Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 28th of March 2019.
As a family member of someone living with dementia, introducing activities to the Easter get-together is a good way to help engage your loved one, give them focus and help the entire family interact in a positive and fun way.
Here are some Easter activity ideas to help get you started:
Hide a selection of large, brightly coloured eggs (see activity on how to decorate an egg) around a garden or local park. Give everyone a basket for them to put their eggs into, and ask them to start the hunt, working together to help your loved one find as many as possible.
The hunt helps to encourage light exercise and help your loved one get a sense of achievement. If your loved one has mobility limitations, they may not want to take part in the hunt, and choose to simply enjoy sitting outside in the fresh air and watching the activity take place.
Window Box Gardening
Easter is a time of new beginnings, so what better way to celebrate than to plant new flowers. A window box garden is a great option as it doesn’t require a huge outdoor space and is easier to access for people who struggle with mobility. Give your loved one a selection of seeds to plant, allowing them to choose the ones they want in their garden. Your loved one can water and care for their plants every day, watching them grow and blossom, giving them a sense of pride when they see the flowers bloom.
Go to a Farm
Take your loved one and family to a farm. Some farms allow visitors to pet the animals too which is a wonderful sensory experience for your loved one, eliciting feelings of happiness, which can help reduce depression and anxiety.
This egg decoration activity is suitable for all abilities, but depending on each individual help may be required.
What you will need:
– A pin or safety pin
– A cocktail stick
– Two large bowls
– Washing up liquid
– Baby aspirator (new not used)
Pierce either of end of the egg by pushing the pin or safety pin through, making the hole at the wide end large enough to fit a cocktail stick through. Push the cocktail stick in to break the egg, then remove it. Hold the egg over the bowl, with the larger hole pointing downwards, and pressing the aspirator over the smaller hole, pump the air through the egg to push the rest of the contents out. Wash the empty egg in warm water and washing up liquid. Once it’s dried, your egg is ready to decorate. The egg can be decorating with anything that you have to hand; paint, glitter, stickers, colouring pens. Eggs can then be used as part of your Easter decorations. Your loved one will feel a sense of achievement and pride with their finished decoration, and love seeing their eggs on display for everyone to admire.
An alternative to this is using a polystyrene egg and decorating this, which may be easier for those with dexterity problems.
The whole family can get involved with making their very own Easter bonnet. Either dig out old hats, or scour some local charity shops for a variety of hats with brims. Using glue, everyone can adorn the headgear with ribbons, fresh cut flowers and images associated with Easter, such as eggs, bunnies and chicks – these can either be hand drawn or printed from the internet and cut out. Once the hats have been created, everyone can wear their hat at Easter lunch, and spend time discussing the different decorations they chose.
Easter lunch is a big part of the celebrations, and for many families is the focal point of the holiday. Encourage your loved one to help prepare the meal, giving them tasks depending on their ability. These can range from stirring the gravy to peeling and chopping vegetables. As you work, discuss what you are doing, and talk about the smells and tastes of the food to encourage conversation and to help elicit memories.
A Simnel cake is a traditional Easter treat, made of fruit cake covered in marzipan and topped with 11 marzipan balls. Get your loved one involved in baking their very own Simnel cake. Their involvement can include shopping with you for the ingredients, measuring the correct amounts or simply just watching you as you create your cake masterpiece. There are many recipes for Simnel cake, but we are quite partial to this one. Regardless of how hands on they are in the process, they will feel a great sense of purpose as they help you complete the baking.
We’d love to see how you have celebrated the Easter holiday with your loved ones! Share your pictures with us on Twitter or Facebook.
Happy Easter Everyone!