Caregiving Monday: 10 Simple Activities for Advancing Alzheimer’s

Are you looking for simple activities for your loved one?  Is your loved one in the middle to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s?

String items on a may want to use edible items if you are concerned with being put in the mouth
String items on a string…you may want to use edible items if you are concerned with being put in the mouth


These are a fun ideas you may want to try:

  1. Folding—while you are doing laundry, ask to help you fold washcloths and socks.  If they are able to do more advanced folding, that’s also great.   Even if you have to redo these tasks, thank them and praise them.
  2. Stringing—take a handful of cheerios, fruit loops, etc. and ask your loved one to slide these on the screen.   Then you can either save them for Christmas {if it’s near} or put out for the birds to feed on.
  3. Sorting—gather a collection of buttons, rocks, spoons and forks, bottle caps, etc. and ask to sort these items.  One reminder is to make sure they do not place these smaller items in the mouth.
  4. Coloring—working with dementia patients, I discovered they love to color
  5. Play Dough—allow them to make something out of play dough or even clay.  This is a great activity for their hands.
  6. Name that….—whether you have a stack of pictures of Presidents, family members, friends or celebrities, you can play
    Cut out coupons, pictures, or scriptures. You may want to considerable child's scissors.
    Cut out coupons, pictures, or scriptures. You may want to considerable child’s scissors.

    “Name that Person” and ask to name.  If the loved one doesn’t know, give them gentle hints and prompts.

  7. Dolls—you can cut out and color paper dolls, or find a doll or stuffed animal your loved one can hold and cuddle.  We did this with one lady and just holding a doll helped her anxiety.
  8. Play Cards or Games—pick activities and games your loved one will enjoy playing and be able to follow and understand
  9. Roll a Ball of Yarn—take a ball of yarn and let your loved one roll it up into a ball
  10. Cut out pictures—give a magazine and ask your loved one to cut out pictures for you

Bonus Idea: What in the bag?—put a collection of various items in a bag and pull one out at a time.  Allow your loved one to touch and feel and tell you what the item is.


Join the Conversation: What other activities have you tried?


Caregiving Monday: 10 Activities with Music for Senior Adults

Do you wish you could find activities with music for your loved one?

When I go into nursing homes we often do various activities with music.  Many of these you can also do at home.

Balloons and balls are a great way to encourage movement
Balloons and balls are a great way to encourage movement

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Toss a balloon { or beach ball} back and forth during a song
  2. Purchase a set of rhythm sticks and keep the beat {could also clap hands}
  3. Use Scarves and make different movements to the music
  4. Egg Shakers—shake to the beat of the music  {or make your own using rice and beans}
  5. Assortment of Instruments—play different instruments during a song.  You could also use different containers and pots and pans for various tones.
  6. Dance—if your loved one cannot physically get up and dance, hold hands and slightly sway to the music {this is always a huge hit}
  7. Sing Simple Songs—remind your parents of when they taught you or your children songs.  Many love songs such as The Wheels on the Bus, Three Blind Mice, Incy Wincy Spider, etc.  You can also use the movements.
  8. Make Up Your Own Song—find a subject and make up a song about it, even if it is a song about items you see in the room

    Scarves is another great idea that has a number of uses
  9. Sing A Long—sing along to some of your loved ones favorite songs, whether it is hymns, Jazz, or oldies.  Sometimes I even use visual prompts for shorter songs where there is a picture for each word.
  10. Sing To Patient—sometimes just singing to your loved one or putting on a calming CD is the best medicine.  If your loved one easily becomes agitated, this might be a great way to calm the patient down.
  11. Bonus Item: Name that Tune—use familiar tunes and ask to name that tune.  It’s amazing what memories certain songs may prompt.


Join the Conversation:  What other activities can you think of with music?