9 Engaging Activities for Low Vision Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Fun and meaningful activities improve sleep and reduce anxiety, agitation, and other challenging behaviors

Find activities that suit cognitive ability and level of vision

Activities help stimulate the mind and memory and keep older adults engaged and interested in life.

But finding no-fail activities for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and vision impairment can take a little extra creativity.

The goal is to help your older adult feel happily occupied and successful at an activity they enjoy. That’s why it’s important to find activities that work well for their current cognitive ability and level of vision.

Meaningful activities help reduce anxiety, agitation, and other challenging behaviors. They can also improve sleep by keeping the person more active and awake during the day.

To help you find a variety of fun activities for low vision seniors with dementia, we share 9 activity ideas with plenty of specific suggestions.


Customize for your older adult’s abilities and interests

It might take some trial and error to find activities that your older adult will like.

Use their previous preferences and interests as a guideline, but don’t be afraid to try things they weren’t interested in before – dementia can significantly change preferences.

Experiment with these ideas to find what suits your older adult best.

Use the suggestions as a starting point and customize as needed for their ability level and interests.

Remember that interests can change when someone has dementia, so don’t be afraid to try something again in the future to see if there might be a different reaction.


9 activities for low vision seniors with dementia

1. Music


2. Reading aloud, audiobooks, and radio shows

  • Hearing the newspaper, books, magazines, or even old letters read aloud is an enjoyable pastime for many older adults. Find things that capture their interest, but aren’t too complex to follow.
  • Reading aloud is a great way for visitors to interact with someone with dementia, especially children
  • Audiobooks allow your older adult to listen to almost any book they like. Borrow them from the local library, buy them from a retailer, use the free National Library Service home delivery, or find them online for free.
  • Sports fans may enjoy listening to sports games on the radio
  • Some older adults may enjoy listening to radio talk shows, spiritual broadcasts, science talks, and other such programs – many radio stations even make these programs available online for free.


3. Movement and exercise


4. Nature

  • Use a wheelchair for a walk outside to feel the sun and fresh air
  • Take them for a ride in the car and describe the passing scenery
  • Involve them in an indoor windowsill garden to the best of their ability – pressing dirt in a pot, measuring plant growth by feel, smelling herbs, or tasting the harvest (tomatoes, salad greens, herbs, etc.)


5. Videos and TV programs

  • Listen to musicals, operas, concerts, or other types of performances with music from TV, DVDs, YouTube, or on-demand streaming services
  • Listen to nature videos or shows – they usually describe the animals and narrate the action so it can still be an enjoyable experience even without the visuals


6. Household chores

Helping with household chores is a great way for someone with dementia and low vision to feel involved and important in the household.

  • Prepare fruit – use a safety knife to cut soft fruits or use fingers to break them into chunks or sections (like bananas, oranges, etc.)
  • Prepare veggies – snap beans, shell peas or beans, pull off stems, etc.
  • Help with ingredients – asking someone with low vision to dump ingredients into a large pot or bowl is a way for them to contribute to cooking or baking a dish
  • Fold laundry – especially smaller, more manageable items like hand towels or socks
  • Sort silverware – sort butter knives, forks, and spoons into their containers


7. Animal therapy

  • Holding or petting a well-behaved pet is a wonderful and calming activity


8. Arts, crafts, and tactile activities

  • Sculpture lets older adults express themselves creatively without needing to use their vision – use modeling clay or sculpting sand
  • Older adults with some vision might like making collages from magazine pictures or covering a plain box by gluing cut out images or colored paper
  • Some people with a little vision may also enjoy expressive painting (think broad strokes and abstract shapes) – use vivid colors against a contrasting background to make it easier to see
  • Many people enjoy smoothing out crumpled paper or tissue paper
  • Sorting is a wonderful activity that doesn’t require vision, just make the shapes different enough to be easy to distinguish – for example: a bag of mixed pasta shapes, coins, etc.
  • Fidget toys and other sensory toys are also satisfying and engaging activities


9. Adaptive (modified) games


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team


This article wasn’t sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. We never link to products or services for the sole purpose of making a commission. Recommendations are based on our honest opinions. For more information, see How We Make Money.


  • Reply July 25, 2021

    Karen Schultz

    Where are SOCIAL activities available. All of this seems quite boring fill in time for my mother of 92 who wants to be with people and her peers.

    Ahe wants to meet people, listen to their stories and tell hers.

    Can she spend part of her day visiting other Seniors? Where? She would volunteer her time to fill in lonely seniors long days.

  • Reply November 25, 2020


    Its very difficult for our mom who also has macular with dementia. She used to enjoy knitting, sewing, watching tv, gardening – all of which are gone now. She listens to audio books but so many have stories that cause her to imagine she is going thru that tradgedy or fear. She has been convinced my dad is cheating for over a year now (hes late 90’s!) Once they latch onto an idea there is no getting rid of it.
    Out of ideas since she is not to the point of activities for severely advanced alzheimers patients such as “busy work” activities. She would be offended….

  • Reply November 15, 2020

    Chris DeGraaff

    Here’s some more ideas that we have used with my Grandfather who is totally blind, hearing imparied (aides in ears) and has moderate dementia. A few activities we use is: Buy a large supply of the larger legos (for ages 2-3) and put them together in large blocks or different shapes… have them disassemble them for you break them apart. This can take about 20-30 minutes depending on speed and amoutn of legos. Also, we do a “clothespin” activity where we have him pin 100 clothespins onto a towel around the edges until they are all on the towel, then after another activity in between, we have him then take each one off and put them back in the box. Finally, we have an easter egg activity where we put in pennies/coins in there for him to take out and sort into a bin of empty eggs and coins… we also have him untangle a medium sized rope with some loose knots in it… all while listening to a smart-speaker of his favorite style of music. He loves it. Hope this helps!

    • Reply November 16, 2020


      These are amazing ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply February 18, 2022


      Thank you for sharing. Great ideas!

  • Reply July 27, 2020

    Mary Myss

    Hi Annette,
    My mother has Alzheimers and Macular Degeneration and really enjoys cable news television. It makes her feel that she’s staying on top of what is happening in the world yet, when asked, she has no idea who the president is. Any other form of television or audio books cause frustration because she can’t follow along and she constantly asks questions as to what’s happening. Cable news introduces one story after another before she realizes what she’s missed. Also, she has great memories of watching the news with my father which I’m sure gives her comfort.

  • Reply September 19, 2019

    Annette A Edwards

    Your ideas sound good, but my husband is legally blind, only comprehends about 40% of what he hears, has lost interest in all the activities he used to be involved in, does not like animals or children. I am at a loss as to how to entertain him.

    • Reply September 20, 2019


      It can take some trial and error to find activities that he still enjoys. It’s often difficult to predict what someone will like. Sometimes with dementia, people will become interested in something they never enjoyed in the past.

      For example, even if he doesn’t understand everything, your husband may still enjoy listening to an audiobook. And many people, even in advanced dementia, truly enjoy listening to music. Be open to trying different things even if you think he won’t like them — you’ll never know for sure until he gives it a try.

      And sometimes, when someone has dementia, their brain is simply too exhausted by the everyday tasks of living to have energy left for any activities. If that’s the case, it may be better to let him just rest or listen to some soft music if that helps him relax.

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