32 Activities for People with Dementia

Incorporating engaging activities into the daily lives of people with dementia can have a profound impact on their overall happiness and well-being.

From creative pursuits and social interactions to virtual experiences online, these activities provide opportunities for cognitive stimulation, self-expression, and meaningful connection with others.

Here are 32 activities for people with dementia designed to bring them joy and enhance their quality of life.

Sensory stimulation activities

  1. Sensory boxes

Creating a unique sensory box together is a great way to captivate the senses and encourage people with dementia to explore the world around them. Sensory or rummage boxes are boxes filled with a variety of textures, captivating scents, and intriguing objects. They can help people with dementia communicate or reminisce and they can also act as a soothing distraction.

  1. Create collages

Allowing your loved one to create and frame their own collage pages is a great way to stimulate the mind and let them explore their creativity. You can start by cutting out pages from old books, magazines, newspapers or ads. Try and choose themes your loved one might like such as fashion, nature or cars. You can also scan old family photos and use those.

  1. Music therapy

Music has a remarkable ability to touch the soul, especially for people living with dementia. By playing familiar songs or musical instruments, you can encourage your loved one to dance and engage with the rhythm and melody. Try and choose music from your loved one’s past as it can spark happy memories.

  1. Tactile activities

Tactile activities provide a wonderful opportunity for our loved ones to connect with their surroundings and experience the joy of different textures. Examples include moulding playdough, feeling textured fabrics, or interacting with soft toys. These activities can help people with dementia by stimulating the senses and promoting relaxation and a sense of comfort.

Cognitive stimulation activities

  1. Puzzles

Puzzles offer a delightful challenge that engages the mind. Whether it’s working on jigsaw puzzles of different difficulty levels or easy Sudoku puzzles, these activities keep the brain active and provide a sense of accomplishment as each piece falls into place. Just remember to choose a puzzle that is suitable to the abilities of the person with dementia. You can even find dementia-friendly puzzles online.

  1. Reminiscence therapy

Reminiscence therapy can help your loved one unlock a treasure trove of memories by encouraging discussions about personal experiences and important life events. Reminiscing not only strengthens emotional bonds with family and friends but also nurtures a sense of identity and self-worth. By actively listening to their stories and reflecting on the past, you can help people with dementia feel respected and heard.

  1. Brain teasers

You can help keep the mind engaged through playful riddles and simple maths problems that stimulate cognitive functioning. These fun brain teasers keep the brain active and foster a sense of curiosity and problem-solving. Make sure to find brain teasers that meet your loved one’s needs and interests. It can be helpful to tailor the questions to a topic they know well.

  1. Trivia games

Trivia games are a fun challenge that stimulate the mind and improve memory recall. Since trivia can be played as a group activity, it creates opportunities for shared laughter, friendly competition, and cherished moments of connection. Prepare to be surprised by the wealth of knowledge and unique perspectives your loved one brings to the table!

Physical activities

  1. Gentle exercises

Exercise does not need to be vigorous to have positive impacts for people with dementia. Gentle exercises such as dancing, chair exercises, gardening, and walking all promote flexibility, improve circulation, and enhance overall mobility. Be creative – any form of exercise can bring benefits.

  1. Chair yoga

Chair yoga is an easy way for people with dementia to enjoy some gentle exercise and stretching without overexerting themselves. Chair yoga combines flexibility, balance, strength, breathing, and mindfulness training, so it can have numerous benefits on overall well-being and mental health. You can find yoga studios that offer chair yoga or follow along with videos online.

  1. Walking

Walking is a health activity that should be part of everyday life. There is no reason someone should stop walking just because they have been diagnosed with dementia. Walking can improve mood, relieve stress, and reduce boredom. Just make sure to talk with the person’s GP before starting on any new exercise program.

  1. Dancing

Research has shown that dancing can help people with dementia improve their mood, reduce anxiety and improve social interaction. ‘Dancing with Dementia’ classes offer a chance for people with dementia to experience creative movement and dance with their companions. You can also try putting on some music and dancing at home.

  1. Balloon volleyball

This is a great exercise to help people with dementia have some fun whilst enjoying some gentle exercise. All you need is a volleyball net, which can be purchased from most sporting goods stores, and a few balloons filled with air. If someone has mobility concerns, you can play from a seated position so that everyone is safe and has the same advantage while playing.

Creative activities

  1. Art therapy

Try offering a variety of art supplies such as paints, brushes, colouring pencils, and paper, and encourage your loved one to express themselves through painting, drawing, or colouring. Art therapy allows people to tap into their emotions, memories, and imagination, whilst promoting a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

  1. Crafts

Try engaging your loved ones in simple craft projects that cater to their abilities and interests. Making collages, creating paper flowers, or assembling crafts using materials like beads, pipe cleaners or yarn can be enjoyable and provide a sense of fun and achievement. Consider using kits or providing step-by-step instructions to make the process more accessible. You can find many great ideas online by searching for ‘crafts for people with dementia’.

  1. Gardening

Consider creating an accessible garden space where people with dementia can participate in gardening activities. Planting and caring for flowers, herbs, or vegetables offers a wonderful multisensory experience and fosters a connection with nature. Ensure the garden is designed to accommodate their needs and make the process as easy as possible, such as raised beds or labelled plants for easier identification.

  1. Poetry writing

Encourage your loved one to engage in simple writing exercises, such as writing short poems or exploring their thoughts through words. You can provide them with prompts or themes to help inspire their creativity. Poetry writing can be a therapeutic activity that allows people from all walks of life to express their emotions, memories, and inner thoughts in a unique and personal way.

