tasks are household chores, which are extremely important to dementia patients in their everyday live. When asked about how they spend their day, some participants spoke with considerable enthusiasm about making their bed, helping prepare meals and washing dishes, ironing clothes, vacuuming, yard work, and running errands. 

Of course, this cannot always easily be done alone. In this case the activities can be done together with family members.

Drying the dishes while the other ones washing or doing the grocery shopping together. When a meal can’t be longer prepared, they might cut the vegetables, if they could not sort the laundry, they might still move clothes from the washer to the dryer. It is also possible to create notes for the person that they can rely on, so they know what must be done when and where.

However, it is important to know that many patients never want to give up these kinds of activities. They rather emphasized how much it mattered to them to be able to continue doing them, even if they had to tackle the activities differently than before.

Leisure and Recreational Activities

Some meaningful activities also include leisure and recreational activities. The dementia patients want to continue to engage in their hobbies such as handicrafts, playing piano, stamp collecting, crossword puzzles, or going for long walks. For many affected people it is important to be doing all the things they did before their diagnosis. Even picking up new activities can be seen across some people.

Even with lower levels of participation than in the past, which may be noted by close relatives, dementia patients do not usually feel that they are severely limited in their leisure and recreational activities. 

There are many solitary activities or activities with loved ones and the family that many dementia patients like to do. Activities should, of course, be tailored to the person and he or she should enjoy them. Examples could be visiting a live show or going out to the movies with friends or family members. Even for travel enthusiasts it is possible to find some local places, not so far away, which can be visited with the family.

Things to do with dementia patients - Enjoying Life

Social Interactions

Even though social interactions and activities were important for many dementia patients, it is not always to the extend their families expect it to be. For example, in a study one daughter made sure to get her mother out to church every week since she was feeling that the social contact was important. On the day the mother spoke to the researcher however, she seemed not interested or engaged, nor did she ever speak of this as an important activity in her life.  This of course does vary from person to person, and it is important to firstly listen to the affected person first and get to know what and how he or she is feeling.

Others continued to visit their friends; this however was happening less often since they often expressed a certain discomfort with these activities. This sometimes was due to their lack of ease with conversation, sometimes because as the activities that had drawn them together like playing cards or golfing etc. were no longer possible. 

Social interactions which are particularly meaningful were interactions with other people affected by dementia through support groups or day centers, and of course also their continued contact with family members. 

By taking part in family activities like talking on the phone with children and grandchildren or simply by spending time with one another, people appreciated being around those they loved, and who love them.

Work-Related Activities

For the most dementia patients work-related activities may not be that important due to retirement from paid employment. However, for some these kinds of activities are still the most meaningful ones. For example, former musicians might keep aspects of music in their life as it is most important for them.

Engaging individuals with dementia in meaningful activities is essential for their well-being. These activities can provide them with a sense of accomplishment, pleasure, and connection to the world around them. Here are some suggestions for enjoyable and fulfilling activities for dementia patients:

Memory Boxes: Creating a memory box can be a beautiful activity for a person with dementia. Fill the box with items that hold significant memories, such as photos, keepsakes, letters, or small trinkets. Going through the box together can stimulate reminiscence and conversation.

Listening to Music: Music has a profound connection to personal memories. Creating a playlist of their favorite songs from the past can bring joy and potentially evoke cherished memories.

Art and Crafts: Painting, drawing, and other crafts can provide a creative outlet and a sense of accomplishment. This can be as simple as coloring or as complex as a painting or knitting project, depending on the person’s ability level.

Gardening: If they enjoyed gardening in the past, spending time outdoors and taking care of plants can be very therapeutic. If mobility is a concern, consider setting up a small container garden that can be easily managed.

Walking or Light Exercise: Gentle physical activity, like walking or light exercises, can improve mood and overall health. Always ensure the activity level is appropriate for their current health status.

Puzzles or Brain Games: Puzzles, board games, and card games can keep the mind active and engaged. Choose games that are appropriate for their cognitive level to avoid frustration.

