← Back to Blog

Enriching Activities Provide Purposeful Living for Loved Ones with Dementia

An older woman and her daughter look at photos together

A person with Alzheimer’s disease is still the person they’ve always been, but memory loss and other symptoms can cause them to withdraw from social situations and activities. Instead of letting them retreat from meaningful experiences in life, this is the time to rethink the ways they can still participate in their favorite activities. Many people living with mid- to late-stage dementia still have the drive and desire to pursue the activities and hobbies they enjoyed in the past. 

With the support and guidance of a memory care program, your loved one will have opportunities to participate in activities and find purpose every day. Check out the following list of activities for people living with dementia and their families, put together by our experts at Monticello West. 

Activities for Seniors with Mid-Stage Dementia 

Activities that engage the mind, body, and spirit are beneficial for someone in the middle stages of dementia. The key is to find activities with the right amount of challenge to capture their interest without reaching the point of frustration. 

People with mid-stage dementia can still enjoy a variety of activities, such as:

Prepare a meal or snack. Make a plan to cook a meal together based on one of your family’s favorite recipes. You could even do something as simple as mixing up a batch of trail mix together.  

Plant a garden. Gardening is a great tactile activity for seniors in mid-stage dementia, and it gives your loved one a moderate amount of exercise. Have them pull weeds, plant seeds, or even lightly rake leaves. 

Read a book. There are several outstanding books for people living with dementia, including “What the Wind Showed to Me” by Emma Rose Sparrow and “The Sunshine on My Face: A Read-Aloud Book for Memory-Challenged Adults” by Lydia Burdick. These books feature engaging content written in a simple format that’s accessible to people with dementia.

Hit the pool. Water exercise has many health benefits for older adults, including helping maintain strength, flexibility, balance and mobility. Even if they aren’t in the pool to exercise, someone in the early to middle stages of dementia can still find great comfort in the calming sensation of being in water.

Go for a walk. Walking is the perfect way to get your loved one moving, and it’s suitable for all abilities. Give them the opportunity to get social by joining a walking group.

You can help your loved one by finding the right activities appropriate for their interest and abilities, and making modifications as their abilities change over time. Encourage them to keep trying even when things don’t come easily, so they can remain as independent as possible.

Activities for Seniors Living with Late-Stage Dementia

Although your loved one’s cognitive abilities may be significantly more limited in late-stage dementia, it’s important to focus on the abilities they do have. You’ll find there’s a range of activities that can benefit people living in the late stages of dementia.

Here are just a few ways you can spend time with your loved one and engage their senses:

Find the rhythm. Drumming and patting to a rhythm together is a great way to make music and put a smile on your loved one’s face.

Feel the love. Massaging a person’s hands with a lightly scented cream provides a simple and soothing way to spend time together.

Get crafty. Pressing stamps or stickers onto paper or cardboard is a great tactile activity for seniors in the late-stage dementia. You could also try painting with watercolors or working with modeling clay.

Fold towels. While they may not make perfect squares, your loved one will still feel a sense of comfort and confidence when they perform a daily task like folding towels, blankets or clothing. 

Work with yarn. If your loved one enjoys working with yarn but can no longer manage knitting or crocheting, you can make a yarn card for them to pull colorful yarn through. 

Remember, there will be satisfying moments and frustrating moments with your loved one, but as long as you stay patient and keep trying, you’ll both benefit from spending special time together. 

Discover the Benefits of Personalized Memory Care

At Monticello West, we offer a nationally recognized approach to dementia care called  Heartfelt CONNECTIONS A Memory Care Program®. Heartfelt CONNECTIONS is a highly individualized plan tailored to your loved one’s personality and interests. It stimulates all five senses and activates their minds with person-centered care, instead of focusing on the limitations of their condition.

The principal focus of the Heartfelt CONNECTIONS program at Monticello West is preserving a person’s individuality, which can be a source of comfort for people with dementia and caregivers alike. The program is designed with these goals in mind:

  • Helping those with dementia discover what brings them joy
  • Promoting a sense of independence 
  • Changing the environment to suit the individual
  • Respecting and highlighting a person’s history and personality
  • Offering personalized care through tailored activities

Our Memory Care neighborhood encourages making heartfelt connections with your loved one, where every interaction is positive and uplifting, and they feel the most sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and satisfaction with life. Read another of our blog posts to learn more about communicating with your loved one as dementia progresses.

See How Your Loved One with Dementia Can Thrive at Monticello West

Heartfelt CONNECTIONS, the personalized Memory Care program offered at Monticello West, consists of unique activities and amenities to enrich the life of your loved one. With special options ranging from music and art therapy to a warm and secure environment, our community is a place where your loved one’s life will be enriched. We invite you to learn more about our Memory Care program and contact us to schedule a tour today!

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

image of open hands with