  1. Music sing-alongs

Organise sing-along sessions with familiar songs to promote fun, self-expression and engagement. Music has a powerful effect on people with dementia, often evoking strong memories and emotions. Encourage your loved one to participate by singing, clapping, or playing simple instruments. Strive to create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can enjoy the joy of music together.

Social activities

  1. Group discussions

Try and facilitate group discussions on various topics to encourage social interaction. Choose topics that are familiar and relatable to your loved one, so that they are able to contribute their thoughts and experiences. Group discussions are important for fostering a sense of community and connection whilst allowing people with dementia to express themselves and engage with others.

  1. Intergenerational program

Organise activities that bring together people with dementia and children or young adults. Interacting with younger generations can be incredibly enriching and beneficial for both parties. It can create meaningful connections, promote empathy and understanding, and provide a sense of purpose for people with dementia. Consider activities such as art projects, storytelling, or simple games that encourage interaction.

  1. Pet therapy

See if you can arrange visits from therapy animals to provide companionship and emotional support. Animals can have a calming and comforting effect, reducing anxiety and stress in people with dementia. There are many charity organisations across the UK that provide this service. Another option is to look into visiting a local farm or petting zoo.

  1. Board games

Play board games together that are simple to play and understand. Choose games that cater to the interests and abilities of your loved one and always ensure that they can actively participate and enjoy the experience. Board games provide an opportunity for friendly competition, teamwork, and socialising, which can enhance cognitive functioning and emotional well-being.

  1. Storytelling

Encourage people with dementia to share personal stories or listen to engaging narratives. Storytelling can be a powerful way to connect with others, evoke memories, and stimulate the mind. You can provide prompts or themes to guide the storytelling sessions. Just be sure to create a supportive environment where everyone takes turns listening and everyone’s stories are valued and appreciated.

Life skills activities

  1. Cooking

Help your loved ones to prepare simple recipes or bake treats. Choose recipes that are easy to follow and involve minimal steps. Cooking can help people maintain their daily living skills, stimulate their senses, and promote independence. Ensure the kitchen environment is safe and provide guidance as needed.

  1. Folding laundry

Engage people with dementia in folding clothes or sorting laundry items. This activity can provide a sense of order and help reduce boredom. Simplify the task by providing clear instructions or visual cues, such as matching socks or folding towels. Focus on the process rather than perfection, and offer praise and encouragement throughout.

  1. Setting the table

Encourage people with dementia to set the table for meals or special occasions. This activity helps them maintain a connection to daily routines and fosters a sense of responsibility. Provide guidance and cues to assist in proper table setting, such as placing utensils or arranging napkins. Involve them in positive and upbeat discussions about meal planning and the importance of gathering around the table.

  1. Watering plants

Watering plants allows people with dementia to engage with nature, experience a sense of nurturing, and maintain a daily routine. Provide them with a watering can or a spray bottle for ease of use. Ensure the plants are suitable for their abilities, and guide them as needed to avoid overwatering or spills.

  1. Untie knots

Untying knots is a tactile activity that engages people with dementia with both cognitive and physical stimulation. Tie loose knots along a durable and comfortable rope and encourage your loved one to see if they can untie them. This allows them to exercise their fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities. Untying knots can offer a sense of accomplishment and engagement without causing frustration or discomfort.

Virtual activities

  1. Virtual museum tours

You can explore online museum collections and exhibitions together. Many renowned museums offer virtual tours that allow individuals to view and learn about various artworks, historical artefacts, and cultural exhibits. This provides a chance for people with dementia to engage with art and history whilst stimulating their curiosity and imagination.

  1. Online brain training games

Utilise websites or apps that offer cognitive training exercises specifically designed to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. These games can help people with dementia maintain cognitive abilities in a fun and stimulating way. Look for games that are user-friendly and offer adjustable difficulty levels to cater to different needs and abilities.

  1. Video chats

Facilitate video calls with family and friends to help your loved one maintain social connections. Virtual communication platforms, such as video chat apps, can help people with dementia stay connected with loved ones who may not be physically present. Staying in touch with family and friends in this way can promote a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.

  1. Virtual travel experiences

Take virtual tours of different cities or landmarks around the world. Many travel websites and platforms offer virtual travel experiences where you can explore famous landmarks, natural wonders, and cultural sites from the comfort of home. It can also evoke happy memories associated with travel.

Dementia care in the comfort of home

At Oxford Aunts, we understand the challenges faced by people living with dementia and their families. Our high-quality live-in dementia care provides compassionate and personalised support in the comfort of your own home.

Whether it’s medication management, engaging activities to stimulate the mind, or assistance with daily living, our experienced carers are here to enhance the quality of life of your loved ones.

Contact Oxford Aunts today to find out how our dedicated team can provide the support and care your loved ones deserve in the familiar surroundings of home.


100th Birthday – Celebrating the Special Moments With Home Care

Home care gives you the opportunity to build lasting relationships and to celebrate the magnificent milestones in your life. Marking your birthday in your later years can be a deeply meaningful and special occasion. You can decorate your home and have one of our caregivers accompany you to celebrate the...
Read More

Introducing our new model for dementia care – ‘EVER’

Oxford Aunts is excited to announce the launch of our new model for dementia care, ‘EVER’. This has been uniquely developed by Admiral Nurse, Dr Jane Pritchard and Occupational Therapist, Jackie Cooper, who are part of our Specialist Clinical Team and both have a breadth of knowledge and experience in...
Read More

Website Star Ratings

Review score average of 4.5 based on 25 Trustpilot reviews as of May 2024

Meet Our Family – Footer