Hobbies are a critical part of health and wellbeing, and this doesn’t change for someone living with dementia. Meaningful activities are a great opportunity for people living with dementia to have fun, improve social connections and boost their overall wellbeing.
People living with dementia continue to possess many valuable life-long skills and abilities, even if they require a higher level of support. They can still enjoy their favourite activities and hobbies; it may just require some modification to suit their needs.
Here are 8 activity ideas that can be engaging and fun for someone living with dementia:
- Bingo. Bingo is a classic game that can be enjoyed by all ages, so it can provide a chance to socialise with others. A study found that when bingo players with dementia play with large, high-contrast cards, their visual perception and cognitive skills improve. It can also improve hand-eye coordination as Bingo requires them to look for numbers or symbols quickly.
- Listening to music. Whether it’s singing, dancing or just listening or playing some songs that your loved one enjoys. Music has proven to reduce stress and even bring up some special memories and feelings. Dancing also has the added benefit of building agility, especially if they love to freestyle on the dancefloor!
- Painting and drawing. Freely painting and drawing can be a liberating experience as It doesn’t focus on the outcome, rather on the process of creating. This activity can be easily modified to suit different needs. For example, if the person has difficulties holding a paintbrush, it could be replaced with a sponge, foam, yarn or pom poms.
- Seated exercises. Seated exercises can improve strength and balance. They can easily be done at home or with other people at a local class. People with limited mobility can participate too, as it can be less strenuous than standing exercises. To make it more fun, play some music the person likes while working out alongside them.
- Jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles can be calming and meditative, but are also stimulating as the person needs to focus on finding particular pieces and matching them up. Whether it’s alone or with other people, solving jigsaw puzzles provide the person with dementia a sense of control. Just be mindful of what puzzle is used, like the number of pieces, the size of the pieces and what image is used, depending on what the person needs.
- Gardening. Gardening can be a wonderful sensory experience that allows them to explore touch, smell and even taste. They can try planting some herbs, arranging some flowers or watering the garden.
- Knitting. For those who enjoyed knitting in the past, it can be a great way to relax, focus and explore their creativity. Knitting also provides hands and finger exercises to fine-tune motor skills.
- Nature walks. There is no better place to be than outdoors on a beautiful day. Being out in nature during daylight allows people living with dementia to be active, connect with other people and feel calm. Exploring the natural world can simply be taking a stroll in the park and being mindful of the wonderful world around us, from the clouds, growth of plants and people walking by. For someone less active, they can still enjoy these benefits by simply being outdoors in a way that suits them, like eating lunch outside.
It’s important to continue to have fun even as we get older.
Holdsworth is accredited by Alzheimer’s Australia as a Dementia Friendly Organisation and Best Practice site. Our weekly Wellbeing Groups are a great way to enjoy gentle exercises, make new friends over coffee, and play crosswords and trivia. They are held in locations across Sydney for people over 65 with transport options available.
Book your spot today by calling our friendly team
We welcome you, or someone you know, to join us for some fun in your local community!