10 Easy Crafts for Seniors with Dementia: Inexpensive DIY Ideas

Get inexpensive DIY ideas for easy crafts for seniors with dementia

Seniors with dementia need engagement and fun

Even if someone has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, they still need to feel engaged in life and have fun.

Activities that have no right or wrong way to do them are ideal because they’re always fun, satisfying, and a boost to self-esteem. 

Engaging activities can also be an alternative to medication because they can reduce agitation, distract from challenging behavior, and increase quality of life for seniors with dementia.

And with a little creativity, you can turn simple household objects into easy crafts for seniors with dementia.

Here, we share 10 fun DIY craft ideas inspired by a dementia conference presentation from the experts at ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine.




Keep safety in mind

It’s important to create activities that won’t cause injury to your older adult or anyone else. 

The bottom line is that you know them best and should choose what will work best and be safest for them.

For example, some people will put things in their mouth and try to eat them. If that’s the case, avoid objects that could damage teeth or be a choking hazard. 

Another example is that some people may like to tie strings around fingers (or necks!) and cut off circulation.


10 easy crafts for seniors with dementia that you can make at home

activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

1. Clip colorful clothespins
Get brightly colored full size or mini clothespins and let your older adult attach them to something like a wire basket or rack.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

2. Arrange flowers
Flower arranging is a perfect activity for older adults who enjoy flowers or gardening. 

Get some inexpensive artificial flowers, a plastic vase, and florist foam (optional). Your older adult can have fun creating their own arrangements.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

3. Attach pipes and fittings
Many older adults used to enjoy being handy around the house. Remind them of those pleasant memories with an activity where they can put together and take apart pipes.

Get varying lengths of inexpensive PVC pipe and fittings like these elbows or these T-joints – the hardware store will usually be able to cut them for you.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

4. Sort inexpensive hardware parts or coins
Another way to enjoy handy activities is to have your older adult sort inexpensive hardware parts like these nuts, washers, or bolts.

Some older adults might also enjoy sorting a big pile of coins as a reminder of when they used to manage household finances.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

5. Play with homemade play dough
Making shapes and kneading play dough or modeling clay is a fun and relaxing activity for all ages. 

Get some fun cookie cutters and play dough and watch your older adult have a ball.

Instead of store-bought play dough, try this homemade play dough recipe. To make it even more relaxing, add a few drops of calming lavender essential oil.

Note: The homemade play dough recipe is non-toxic, but still shouldn’t be considered edible. Flour that’s not cooked thoroughly can contain bacteria that can make people sick. 


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

6. Keep the beat with a homemaker shaker
Take a clean plastic container or bottle with a tight fitting top and put some dry beans or pasta inside. This makes a fun music shaker for almost no cost.

Play their favorite music and encourage them to shake along with the beat.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

7. Match and sort picture cards
Print two copies of various photos or images that your older adult likes. It could be photos of favorite animals, beautiful flowers, or family members.

Cut them into equal sized cards and laminate using some clear packing tape or contact paper.

The cards can be used for a simple sorting game, a matching game, or just nice images to flip through and admire.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

8. Make a scrapbook
Get an inexpensive notebook, some old magazines or catalogs, glue stick, and safety scissors.

Your older adult can flip through the magazines, tear or cut out things they like and stick them into their scrapbook.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

9. Stack up party cups
Get some inexpensive plastic party cups in bright colors. Ask your older adult to help you clean up by sorting or stacking the cups.


activities for seniors with Alzheimer's

10. Create a spelling tray
Sticking colorful magnetic letters on a metal tray is a fun way to spell familiar words or just play with the shapes and colors. Use a simple baking sheet (with raised sides) as the tray


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: wiseGEEK


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


  • Reply November 17, 2020


    I tried making my mum doing execrises but she refuses wat else can I do

  • Reply September 5, 2017

    Rob Wheelock

    Thank you so much!
    My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and lives with her son who is her full time caregiver. I shared this article with him and he said that fitting pipes was a big success!
    As we all know, providing care to an Alzheimer’s patient can be taxing to say the least. Any activity that can keep them occupied for any length of time can be a lifesaver for the caregiver.

    • Reply February 17, 2020


      We’re so glad these suggestions are helpful!

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