How Stimulating Activities Positively Impact People with Dementia

Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 16th of October 2018.


In recent years there has been much research on the positive impact of activities for people with dementia. These beneficial activities are wide ranging, from cognitive to physical, and can help people, in varying degrees, throughout their entire dementia journey.

Cognitive Activities

Cognitive activities aim to stimulate thinking and memory and, in people with early to mid-stage dementia, can help to slow down the decline in memory and thinking. Activities such as word games and jigsaw puzzles will help to exercise the brain, providing mental stimulation and cognitive health, as well as a focus for conversation. Games that have been specifically created for people with dementia are particularly beneficial as they will use emotive images and language that can help trigger memories and spark conversation.

Whilst cognitive activities can be enjoyed as an individual, they can also be undertaken in groups, with friends, family or other people with dementia, helping to encourage socialisation and maintain relationships. In fact, in a review in PubMed Health which focused on 15 activity-related trials for people with mild to moderate stages of dementia, the findings suggested that there was evidence that these cognitive stimulations improved quality of life, the mood of the participants, their ability to care for themselves and to function independently.

Physical Activities

Physical activities are also incredibly beneficial, helping to not only decrease depression and anxiety and help improve sleep habits but also to prevent health problems and maintain mobility and independent living. These activities need not be strenuous, and can involve gentle exercise, such as seated aerobics, gardening or a leisurely walk around the garden.

Additionally, stimulating activities can also have a positive impact on dementia caregivers, whether at home or in a care home environment. They can give focus and structure to the day as well as engaging people with dementia, limiting challenging behaviours and encouraging more positive interactions.

Our care home activities packs have been specifically designed to help stimulate these positive benefits, including encouraging socialisation, improving self-esteem and evoking enduring memories.