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From the Neighborhood Press

Two senior men sitting across from each other at a table playing a game of chess in a living room.

Activities That Can Help Seniors with Dementia

Finding activities that can keep your loved one with dementia engaged and entertained can feel difficult at times. However, keeping your loved one active and involved in activities they enjoy can help delay cognitive decline, improve their mood, and enhance their overall quality of life.

The memory care program at The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho provides everyday essentials your loved one needs and specialized activities to help keep their life full of fun and enjoyment. Music therapy, art, exercise, puzzles and games, and nature walks can provide positive benefits to your loved one’s body and mind. 

Our team is here to help your loved one maintain their independence and work their cognitive muscles with appropriate activities to help keep their mind sharp. 

Music Therapy

Music has a powerful, positive effect on seniors with dementia, and music therapy has been known to have a transformative power that can benefit individuals with dementia in many ways. For instance, studies have shown that listening to music during memory activities helps to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Diminish stress levels
  • Improve mood
  • Develop social connection

Consider playing music your loved one enjoyed in their younger years or songs that marked special occasions like weddings, graduations, or the time you were born. You can also take your loved one to concerts or sing along with them to their favorite songs.

Music is thought to prompt the release of the pleasure hormone called dopamine, which can help stimulate emotional responses and counteract the social withdrawal common amongst seniors with dementia.

Art

Artistic activities can also help seniors with dementia be creative and connect with others. Engaging in art activities can help these individuals express themselves, stimulate their memories, and improve their overall well-being.

Art provides a creative outlet that allows seniors to communicate feelings and experiences that may be difficult to express verbally. It can also serve as a form of therapy, helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and agitation commonly associated with dementia.

Some artistic activities to explore with your loved one include:

  • Painting and coloring
  • Pottery
  • Memory collages or scrapbooking

A senior man smiling looking directly at the camera while walking in a parkExercise

Exercise can be beneficial for seniors with dementia since it can help with coordination and balance, and improve overall health. Physical activity has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, improving memory and reducing the risk of developing dementia. Popular and accessible forms of exercise for older adults include:

  • Chair yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Walking
  • Resistance band exercises

It can also help reduce agitation and anxiety, which are common symptoms in individuals with dementia. Whether it’s going for a walk or participating in a group fitness class specifically designed for seniors with dementia, regular exercise can make a positive difference in the lives of those affected by cognitive conditions.

 

Games & Puzzles

Not only do games and puzzles provide a fun and engaging way to spend time, but they also help stimulate the brain and improve cognitive function. For seniors with dementia, playing games and solving puzzles can help slow down memory loss and delay the onset of other symptoms associated with the disease.

Some popular games your loved one will be most familiar with are games like:

  • Word puzzles, like crosswords, Scrabble, or word searches
  • Dice games, like backgammon
  • Card games, such as go fish, cribbage, or solitaire
  • Board games, like Monopoly or chess

Depending on the severity of their dementia, you can play board games, card games, or puzzles that match their ability level. Games that involve physical activity, such as tossing a ball or playing mini golf, can also be enjoyable and provide exercise at the same time.

Nature Walks

Spending time outdoors and enjoying nature can be calming and peaceful for seniors with dementia. Nature walks can be a wonderful way for seniors with dementia to connect with the world around them. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and calming sounds of nature can have a soothing effect on the mind and body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.

Walking in nature can help stimulate senses, provide exposure to vitamin D, and positively impact overall health. You can take your loved one to a local park, botanical garden, or even just a stroll around the neighborhood. If they have strong memories tied to specific places or plants, taking them on a tour of their own memories can be enriching.

Enriching Memory Care Activities for Your Loved One

Engaging in activities can be an excellent way for seniors with dementia to stay engaged and connected. Activities like music, art, exercise, games, puzzles, and nature walks can help your loved one stay active, stimulated, and emotionally connected. You can join in on the fun and make the activities a time of bonding and joy for both you and your loved one.

Visit The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho to learn more about how we incorporate activities into our memory support programming. We are committed to providing compassionate care and creating a welcoming environment where seniors can thrive.

Two senior men sitting across from each other at a table playing a game of chess in a living room.

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