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Home > Dementia Activities

Dementia Activities

Activities are Life for Dementia Patients

Activity is "doing things". Not just an entertainment or event, but all moments and tasks of everyday life. Patients living with Alzheimer's, or other dementia, have difficulty with daily life activities due to the changes in the brain and are at risk of becoming inactive. Despite the challenges, patients with dementia continue to have the need to participate in activities...to do things...but with adapted dementia activity products and the support of caregivers using dementia care techniques.

Choosing Appropriate Alzheimer Activities in Dementia Care

There are many things to consider when choosing the appropriate activity for the person with dementia, such as the stage of dementia, the interests and background of the person, an activity done alone or with others, and more.  Also, there are different types of Alzheimer activities that can be successful for the person:

  Choosing Activities by Stages of Dementia or 'Activity Level'

High Activity Level

Early Stage Dementia

Middle Activity Level

Middle Stage Dementia

Low Activity Level

Late Stage Dementia

Dresses self with occasional errors; needs help with details

Dresses with help for the basic steps and details

Needs physical help with all the steps

Understands the goal of the task; uses what is seen as cues for what to do

Doesn't understand the goal but has some awareness of task steps

Doesn't understand the purpose or task steps

Needs periodic cueing

Needs step by step cuing

Caregiver physical assist; hand over hand

Basic games:  Rainbow BingoWord Searches, 26-piece  Puzzles, Adult Coloring Book, Memory Books, Spiritual Books

Match, sort, 1-step tasks:  Rainbow Bingo, Look and Lace Cards, 12-piece Puzzles, Chat Cards, Memory Books, Adult Coloring Book, Spiritual Book

Repetive and sensory experiences: Look and Lace Cards, Chat Cards, Memory Books, Spiritual Book

"I love how the MindStart activity products can be used for all levels of dementia.  It's great to have products that can be adapted to meet the needs  of participants as their cognitive level declines so they can continue to be involved in meaningful activities, with feelings of independence, success, and pride for what they have accomplished."
- Katie, Occupational Therapist

Life History of the Patient

Long-term memories and procedural memories (things that we have done many times over in our life, such as washing a plate) are preserved longer in the Alzheimer's disease process.  So it is important to consider the dementia patient's past history when choosing activities, including:
  • Former hobbies and interests
  • Jobs held in the past
  • Roles of the person played, such as a mother, a volunteer, or a church attendee
However, new activities are often enjoyed by people with dementia, so be open to new possibilities, as well.

Types of Activities for Alzheimer Patients

A patient with mild cognitive impairment or beginning early stage Alzheimer's can keep doing the activities of their normal daily routine, with occasional help.  However, as the person has difficulty with their daily routine, or everyday tasks, they may become more inactive unless supported by the caregiver to keep active and engaged.  Consider these different types of daily tasks that can be incorporated into the daily routine of their Alzheimer care