Cooking and Baking: Simple cooking or baking activities can evoke memories and create a sense of achievement. Always ensure safety in the kitchen by supervising tasks involving heat or sharp tools.

Pet Therapy: If possible, spending time with a gentle and friendly pet can bring comfort and reduce stress and anxiety.

Reading and Storytelling: Reading books, newspapers, or magazines can be enjoyable for those who loved to read. Alternatively, you can read to them or engage them in storytelling based on pictures or prompts.

Watching Classic Movies or TV Shows: Watching old favorite films or TV shows can be a comforting and familiar activity.

It’s important to tailor activities to the individual’s personal interests, abilities, and the progression of their dementia. If an activity becomes too challenging or stressful, it’s okay to modify it or try something new. What matters most is that the activity brings them enjoyment and a sense of connection with the world around them. Always remember, the goal is not the perfect execution of the activity, but the process and the enjoyment it brings.

Things to do with dementia patients - Part 1 - Early Stage

Here is a list of 101 Things to Do with Dementia Patients.

Here are activities lists based on whether they are suitable for early-stage, mid-stage, or late-stage dementia.

Early-Stage Dementia:

1. Arts and Crafts Activities

  1. Painting – Engaging in painting activities can be incredibly therapeutic for individuals with dementia. Whether it’s watercolors, acrylics, or finger painting, the creative process allows patients to express themselves and tap into their imagination. Painting also fosters improved hand-eye coordination and cognitive functions, boosting their overall well-being.
  2. Coloring – Coloring is a calming and enjoyable activity that can provide immense benefits for dementia patients. By engaging in this simple yet stimulating task, patients can enhance their focus and concentration while also reducing stress levels. Additionally, coloring helps trigger memories of childhood and promotes a sense of nostalgia.
  3. Making greeting cards – Crafting personalized greeting cards brings numerous benefits to dementia patients. This simple activity fosters creativity and fine motor skills while providing a meaningful way to connect with loved ones. As patients create heartfelt messages and designs on each card, they feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment, boosting their self-esteem.
  4. Knitting – The rhythmic motion of knitting has proven to be highly therapeutic for individuals with dementia. This activity helps improve dexterity, coordination, and cognitive abilities such as problem-solving and memory retention.
  5. Scrapbooking – Engaging in scrapbooking activities allows dementia patients to reminisce about personal memories while exercising their cognitive functions. Sorting through materials, choosing what to include in the scrapbook, and writing captions all require cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and planning. These activities can help to slow the progression of dementia and keep the brain healthy.

2. Intellectual Stimulation

  1. Reading newspapers – Encouraging dementia patients to read newspapers not only keeps them informed about current events but also stimulates their cognitive abilities. This activity helps maintain language skills, promotes discussion, and improves memory recall as they engage with various topics and articles.
  2. Simple puzzles – Solving simple puzzles, such as jigsaw or matching games, can provide dementia patients with a sense of accomplishment and mental stimulation. These activities boost problem-solving skills, enhance hand-eye coordination, and can help improve concentration and focus.
  3. Trivia games – Engaging in trivia games is not only fun but also beneficial for individuals with dementia. Playing trivia games challenges their memory and reasoning abilities while providing social interaction and a sense of accomplishment when answering questions correctly. Trivia games also promote cognitive flexibility, as patients need to retrieve information from their long-term memory storage.
  4. Crossword puzzles – Crossword puzzles are a great way for dementia patients to exercise their minds and strengthen their vocabulary skills. These brain teasers encourage word retrieval, enhance problem-solving abilities, and promote mental agility.
  5. Sudoku – Sudoku puzzles offer an engaging way for dementia patients to sharpen their logical thinking skills while having fun. By filling in numbers in the grid strategically, patients can improve their concentration levels, memory retention, and enhance critical thinking ability.

