Activities for People with Alzheimer’s

It’s important for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia to stay as engaged and as social as possible. And being able to join in and do some of the things they once loved can improve their quality of life.

As a caregiver, you may be having a hard time finding activities that will include your loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Here are some things you can try:

  • Listen to music (or try music therapy). If you know the words to the songs, sing along. My mom, who had Alzheimer’s, could still remember words to old songs, and she still loved to sing. She could also still play the piano in the earlier stages of her disease.
  • Do craft activities. Try something a little simpler than what you might have chosen in the past.
  • Bake cookies. Or make other easy dishes together. Assign specific tasks to your loved one, like putting the cookies on the pan or stirring the sauce.
  • Go outdoors. Take a walk through a Kansas City park. Or ride the Kansas City Streetcar.
  • Read the newpaper and/or books. Take turns reading to each other if your loved one is able.
  • Look at old photos. I was astonished that my mom could still look at old photos and tell me who almost everyone in the photo was.
  • Make a scrapbook. Take some of those old photos and other memorabilia and do a scrapbook together.
  • Celebrate “tea time”. Pick a time in the afternoon when you’ll get together each day for tea (or lemonade) and snacks. Your loved one can help set the table or put out the snacks.
  • Take an exercise class together. Sign up for yoga or Tai Chi.
  • Do jigsaw puzzles. Start with something simple, then move up to something with more pieces if your loved one is easily keeping up.

Although difficulty with short-term recall can somewhat limit the ability of people with Alzheimer’s to take part in certain activites, there’s no reason they can’t participate in others. And keeping them included can greatly improve their quality of life.