Sudoku, sewing, gardening, or something completely different — finding the best activities for Alzheimer’s patients at home is important if a loved one has a memory illness. While truly meaningful activities for dementia patients can be tough to find, they are out there, and worth hunting for!
Having mentally and emotionally appropriate and stimulating activities is crucial for two reasons. One, it can be fun— and two, it may slow the progress of memory illnesses. Since planning activities for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients is a part of our memory care services, we have compiled dozens of tried-and-true ideas you can use today.
Even better, all of these activities are inexpensive, uncomplicated, and can be done right at home. Check out our list of 15 great activities for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients at home.
Recommended Activities for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients at Home
The best activities for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are ones that are mentally engaging without being overwhelming or stressful. If the activities have a calming physical component to them, that’s even better.
Since every person and every memory care patient is different, the activities they respond to will be different as well. Generally, the things a person enjoyed before will be a guide for what they may enjoy now. Scientifically speaking, this is a result of the long-term memories being less affected by memory illnesses than short-term memories, but practically speaking, people just like what they like — regardless of their illness.
15 Great Activities for Dementia or Alzheimer’s Patients at Home
- Listen to music – A universally soothing activity, listening to music from their past will help them remember the good times associated with the music. Not sure how music ties into memory? Just think – do you remember how you learned the alphabet?
- Play music – Just because someone is a memory patient doesn’t mean they need to surrender the things they love most. Playing a musical instrument or singing is a great activity for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients to stimulate a part of their memory in a laid-back way.
- Do a puzzle – Our caregivers often recommend putting together jigsaw puzzles as a way to reinforce problem-solving skills.
- Crosswords – If you’re planning activities for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, including a daily crossword puzzle can be a great addition to your routine. Crosswords are a low-stress workout for your memory and problem-solving skills.
- Sudoku – If your patient or loved one is more mathematically inclined, this popular puzzle might be perfect for them.
- Reading stories – Reading is light exercise for your brain and your imagination, so it’s a perfect activity for an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient to do at home. Fiction or non-fiction, short stories tend to be better than long books, and our caretakers often say that stories that relate to their past are a great way to use their long-term memory.
- Watching movies – Again, keeping the entertainment related to their past can be a great way to keep them engaged and remembering.
- Counting coins — If you prefer the Coinstar, you’re missing out on a soothing yet mentally-stimulating activity. Counting and wrapping coins by hand is a great activity for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients.
- Cleaning/chores – Everyone wants to feel productive from time-to-time. Doing light chores to keep up the household can help memory care patients retain some of their life skills – even if they do have an in-home caregiver.
- Cooking/preparing food – Working with a caregiver to prepare a meal allows the patient to feel confident and accomplished while following a recipe. You just might want to handle or supervise anything that involves the stove.
- Name the presidents – These simple mental calisthenics keep the memory nimble and provide the patient a great opportunity to reminisce.
- Taking a walk – Provided that they are physically able, going for a leisurely walk is a great way to think about directions and places. Be careful, however, not to walk too far lest your loved one becomes confused.
- Gardening – Another meaningful activity for dementia patients, gardening, whether in a window box or in a flowerbed, is a great way to pass the time. Plus, the caregiver and patient alike will love seeing the fruit (maybe literally) of their labors.
- Sewing – Sewing is a relaxing tactile sensation that ties in with planning and creativity. Whether you give it your full attention or enjoy it while watching TV, it’s a great choice.
- Free Cell or Solitaire on the computer – The simple and easy games that come standard on almost every computer requires just enough problem-solving to be helpful but not frustrating.
Once again, though, when you work with people, you learn there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. If your patient or loved one seems agitated or upset with an activity, move on — even if it seems to make logical sense to keep doing the activity.
How to Bring A Memory Caregiver into the Home
Whether you have a daily role in your loved one’s care or not, introducing a professional memory caregiver is a great way to ensure they are always receiving the best care and attention. Effective memory care is crucial to keeping your loved ones safe and comfortable.
Introducing the caregiver to an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient can require some delicacy. Because of this, it is best to work with a caregiver that has years of experience in these circumstances.
Since sudden exposure to this new person can be frightening or off-putting for the individual, many families choose to introduce the caregiver as a friend. In order to minimize stress, it is best to maintain a consistent schedule with the same caregiver. Limiting caregivers is crucial to avoid confusion, stress, and frustration. That’s another reason that partnering with By Your Side Home Care makes sense — you can count on having guaranteed reliable service with the same trusted caregiver for years.
In some situations, live-in care is the best option — that’s another service that we offer at a reasonable price.
Memory Care from By Your Side Care
Ready to start the conversation about memory care for your loved ones? By Your Side Home Care can be a resource.
We have years of experience helping to make difficult situations easier with our guidance and through our compassionate and experienced in-home caregivers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you don’t need to go it alone.