3. Physical Activities for People with Dementia

  1. Walks in the park – Taking dementia patients for walks in the park provides both physical and mental stimulation. The fresh air, nature scenery, and gentle exercise help improve their mood, reduce anxiety, and increase mobility. Additionally, connecting with nature can evoke pleasant memories and promote a sense of calmness.
  2. Yoga – Introducing yoga to dementia patients offers numerous benefits such as improved flexibility, balance, and relaxation. Gentle yoga poses combined with deep breathing exercises promote mindfulness and reduce stress levels. In addition to the physical benefits, practicing yoga can enhance mental clarity and contribute to a sense of overall well-being.
  3. Dancing – Dancing is an enjoyable activity that stimulates both the mind and body of dementia patients. It helps improve coordination, balance, and muscle strength while uplifting their spirits through rhythmic movements and music. Dancing also facilitates social interaction, creating opportunities for engagement and meaningful connections.
  4. Swimming – Engaging in swimming activities can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dementia due to its low-impact nature. Water provides buoyancy that reduces joint strain while promoting cardiovascular health and muscular endurance. Swimming also offers sensory stimulation through water resistance and temperature changes, which can improve cognitive function.
  5. Gardening – Gardening provides dementia patients with sensory experiences that engage their senses of touch, smell, sight, and even taste if they cultivate edible plants. Planting seeds or tending to flowers promotes a sense of responsibility and accomplishment while encouraging physical activity like bending or digging. Connecting with nature through gardening is also known to have therapeutic effects by reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.

4. Music and Entertainment

  1. Attend concerts – Taking dementia patients to concerts offers a multi-sensory experience that can evoke emotions and memories. The live music, vibrant atmosphere, and social engagement can create a positive and engaging environment for them. It provides an opportunity for them to enjoy different genres of music, connect with others, and experience a sense of joy and belonging.
  2. Listen to music – Listening to music has been shown to have various benefits for dementia patients. It can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and stimulate memory recall. Playing familiar songs from their past can evoke nostalgia and create a sense of comfort. Music therapy has also been found to enhance cognitive function, increase social interaction, and promote relaxation.
  3. Playing musical instruments – Whether it’s playing the piano, guitar, or percussion instruments, this activity stimulates hand-eye coordination, enhances fine motor skills, and engages different parts of the brain. It provides an opportunity for them to engage in meaningful activities while enjoying the therapeutic effects of music.
  4. Karaoke – Karaoke sessions can be a fun way for dementia patients to participate in singing their favorite songs together with others. Singing helps improve breathing control, vocalization skills, and emotional expression.
  5. Watching movies – Watching movies can be a stimulating activity for dementia patients as it provides visual engagement, storytelling elements, and emotional connections. 

5. Social Engagement Activities

  1. Coffee dates – Going on coffee dates with dementia patients provides a social and stimulating environment for them. It offers an opportunity to engage in conversation, reminisce about memories, and connect with others. 
  2. Video calls with family – Keeping in touch with family members through video calls is especially important for dementia patients as it helps maintain connections and relationships. Seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar voices can evoke positive emotions, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide a sense of belonging. 
  3. Book clubs – Engaging in book clubs can be a valuable activity for dementia patients as it stimulates cognitive function, encourages social interaction, and promotes mental stimulation. Reading together or discussing books can spark conversations, improve mood, and enhance overall well-being.
  4. Community events – Participating in community events tailored for seniors or dementia patients can offer opportunities for engagement within the wider community. Attending local fairs, festivals, or cultural events allows them to connect with others in an inclusive setting while enjoying entertainment and activities suitable for their needs.
  5. Senior center activities – Senior centers often offer various activities specifically designed to meet the needs of older adults with dementia. These activities may include arts and crafts sessions, exercise classes catered to their abilities, music therapy sessions, or other engaging programs tailored to their interests. 
Things to do with dementia patients - Part 2

Mid-Stage Dementia:

