Written by Active Minds on Friday the 17th of November 2017.
Whilst it is natural to want to create involved and intricate games to entertain and engage a loved one living with dementia, there is still a place for simple activities when it comes to connecting to a person with dementia. They require little planning, but have a sense of familiarity and routine that a person with dementia can feel comfortable within, plus they may help trigger memories of a time when they undertook those activities in the past.
These activities can be simple, day-to-day tasks that one can undertake around the home, such as:
Folding laundry, or any other simple household chore such as polishing or washing up, are fantastic activity to undertake together. The repetitive nature of the chores will help a person with dementia grasp the activity, limiting any frustration that may arise if they are unable to understand the task. The nature of the activity can also help release memories from a person’s past, perhaps from a time they remember undertaking such chores. This, in turn, may help spark conversation.
For people with dementia, spending time outside is important, even in the winter. Daylight and fresh air are important to a person’s overall wellbeing and mood. Taking part in gentle gardening activities, such as bulb planting or brushing leaves. These activities are not only good for keeping active and fit, but can illicit a sense of pride upon completion, especially when they see their work come to fruition, such as their planted bulbs beginning to grow.
Reading can become hard for someone living with dementia, but that should not mean that they cannot still enjoy stories and articles. Depending on what they prefer, you may want to read them articles they may find interesting in the newspaper, allowing them to keep up-to-date with current affairs or read them a book, perhaps from a favourite author of theirs. Poems are also great to read to people living with dementia as well. Choose well known ones as they may then remember some lines and recite them along with you.
Spending time cooking together is a simple and fun way to engage a person with dementia in conversation and reminiscence. Depending on the stage of their journey, a person living with dementia may want to help creating the food, perhaps helping to pick a recipe they used to enjoy making in the past. Or they may just want to sit and watch as you create the food, talking to you about what you are doing as you cook. Even making a simple cup of tea together is an enjoyable activity, allowing you to spend time together as you make and then drink the tea.