Seniors with Alzheimer’s need engagement and fun
Even if your senior has Alzheimer’s or dementia, they still need to feel engaged in life and have fun. But many people can’t enjoy the same activities they used to. With a little creativity, you can make simple DIY (do-it-yourself) activities.
Activities that have no right or wrong way to do them are ideal because they’re fun, satisfying, and boost self-esteem. Engaging activities can also be a good alternative to using medications that reduce agitation, challenging behavior, and depression.
Activity ideas from an experienced Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
Ann Kositsky is a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine. At a recent dementia conference, Anne shared DIY activity ideas like the ones below. They can reduce anxiety, distract from challenging behavior, and increase quality of life for seniors with dementia.
She also shared a dozen activities that you can buy from major retailers.
Safety comes first
It’s important to create activities that won’t cause injury to your older adult or anyone else. You know them best and can choose what will work best for them.
For example, some seniors will put things in their mouth and try to eat them. If that’s the case, avoid small objects that could damage teeth or be a choking hazard. Other seniors may like to tie strings around fingers (or necks!) and cut off circulation.
10 fun activity ideas for seniors with Alzheimer’s you can make yourself
With a little creativity, you can turn simple household objects into fun and safe activities.
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 senior can have fun creating pretty arrangements.
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.
Some older adults might also enjoy sorting a big pile of coins as a reminder of when they used to manage household finances.
5. Play with homemade play dough
Making shapes and kneading Play-Doh or modeling clay is a fun and relaxing activity for all ages. Get some fun cookie cutters and play dough and watch your senior have a ball.
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 no cost! Play their favorite music and encourage them to shake along with the beat.
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.
8. Make a scrapbook
Get an inexpensive notebook, some old magazines or catalogs, glue stick, and safety scissors. Your senior can flip through the magazines, tear or cut out things they like and stick them into their scrapbook.
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.
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
Recommended for you:
- 12 Engaging Activities for Seniors with Dementia: Reduce Agitation and Boost Mood
- 10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia
- 6 Alzheimer’s Sensory Activities Reduce Anxiety without Medication
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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