6. Sensory Stimulation

  1. Aromatherapy – Incorporating aromatherapy into dementia activities can have a calming and soothing effect. The use of essential oils such as lavender or chamomile can help create a relaxing environment, enhance mood, and reduce anxiety.
  2. Tactile stimulation (e.g., textured fabrics) – Providing textured fabrics or objects for sensory exploration can engage the sense of touch and promote cognitive stimulation. Items like soft blankets, sensory balls, or textured crafts can bring tactile pleasure and encourage sensory experiences.
  3. Taste tests – Organizing taste tests with various foods or beverages allows dementia patients to engage their sense of taste and explore different flavors. This activity can spark memories, promote conversation, and stimulate their interest in food.
  4. Nature sounds – Playing nature sounds such as birds chirping or rain falling can create a soothing ambiance and help calm restless minds. 
  5. Viewing art – Encouraging dementia patients to view artwork, either at art galleries or through online platforms, can provide visual stimulation and ignite conversations about different pieces.

7. Memory and Reminiscence

  1. Looking at family photos – Looking through family photo albums or displaying framed pictures can help evoke memories and promote conversation. It allows dementia patients to connect with their pasts, reminisce about loved ones, and share stories. Further, it keeps their minds active.
  2. Creating a memory box – Encouraging the creation of a memory box filled with meaningful items can provide a sense of nostalgia and stimulate memories. This activity involves gathering items such as photographs, mementos, letters, or small trinkets that hold personal significance.
  3. Storytelling – Engaging dementia patients in storytelling activities can be both entertaining and therapeutic. It allows them to share their life experiences, recall events from the past, and exercise their imagination.
  4. Revisiting favorite places virtually – Using technology to virtually revisit familiar places or landmarks from the past can be an immersive experience for dementia patients. Through virtual reality or online platforms, they can explore destinations they once cherished, triggering positive emotions and inspiring conversation.
  5. Watching home videos – Watching home videos or recorded family gatherings can be a powerful way to engage individuals with dementia. It provides them with visual stimuli, sparks memories of important occasions, and fosters connections with loved ones.

8. Simplified Activities

  1. Sorting buttons – Engaging in simple tasks like sorting buttons can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It helps stimulate hand-eye coordination and offers an opportunity for tactile stimulation.
  2. Folding laundry – Folding laundry is a practical activity that engages both the mind and body. It promotes cognitive skills such as sequencing and categorizing, while also offering a familiar and comforting routine.
  3. Matching socks – Matching socks can be a fun and engaging activity for dementia patients. It involves visual perception, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. It also gives them a sense of satisfaction when they successfully match pairs of socks.
  4. Stirring batter for baking – Baking activities can be enjoyable and sensory-rich experiences. Stirring batter engages the senses of sight, smell, touch, and even taste. It allows dementia patients to participate in the process of creating something delicious while promoting dexterity and coordination.
  5. Simple gardening tasks – Gardening tasks such as watering plants or pulling weeds can provide a therapeutic experience for dementia patients. It offers physical activity, connection with nature, sensory stimulation through touch and smell, and a sense of responsibility for nurturing living things.

9. Pet Therapy

  1. Playing with pets – Interacting with pets can provide emotional support and companionship for dementia patients. Playing fetch, gentle petting, or simply observing their furry friends can bring joy and help reduce feelings of stress or agitation.
  2. Grooming a pet – Grooming activities such as brushing a pet’s fur or giving them a bath can be soothing for both the person with dementia and the pet. It promotes a sense of responsibility and can create a comforting routine.
  3. Watching fish in an aquarium – Observing fish swimming in an aquarium has a calming effect on individuals with dementia. The vibrant colors and rhythmic movements of the fish can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  4. Feeding birds – Feeding birds in a garden or setting up bird feeders can be an enjoyable activity for individuals with dementia. It connects them to nature, stimulates their senses through visual engagement, and provides opportunities for physical activity.
  5. Petting zoo visits – Visiting a petting zoo can be a memorable experience for individuals with dementia. They have the chance to interact with various gentle animals, feel their fur or feathers, and potentially trigger positive memories from their past experiences.

