Finding activities to help a loved one with dementia stay focused and engaged

Memory problems can have a big impact on a person’s confidence. Frustration, loss of motivation and anxiousness – all common symptoms of dementia- can all too quickly lead to people withdrawing from activities and social groups they previously enjoyed.

With the right help though, there is no reason why people living with dementia can’t continue to enjoy the meaningful social engagement and stimulating activities that help to ward off depression and ensure life remains purposeful and fun.

Choosing dementia friendly activities

Start by having a chat about your loved one’s concerns. What is it they find difficult or stressful? 

Most activities can be modified to make them accessible in some shape or form once you know what the problems are. The following tips will help you find activities that will be dementia friendly and fun:

  1. Focus on enjoyment, not achievement

A good place to start could be with activities you know the person enjoys and which make use of existing skills and talents. The emphasis here needs to be on getting involved and having fun so that frustration doesn’t creep in if the person feels their abilities are declining.

  1. Encourage involvement in daily life

Build familiar, repetitive tasks into the daily routine. Simple things like setting the table, or sweeping the floor can provide a sense of achievement and help an individual feel like a valued part of the household.

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new activities

Even if the person has never showed any great interest in a particular activity before doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it now. Activities based around singing, reminiscence, gentle exercise or a sensory response can all turn out to be surprisingly enjoyable if you give them a go.

  1. Relate activities to past work life

Finding activities that are linked to something familiar from the past can be comforting. A former office worker might enjoy tasks that involve organisation – like sorting coins into a holder, or a farmer might like getting outside and working in the garden.

  1. Consider possible physical problems

Try to make adjustments to tackle any physical problems that may make it harder for the person to join in. New glasses, hearing aids or simply shortening the session if concentration levels are limited can all make a big difference.

  1. Consider the time of day and the person’s mood

Take account of when the person seems happy, anxious, distracted or anxious and try to time activities to the part of the day when they are likely to be most responsive.

How can specialist dementia care help?

Care homes that specialise in dementia care are experts in providing a stimulating environment to help people stay focussed and engaged for as long as possible. 

Dementia friendly activities and therapies will be on hand, and skilled staff can help people to access and enjoy activities more easily.

Ambleside Care Home in Bexhill is a dementia specialist care home. We provide a whole range of innovative and stimulating activities to help those with dementia live a fulfilling and rewarding life. 

Whether it’s helping with everyday chores, enjoying our specialist art therapy sessions, spending time in the garden, interacting with our pets, enjoying musical activities, or taking part in various crafts and games there is plenty going on to stimulate and engage.

Find out more about our dementia specialist facilities at