activities for seniors with dementia

9 Basic and Interesting Activities for Seniors with Dementia

9 Basic and Interesting Activities for Seniors with Dementia

Are you looking for activities for seniors with Dementia? Let’s dive. Dementia is a common disease that comes with age. There is no doubt that it is emotionally draining to see our loved ones going through these. The effects can be mentally and physically as well. But there are ways to combat the disease through some activities for seniors with dementia.

Activities for Seniors with Dementia

Engaging seniors with dementia is the best way to divert their mind to something productive and fun. Some stimulating activities for seniors with dementia helps a lot to improve their emotional and physical well being while providing non stop entertainment.

Let’s explore some basic but worth doing fun and enjoyable activities for seniors especially with dementia.

Consider These Things While Choosing Activities for Seniors With Dementia

It’s very important to keep the interest, abilities, and preferences in mind while selecting activities for seniors with dementia as they are very sensitive to deal with. According to the healthcare of Canada, consider these factors:

  • Safety: The activity should be safe and appropriate as per their physical and cognitive abilities.
  • Simple: Choose simple and easy to do things to avoid confusion and frustraton.
  • Familiarity: To evoke positive memories and experience, selected activities must be familiar to the seniors.
  • Engagement: Activities should encourage interaction with others or the environment for better outcome.
  • Adaptability: Adapt activity that suit’s seniors mood and energy levels.

Although there are no proven treatments yet that can reduce risk of dementia, you can follow these activities for seniors with dementia to make them feel better.

Jigsaw Puzzles for Seniors with Dementia

The first in the list is Jigsaw puzzles. Yes, you read it right. Jigsaw puzzles are not only enjoyed by children but by adults as well. Solving jigsaw puzzles would give them a sense of completion and could be a fun activity to bond with them. It’s a great form of cognitive activity for seniors with dementia.

It will help:

  • To engage mind
  • To improve problem – solving skills
  • To improve Hand – eye coordination
  • To improve focus

Kinds Of Jigsaw Puzzle Ideal For Dementia Patients:

Large Piece Puzzles These are easily manipulated and put together. They do not cause as much frustration and are even enjoyable for seniors who have difficulty with smaller pieces.

Simple Picture Puzzles: Look for puzzles with simple, clear pictures that are easy to identify. How about engaging images of animals, nature scenes, or familiar objects?.

Customized Puzzles: This is an exercise in which a person receives personal photographs containing family members, pets, or favorite places to develop a personalized jigsaw puzzle. It could be a lot more meaningful since constructive reminiscences can be activated in such a puzzle.

Writing Letters to Loved Ones

Writing letters is considered to be the best way to increase brain activity and emotional relationships. Remembering old memories and expressing feelings help seniors to cherish and relive those moments. The best time to do this activity is the festive season. For instance, it can be one of the thoughtful and enjoyable Christmas activities for seniors with dementia. As it will help to get in touch with friends and family.

Drawing and Crafts

To foster creativity and self-expression, drawing and crafting are considered great sensory activities for seniors with dementia. These simple crafts, like coloring, painting, or card making, can be activities both interesting and rewarding. These activities also help maintain fine motor skills and offer a sense of accomplishment. Carrying out these simple activities for seniors with dementia can bring about joy and relaxation.

Recommended Drawing and Crafts:

  • Adult Coloring Books: Bigger, easy patterns in adult coloring books. Mandalas, floral designs, and nature scenes are usually favorites.
  • Watercolor Painting: Watercolors are very forgiving and easy to use. Provide a simple set with basic colors and thick paper.
  • Stringing Beads: Large beads and elastic strings are perfect for making simple necklaces or bracelets, which also helps with fine motor skills.
  • Clay Modeling: Large elements of air-dry clay can be formed into simple shapes or figures. This is a tactile and one of the interesting activities for seniors with dementia.
  • Knitting or Crochet: If the person is familiar with these crafts, simple patterns can give them a sense of ritual and accomplishment.

Watch Documentaries

Watching documentaries is one of the most effective activities for seniors with dementia. Choose a documentary on topics they are interested in, such as nature, history, or science. This activity, on one hand, will keep their cognitive functions on the move, and, on the other, provide opportunities to discuss and interact with others. In some ways, documentaries can be a great way to keep the mind engaged

Recommended Documentaries:

  • Planet Earth: Beautiful, stunning visuals combined with soothing voice-over about the natural world.
  • The Blue Planet: Discovery of marine life and oceanic ecosystems

Science and Technology Documentaries:

  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (National Geographic): The universe gets explored by host Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The Human Body: Detailed look at the workings of the human body

Cultural and Artistic Documentaries:

  • The Art of the Steal: The story of the controversial move of the Barnes Foundation’s collection
  • The Jazz Loft: A look at the New York City jazz scene in the 1950s

Health and Well-being Documentaries:

  • Heal: Explores the power of the mind to heal the body
  • Happy: Investigates what really makes people happy across the world.