10. Mindfulness and Calm

  1. Deep breathing exercises – Deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being. Encouraging deep breaths in and out can provide a sense of calmness during moments of restlessness for those with dementia.
  2. Meditation – Practicing meditation techniques, such as guided visualization or mindfulness exercises, can help individuals with dementia find moments of peace and clarity. Simple meditations that focus on breath awareness or body scans can be adapted to their abilities.
  3. Nature walks – Taking short walks in natural surroundings or gardens can provide sensory stimulation, fresh air, and an opportunity to connect with the beauty of nature. It can enhance mood, reduce agitation, and encourage physical activity.
  4. Watching sunsets – Watching the sunset can be a serene and meaningful experience. Sitting in a comfortable spot outdoors or near a window with a view allows individuals with dementia to appreciate the changing colors of the sky while promoting relaxation and reflection.
  5. Listening to calming music – Playing soothing music or familiar songs tailored to the individual’s preferences can evoke positive emotions, stimulate memories, and create a tranquil atmosphere. Music has been shown to improve mood, reduce agitation, and enhance overall well-being for people with dementia.
Things to do with dementia patients - Part 3

Late-Stage Dementia:

11. Personal Care Activities

  1. Hand massages – Gently massaging the hands of individuals with dementia can provide a calming and therapeutic experience. The soothing touch helps reduce anxiety and promotes relaxation by easing muscle tension. 
  2. Gentle hair brushing – Gentle hair brushing not only helps maintain personal hygiene but also offers a comforting and familiar sensation for those with dementia. This activity can evoke memories associated with grooming rituals from their past, creating a sense of comfort and connection.
  3. Applying lotion – Applying lotion can be a nurturing experience for both the caregiver and the individual with dementia. It provides an opportunity for gentle touch, enhancing sensory perception and promoting tactile stimulation. The process also offers moisturizing benefits for dry skin, keeping it healthy and nourished.
  4. Warm baths – A warm bath can provide an incredibly relaxing experience for individuals with dementia while promoting personal hygiene. The warm water soothes both the body and mind, reducing agitation and anxiety often associated with the condition.
  5. Foot soaks – Foot soaks offer a therapeutic way to relax the body while focusing on care for feet – an often overlooked area in daily routine. Soaking feet in warm water infused with Epsom salt or essential oils can soothe tired muscles, ease discomfort, and promote better circulation in individuals with dementia.

12. Simple Physical Movement

  1. Gentle stretching – Engaging in gentle stretching exercises with dementia patients helps improve flexibility, maintain range of motion, and promote circulation. It can also be a calming activity that encourages a sense of physical well-being.
  2. Hand-eye coordination games – Playing hand-eye coordination games, such as tossing and catching a soft ball or playing simple puzzles, not only helps stimulate cognitive function but also improves motor skills and coordination for dementia patients. These activities can provide a fun way to engage with loved ones while promoting focus and concentration.
  3. Seated dancing – Seated dancing allows dementia patients to enjoy the benefits of dance in a safe and comfortable manner. By moving their bodies to music while seated, individuals can experience the joy of rhythmic movement, stimulation of the senses, and enhanced mood without the need for extensive physical exertion or balance.
  4. Balloon volleyball – Balloon volleyball is an engaging game that promotes social interaction, hand-eye coordination, and light physical activity for dementia patients. Playing with a lightweight balloon provides a low-impact way to encourage movement and participation in a fun group setting.
  5. Clapping to music – Clapping along to music is a simple yet effective way to engage dementia patients in rhythmical activities. This interactive activity stimulates both auditory and motor skills while providing enjoyment through familiar tunes.

