Caring for a Loved One With Dementia? Try These Creative Activity Ideas!

A woman caring for a loved one with dementia plays music for them both to enjoy with headphones.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, you’ll definitely want to give these unique ideas a try!

Caring for a loved one with dementia is unlike all other responsibility you’ll attempt. It calls for you to dig deep down into your reserves of patience, flexibility, and perhaps most importantly, creativity. You have to be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice from one tactic to another to foster a fulfilling and enriching life for the person you love, all while dealing with the more challenging components of the condition.

Our highly trained dementia care team is here to offer support with some clever tips you can easily implement to make every day the very best it can be for a person with dementia.

  • The magic of music: Music is an unbelievably effective tool you’ll likely want to turn to again and again. This could involve creating a playlist of the person’s favorite songs to sing and dance to together, playing instruments, attending concerts (in person or online), etc.
  • Light therapy: Exposure to sunlight or specialized light therapy devices can help regulate sleep patterns and improve mood in individuals with dementia.
  • Reminiscence boxes: Create personalized boxes filled with meaningful objects or photos from the person’s past to spark memories and facilitate reminiscing.
  • Personalized storytelling: Customize familiar stories to include specifics from the individual’s past. For instance, if they loved fishing at a particular lake, weave the name of the lake into a story you are telling to spark memories and conversations.
  • Adaptive games: Modify simple games like memory matching, puzzles, and bingo to allow for cognitive changes. For example, use larger, easy-to-handle pieces for puzzles or vibrantly colored cards for bingo to enhance visibility and ease of use.
  • Soothing scents: Aromatherapy can work wonders in providing a relaxing effect to lower anxiety and agitation. Try scents like lavender, peppermint, or vanilla.
  • The hand-under-hand technique: When helping with tasks, gently place your hand under the person’s hand to support them, promoting a feeling of control and dignity.
  • Montessori methods: Adapt Montessori principles to create meaningful and engaging activities that stimulate cognitive function and promote independence.
  • Biophilic design: Incorporate aspects of nature, like plants or nature-inspired artwork, into the home to create a relaxing and familiar atmosphere.
  • Red tableware: Studies report that using red plates and cups may increase intake of food in people with dementia by enhancing contrast and visibility of food.
  • Virtual reality (VR): Virtual reality experiences tailored to the individual’s interests and abilities can offer immersive and therapeutic experiences, triggering memories and improving mood.
  • Sensory stimulation: Engage the senses with tactile activities like folding clothes or working in the garden, which can soothe and ground those with dementia.
  • Tailored workout plans: Incorporate gentle, guided exercises that match the person’s current physical abilities and help maintain mobility. Talk to the person’s doctor for recommendations.

Partner with our dementia care specialists for additional socialization opportunities, creative activities specific to the person’s interests, and the opportunity for you to step away for some much-needed time to yourself. Serving Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Woods, plus the surrounding areas in Orange County, you can reach us any time at (949) 859-4700.