People have been painting on rocks for centuries. The painting base of rock is readily found and is affordable. And no 2 rocks are the same, so the outcome is very individual. The rock can be painted a solid color or with a design, making it an ideal therapeutic art activity that can be graded to the ability level of the person with Alzheimer's.
Painting Rock Alzheimer Activity
- Find a rock that is large enough to easily hold in the palm. Beaches and river beds are good places to look. Be sure to not take rocks from sites that do not allow it, such as national parks.
- Wash with soap and water, if needed. Scrub with an old toothbrush and dry off. The repetitive task of brushing and washing is especially good for the person in later stages of Alzheimer's.
- Use a brush that holds a lot of paint in the bristles for painting the whole rock or smaller brushes for detail work. If the person has difficulty holding the brush, look for a brush with a bigger handle or cut a slit into a tennis ball and insert the brush. The person now can hold the tennis ball "handle" to manipulate the brush.
- Acrylic paints work well for the painting rock activity. A few drops of water can be added to the paint if it is too thick. If you plan to place rocks outside, you can use an acrylic patio paint.
- Allow the person to paint as they like:
Painted Rock Activity by Stages of Alzheimer's:
- Those at earlier stages of dementia can do the activity with a sample to follow or verbal ideas. Example are painted rocks with polka dots, line designs, or simple insects such as a lady bug or butterfly.
- Those at later stages of dementia will need step by step directions; solid painting of the rock may be best but they may be able to add a few polka dots with cues and hand over hand assist as needed.