13. Sensory Stimulation

  1. Listening to soothing sounds – Playing calming music or nature sounds can have a positive effect on dementia patients, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It can also evoke pleasant memories and facilitate emotional connection with loved ones.
  2. Smelling favorite scents – Engaging the sense of smell by offering familiar scents, such as lavender or freshly baked cookies, can trigger positive memories and emotions in dementia patients. Aromatherapy can help create a comforting environment and promote a sense of well-being.
  3. Tasting favorite foods – Offering familiar foods that are loved by dementia patients not only provides enjoyment but can also stimulate appetite and encourage proper nutrition. Taste is closely linked to memory, so serving cherished meals or snacks can evoke positive feelings and enhance the dining experience.
  4. Touching soft fabrics – Providing dementia patients with soft fabrics like plush blankets or stuffed animals offers a tactile sensory experience that promotes relaxation and comfort. The gentle touch of these materials can create feelings of security and reassurance.
  5. Watching simple visual stimuli – Presenting serene visuals, such as nature scenes or calming videos, can engage the attention of dementia patients while providing a source of visual stimulation. These simple visual stimuli can be soothing and help individuals feel calm and engaged in their surroundings.

14. Nostalgia and Comfort

  1. Listening to old songs – Playing familiar tunes from the past can evoke memories and emotions in dementia patients. Music has a powerful impact on the brain, helping to improve mood, reduce agitation, and promote relaxation. It can also encourage engagement and create opportunities for reminiscing.
  2. Holding a familiar object – Providing a familiar object, such as a cherished photograph or a treasured memento, can offer comfort and emotional connection for dementia patients. Holding onto something that holds sentimental value can provide reassurance and a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar environment.
  3. Wearing comfortable clothing – Choosing soft, non-restrictive clothing for dementia patients helps ensure their physical comfort throughout the day. Comfortable attire can minimize agitation caused by stiff or tight-fitting garments, allowing individuals to move with ease and maintain a sense of independence.
  4. Soft blankets – Wrapping dementia patients in soft blankets not only provides physical warmth but also gives them a feeling of security and comfort. The tactile sensation of a cozy blanket can help soothe anxiety or restlessness, promoting relaxation and improving overall well-being.
  5. Familiar movies – Watching familiar movies or beloved shows from the past can spark memories and increase engagement for dementia patients. This activity allows them to reminisce about favorite characters or storylines while providing entertainment and promoting social interaction with caregivers or loved ones.

15. Communication and Connection

  1. Holding hands – The simple act of holding hands can provide a sense of connection and support for dementia patients. It can help reduce feelings of anxiety and promote a sense of comfort and security.
  2. Simple eye contact – Making eye contact with dementia patients can help establish a meaningful connection and enhance communication. It shows attentiveness, respect, and helps to build trust between the caregiver and the patient.
  3. Humming a tune together – Humming a familiar tune together can be a soothing activity that promotes relaxation and positive emotions. It encourages engagement, stimulates memory recall, and provides an opportunity for shared enjoyment.
  4. Repeating comforting phrases – Using comforting phrases like “I’m here with you,” or “You’re safe” can bring reassurance and comfort to dementia patients. Repeating these phrases helps create a calm atmosphere, reduces agitation, and reinforces feelings of security.
  5. Smiles and facial expressions – A smile is a universal language that transcends words. Smiling at dementia patients helps foster a positive environment, creates a sense of warmth, and promotes emotional well-being. 

16. Nature and Outdoors

  1. Sitting in the garden – Spending time in a serene garden environment can have a calming effect on dementia patients. The fresh air, natural surroundings, and peaceful ambiance can contribute to their overall well-being.
  2. Feeling the sun – Exposing dementia patients to gentle sunlight, under appropriate supervision and while taking necessary precautions, can provide them with the warmth and vitamin D that sunlight offers. It can also enhance their mood and promote relaxation.
  3. Smelling flowers – The aroma of flowers has a powerful impact on our senses. Allowing dementia patients to smell different flowers can stimulate their olfactory system, evoke memories, improve mood, and create a sense of pleasure and engagement.
  4. Listening to birds – The melodious chirping of birds can be incredibly soothing for dementia patients. It provides a connection with nature and helps create a peaceful environment that promotes relaxation and sensory stimulation.
  5. Watching clouds – Gazing at clouds floating in the sky is not only visually appealing but also stimulates cognitive functions by encouraging observation skills. It sparks imagination, fosters a sense of wonder, and creates opportunities for conversation or reflection with dementia patients.