Mealtime Routines

Mealtime routines can be turned into fun activities for seniors with dementia. Simple tasks like setting the table, preparing ingredients, or arranging the food can be carried out by them. The main goal is to keep them engaged however possible. This not only lets them feel useful but also stimulates their senses and motor skills. Shared meals also help enhance social bonding and give a sense of normalcy.


Dementia care becomes easy with nature. Therefore, gardening is known to be one of the most therapeutic physical activities for seniors with dementia. It not only lets them bond with nature but also experience fresh air in the daylight. Gardening provides sensory stimulation and accomplishment. It also encourages physical movement, which is crucial for overall health.

Recommended Gardening Activities:

Watering Plants: Plants can be watered using a light water can or hose. This is simple work, often repetitive, which can be very calming.
Planting Seeds: Some of the simplest seeds to plant are those of sunflowers or herbs. Planting either in a pot or a bed can be a very fulfilling experience.
Picking Flowers: Your senior will like to pick flowers and put them into a vase. This gives sensory pleasure and creative fun.
Create a Sensory Garden: Plant herbs such as lavender, mint, and rosemary to provide stimulation for the sense of smell.
Vegetable Gardening: It is easy to grow most of the vegetables around homes, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or lettuce. Growing these items around the home and consuming them will bring the pride of eating them.

Have a Tea Party

Organizing a tea party is a cozy way of combining social interaction with sensory-based activities. Participants get to smell and taste different teas, listen to soft music, and enjoy some pleasant conversations. This can be taken to the next level by introducing different themes of such tea parties or celebrating special occasions, like Christmas, making it one of the easy activities for seniors with dementia. It’s a nice way to build memorable moments.

Listen to Music

Music activities for seniors with dementia have many benefits. This is an activity that could bring back memories, enhance mood, and diminish restlessness. It is a very effective tool that helps to calm and soothe when agitated.

Suggested Music Activities

  • Personalized Playlists: Create a playlist that features their favorite music.
  • Music and Movement: Encourage gentle dancing or rhythmic movements to the music. This way, an aspect of activity is introduced.
  • Play an Instrument: Provide some simple instruments, such as tambourines, maracas, or xylophones. Have the seniors engage with them as music plays.
  • Soothing Music: Play calming or soothing music or nature sounds during periods of disturbance, particularly during the night or before sleeping.
  • Listening to Old Records: Put on some vinyl or an older CD that maybe reminisces to the older person of their youth.


Reading books is another way to engage seniors with dementia. Select books with large print, simple language, and interesting illustrations. It can be particularly pleasurable to read aloud and can bring about feelings of being connected.

This activity can be aligned with their interests, whether it is fiction, biographies, or poetry, to make it one of the versatile activities for people with dementia. Reading can stimulate the mind and give a sense of relaxation.

Recommended Reading Activities:

  • Large Print Books: Peruse through the selection of large print books if you need to make reading easier. Many great novels come in large print.
  • Picture Books: Select some vivid pictures and plain-sentence text books. Picture books can be great fun.
  • Short Stories: The name of the genre itself is convincing enough—short story collections work well because it is swift for a person to complete and feel a sense of achievement on having finished something.
  • Poetry: It is relatively short, rhythmic; it sounds quite soothing and pleasant when reading it loudly.
  • Interactive Books: These books are interactive and therefore have components such as lift-the-flap or textured pages.
  • Audio Books: This is one of the best suited activities for seniors who don’t read well. Select texts that are read with a clear and soothing voice.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating activities into the daily routine of seniors with dementia can help in enhancing the life quality significantly.
Remember, while choosing activities for seniors, consider their interests, abilities, and preferences to make the activities meaningful and enjoyable.
Remember, the key is to keep the activities simple, safe, and engaging, ensuring that they bring joy and fulfillment to your loved ones.
Fun activities for seniors with dementia can make a significant difference in their daily lives.


What is the number one trigger for dementia behavior?

Very often, the number one trigger for dementia behavior is a change in the environment or routine. One might have moved to a new place, changed caregivers, or simply changed the daily schedules. Everything must be maintained in a consistent and familiar way so that the dementia behavior is kept firm. Sudden changes might lead to confusion and anxiety, which can trigger challenging behaviors.

What is the best game for elderly with dementia?

The best game for an elderly person with dementia is often a simple, engaging, or sometimes repetitive task. Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, and matching are great options as they provide cognitive stimulation and a sense of satisfaction. Games that are familiar and easy to understand are usually the most effective.

How do you entertain a senior with dementia?

Select easily matchable activities for seniors with dementia. The activities have to be compatible with their interests and ability. Simple activities can be listening to music, gardening, drawing, and documentary watching; these can go a long way to keep them happy. As it has been said, make the activities enjoyable without stress. Engage the seniors in sensory activities that involve touch, sound, and sight.

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