Group Activities for Dementia Patients

Games to prevent dementia are excellent tools that can serve as group activities for dementia patients. But how far can these games go in the process of Alzheimer’s? What are the best group activities for patients in the middle or end stage of dementia? Don’t sweat it if you cannot think of anything because this article on living Maples has sorted all kinds of activities you can do with your loved ones who are in different stages of dementia. 

Following up, we are going to list some of the best and most popular group games based on the stage of the disease. As you can guess, with the progress of the disease to the later stages, the activities become simpler, to the point that they can be some mundane things you do not normally consider. The earliest stage of dementia has room for more challenging activities, and this is the stage you can even turn games to prevent dementia into a bonding experience with your loved one. Now, let’s go through the suitable activities with no further ado.  

 

A woman and his loved one with dementia looking at pictures of themselves

Perfect Group Activities in the Early Stage of Dementia

As we already stated, this is the stage that lets you think of relatively more complex activities. It is a good idea, even recommended, to fit memory games and games to prevent dementia in your group activities since it helps your loved one greatly. These are the activities we recommend:

Exercise Together

Nothing helps us stay healthy like exercise. It is easier for someone with dementia to find the motivation for exercise if they do it as a part of a group, among their family members and friends. There are many exercises you can consider, like:

  • Taking morning or evening walks
  • Chair exercises
  • Dancing Together
  • Swimming 
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

Everyone will have fun while dancing to a catchy song or playing around in a pool. Exercises like these are awesome because they help your loved ones have fun with you and improve their health. Moreover, since regular exercises can be hard for seniors, seeking guidance on simpler and modified chair exercises is a good idea. 

Artistic Activities

If your loved one likes painting, drawing, pottery, or playing music, take advantage of that. Sign up for classes or simply try to do more of these activities at home. Each of these activities is great practice for improving memory, cognitive function or motor skills.

Playing with Music 

There’s nothing more fun than a group of friends or family singing their favourite songs together. Singing improves the patients’ well-being and mood. Also, trying to remember the songs can be an excellent memory practice. Aside from casual singing, there are also some very fun games with songs you can play that mostly rely on this memory aspect of music games. Two very famous examples of these games are “Finish the Lyrics” and “Name that Tune.”

Reminiscence

As a group, you can go through photos, videos, or memories you have with each other and share your experiences. This way, your loved ones can relieve the past memories and share those moments again with all their friends and family. 

Games to Prevent Dementia

Group Activities for Dementia Patients in the Middle Stage

As the disease progresses, it will become harder for patients to participate in games they were fine with in the earlier stages. Therefore, with the progression, we must also progress to think of simpler activities they can still handle. Following are just some examples. 

Sorting Games

This is a fun game you can play with almost any sort of object that pleases you and your loved one. Bottles, cubes, buttons, cards, containers, spoons, and everything else you can think of are suitable for this game. And even the gameplay has different versions based on the objects. You can sort what you have based on size, shape, or colour. Keep in mind that it is recommended not to use objects small enough to be swallowed. While this game may strike you as simple, it is an appropriate activity for someone in the middle stage of dementia. 

Making a Yarn Ball

This might sound simple and mundane, but many people with dementia seem to enjoy it. Just get a yarn, and start rolling it into a ball. Sit in a group and make yarn balls until you are tired of it. That’s all you need to do! Notice that sometimes you might need to demonstrate rolling the yarn and then give it to your loved one. 

Cooking

Even people in the middle stage of dementia might still be able to do the little things around the kitchen. So it’s better to let them participate in kitchen-related activities if they enjoy it. Prepare the ingredients, and give them tasks to help you. Some of the things they can do around the kitchen are:

  • Snapping beans
  • Shucking corn
  • Mashing potatoes
  • Putting groceries away

Group hike in the nature with a loved one who has dementia

Group Activities for Dementia Patients in the Late Stage

While you might think that a person in the later stage of dementia cannot participate in any activity, there are still tons of things you can do together. These can be the simplest things, but they still allow you to share the moment with your loved one. 

People with dementia at the late stage might have lost the ability to walk or talk or perform certain actions independently, but what they have not lost are their five senses, and the following activities rely on those senses.

Sight

Visual activities rely on the eyes and what the patients can see, like watching a fish tank, watching and enjoying fibre optic lights together, or playing with interactive artworks like telling stories with pictures. 

Hearing

These actions focus on hearing ability. One good example is listening to music or wind chimes. You can also take your loved one to a music program. 

Smell

As we said, activities in the end stage of dementia must be simple and easy. If your loved one enjoys the smell of bread, you can take a trip to the bakery or buy different types of bread. Aromatherapy is also a good choice. Another good option is buying scented candles and smelling them without lighting them up. 

Taste

Usually, eating lollipops, pudding, ice cream, or jelly is a super interesting activity for your loved ones with dementia. Please note that some patients may have a problem swallowing food at this stage, so you must consult a healthcare professional first. 

Touch

Hand massages, hugging, playing with different fabrics or dolls that bring the loved one comfort, or pet therapy are excellent examples of tactile group activities with a dementia patient.

Final Words

Group activities serve as excellent bonding moments to let your loved ones know no matter hard things can get, you are still right beside them. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that many programs are tailored to the needs of dementia patients in different stages so they can participate in activities with people who are going through similar conditions. These activities can greatly help them with their mood and well-being. 

FAQ
Source National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners NHS
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