17. Nutrition and Hydration

  1. Tasting different fruits – Encourage your loved ones to try various fruits, discussing their flavors, textures, and colors. This activity promotes social interaction while stimulating taste buds and providing essential vitamins and nutrients.
  2. Sipping herbal teas – Herbal teas have soothing properties that can help promote relaxation and calmness in dementia patients. Introduce different flavors such as chamomile or peppermint tea.
  3. Flavored water – Jazz up regular water by infusing it with slices of fresh fruits like lemon, cucumber, or berries. Offering colorful flavored water helps encourage increased water intake in individuals with dementia who may struggle with dehydration due to memory challenges or difficulty recognizing thirst cues.
  4. Simple snacks – Prepare easy-to-eat snacks like finger sandwiches or bite-sized fruits that are visually appealing and enable independent eating. These snacks stimulate fine motor skills while providing nourishment throughout the day.
  5. Smoothies – Blending together favorite fruits, yogurt, and a dash of honey creates refreshing smoothies packed with nutrients that promote overall health. Engage your loved ones in selecting ingredients from a visual assortment, encouraging decision-making processes and involving them in the preparation.

18. Visual and Auditory Aids

  1. Picture books – Reading picture books can stimulate the imagination, ignite memories, and promote engagement. The vivid illustrations in these books can captivate individuals with dementia, providing a visual and literary experience that brings joy and nostalgia.
  2. Short poems – Sharing short poems or rhymes can evoke emotions, provide mental stimulation, and encourage reminiscing. Poems with simple language and familiar themes can be easy for individuals with dementia to follow along and find comfort in the rhythmic patterns.
  3. Simple phrases – Using simple and clear phrases when communicating with individuals with dementia helps to reduce confusion and enhance understanding. Short statements or questions that are easy to process can make interactions more meaningful and enjoyable.
  4. Nature documentaries – Watching nature documentaries can create a calming atmosphere while also providing visual stimulation. These documentaries showcase the beauty of nature, animals, and landscapes, promoting relaxation and offering an educational experience.
  5. Soft lighting – Creating a soothing environment with soft lighting can help individuals with dementia feel more comfortable, calm, and relaxed. Bright lights may cause agitation or confusion, so using dimmer lights or adding soft lampshades can contribute to a peaceful ambiance.

19. Emotional and Spiritual

  1. Simple prayers – The idea of engaging in prayer or saying simple blessings is to create a sense of peace and connection to something greater. It can provide comfort, solace, and an opportunity for spiritual reflection.
  2. Guided visualization – Guided visualization exercises involve imagining calm and serene scenes, such as a peaceful beach or a lush garden. These exercises promote relaxation, focus the mind, and allow individuals with dementia to escape into their into their inner sanctuary of tranquility.
  3. Saying “I love you” – Expressing love through words can bring immense joy and emotional connection. The act of saying “I love you” not only reassures a person with alzheimer’s but also reinforces feelings of belonging and significance.
  4. Light touch – Gentle touch, whether it’s holding hands or giving a comforting pat on the shoulder, can convey affection and care. Physical touch has been shown to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and create a sense of security.
  5. Presence and companionship – Simply being present with someone who has dementia is valuable. Offering companionship, listening attentively without judgment, and providing emotional support cultivates a sense of understanding and belonging.

20. Miscellaneous

  1. Breathing fresh air – Spending time in outdoor environments or opening windows to allow fresh air can have a rejuvenating effect. It can improve oxygen flow, promote relaxation, and provide a sense of peacefulness.
  2. Watching family members perform simple tasks – Observing familiar activities, such as cooking, gardening, or crafts, can provide comfort and engagement. It allows individuals with dementia to reminisce and feel connected to the present moment.
  3. Smiling at babies or young children – The innocence and joy of interacting with babies or young children can evoke positive emotions. Their playful nature and genuine smiles often elicit warm responses from individuals with dementia.
  4. Viewing a fish tank – Watching fish swim in an aquarium can be mesmerizing and therapeutic. The calming movements of fish and the visual stimulation they provide can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  5. Feeling different textures (e.g., cotton, silk) – Offering different textured materials like cotton or silk for individuals with dementia to touch can provide tactile stimulation. This sensory experience helps engage their sense of touch and enhance cognitive awareness.
  6. Being present – Encouraging individuals with dementia to be fully present in the moment is essential. Encourage them to focus on their immediate surroundings, engage in activities mindfully, and embrace the experiences happening around them. This practice fosters mindfulness and supports overall well-being.
101 Things to do with dementia patients

Dealing with dementia is more than navigating memory loss; it involves tackling emotional, social, and financial hurdles as well. Our list of 101 things to do with dementia patients aims to provide a holistic approach to dementia care, considering all these dimensions.

In the same vein, the Voise Foundation offers an expansive vision in their dementia initiatives, going beyond the conventional to offer multidimensional solutions that touch upon emotional well-being, social involvement, and financial considerations—areas often neglected in standard care approaches.

VST Music Therapy©: A Pioneering Approach to Dementia Care

One groundbreaking component of the Voise Foundation’s dementia strategies is their VST Music© Therapy program. This method has been proven to halve the rates of anxiety and depression in dementia patients. If you have perused our comprehensive list of 101 things to do with dementia patients, you’ll notice that music activities, particularly those involving specific frequencies like 40Hz and solfeggios, are a recurring theme. These are not merely for amusement but are scientifically grounded, offering tangible benefits in healing and spiritual upliftment.

Key Benefits:

  • Brainwave Entrainment: Similar to activities in our list, VST Music Therapy© boosts memory and cognition via the 40Hz frequency.
  • Neuroplasticity: The program encourages brain adaptability, providing an invaluable aid in facing dementia-related challenges.

Artful Minds©: Art that Stimulates and Connects

Another key element in the Voise Foundation’s portfolio is Artful Minds©, which is more than a collection of art; it’s a YouTube-hosted program offering sensory art videos. This aligns well with our suggestions around arts and crafts in our list of 101 things to do with dementia patients. Studies indicate that art-based activities can exponentially improve social interactions by as much as 70%, serving as a powerful emotional and social connector. Artful Minds© underlines this point, emphasizing the role of art in energizing and engaging dementia patients.

Key Benefits:

  • Cognitive Activation: Much like our sensory-based suggestions, Artful Minds© helps to stimulate memories and cognitive processes.
  • Communal Bonding: Aligning with the shared experiences we advocate, Artful Minds© encourages community interaction, strengthening bonds between caregivers and dementia patients.

Addressing Financial Strains

The cost of dementia care often looms large as a concern for many. While our list of 101 things to do with dementia patients aims for affordability, we recognize that financial constraints can be a barrier. The Voise Foundation is committed to finding solutions, and your generous donations enable them to continue this essential work.

In Conclusion

Both our list of 101 things to do with dementia patients and ground-breaking programs like VST Music© Therapy and Artful Minds© serve as transformative lifelines. They offer a multifaceted approach to dementia care, addressing not only medical but also emotional, social, and financial needs. Your ongoing support allows these invaluable efforts to continue enriching lives.

So whether you’re exploring the power of 40Hz frequencies or diving into the world of sensory art through Artful Minds©, remember that each activity, each therapy, and each contribution is a step forward in revolutionizing dementia care.

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Cherie Voise

Cherie Voise

Cherie Voise, inspired by personal experiences and driven by her role as an advocate, founded Voise Foundation to improve the lives of those with dementia. As the foundation's key content creator and blog author, she draws on her deep understanding of the disease, advocating for respect, dignity, and creative therapy avenues such as VST Music© and other programs. Cherie's heartfelt writings, fueled by empathy, resonate with readers, offering insight and stirring action. Become a part of this journey and together with Cherie, let's make a meaningful impact in the world of dementia care.