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20 Activities To Keep Those With Dementia Engaged And Happy

Do you know someone with dementia? Discover how to keep them engaged and active with stimulating activities such as puzzles, exercise, and cooking. Learn how to help them stay healthy and improve their memory and thinking skills.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a combination of symptoms related to memory decline and thinking capacity. Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for at least 60-80% of dementia cases. While there is no known cure for dementia, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing the condition. 

Here is a list of stimulating dementia activities to keep your loved one busy and active while also providing them with a sense of accomplishment. If you are busy with work and cannot dedicate the amount of time necessary to do these activities, consider employing a professional caregiver.

It should be noted that the activities are not listed in order of importance.

Tips For Keeping Individuals With Dementia Engaged

  1. Exercise: A study carried out by Rush University Medical Center discovered that increased daily physical activity was associated with improved cognitive and memory abilities. Additionally, those with better motor skills were found to have better thinking and memory skills. Seniors with Dementia also need to stay healthy to avoid other complications. Cardio exercises and other physical activities help increase blood flow and oxygen in the brain. 

  2. Do A Puzzle Together: A 2022 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Evidence showed that crossword puzzles were more effective than other types of brain games in enhancing memory. This doesn’t mean that brain games don’t work but just that puzzles work better. 

  3. Let Them Continue Their Routine: You might want to relieve them of some of their tasks as their condition declines, but you will be doing them more harm than good. They do not need a constant reminder of their declining abilities. This means that if your loved one was enjoying certain tasks, they still will.

  4. Try Some Improvisation: Excessive thinking about the past is saddening for people with dementia as they realise they cannot remember much. Similarly, thinking about the future can intensify anxiety. The present is therefore a very safe place to be. You can try to engage them in some improvisation games.

    Care Concierge Dementia activity - Seniors playing chess

  5. Play Games: As per a research from 2020, when seniors with early and middle-stage dementia played serious board games, video games and virtual reality games, they were able to improve short-term memory, reaction time, problem-solving, and logical reasoning.

  6. Tell A Joke: People with dementia still have a sense of humour. Find activities that you can enjoy together; besides, everyone needs a good laugh to balance life.

  7. Dig In The Garden: This is a good way to enjoy fresh air and exercise. The change of scene can also be good for you as a caregiver. Letting them have their garden or section where they can dig, and weed is a brilliant idea. Weeding, sweeping paths, trimming lawn edges, and general tidying, are all activities that people with dementia can cope with and stay busy.

  8. Give Chair Exercises A Try: Play music that they like and let them do simple chair exercises that involve moving around, raising their arms and bending their legs. You can start with 20 minutes and move up to 40 minutes gradually.

  9. Take A Dip In The Pool: For many individuals, swimming is associated with great childhood memories. It can, therefore, have a positive impact on the individual’s mood, which lasts long even after the swim ends.

  10. Try Tai Chi: This is an exercise-based intervention that is said to prevent falls. It is an ancient Chinese exercise that is carried out slowly, with flowing movements and controlled breathing.

  11. Ride A Bicycle: A tandem bicycle is helpful as you can ride and control the bicycle as the other person pedals. If they already have issues with balance, consider hiring a three-wheeled bicycle, while you cycle alongside them.

  12. Bust A Move: You can enrol your loved one in senior clubs as clubs always include dancing in their calendars. If the person does not know how to dance, they can learn simple dancing styles such as square dancing, which they might enjoy.

  13. Keep A Journal: Every teacher emphasises the value of journaling in one's life. Journaling can help seniors with dementia improve their mental strength and reduce stress.

  14. The Power Of Music: Listening to music has been shown to improve behavioural problems that are common in the middle stages of dementia.

  15. Create A Memory Box: This is a good way to spend time together if you are not planning on going outdoors. Create a memory box of good times and go through it together. The box will help them calm down and relax them when they are feeling anxious.

  16. Visit Somewhere Familiar And Pleasant: It is good to take seniors with dementia to the places they used to love. These could include museums, coffee shops, and public places. Such places may help improve their memory.

  17. Eat And Sleep At The Same Time Each Day: Sick or not, we function best when we eat and sleep at the same time every day. Whenever possible, try to have regular times to eat and sleep. It gives the day a structure and improves focus for the day.

  18. Don’t Be Scared To Talk About Memories: You may be afraid to discuss the past because you don't know how your loved one will react. However, most of the time, talking about happy memories reminds them of their wonderful life.

  19. Take Up Knitting: Knitting stimulates certain brain parts. This includes memory and attention span, which are the main functions affected by dementia. Knitting strengthens these functions, like muscles, and keeps people strong even when they gradually lose cognitive abilities. Note that knitting and other similar activities can slow down the loss of cognitive abilities by 50%.

  20. Cook Or Bake Something Together: Cooking or baking may be a good way of spending time together. As long as it is safe, let them do as much as possible.



Living with someone who has dementia can be difficult. It's heartbreaking to see someone you love forget all the wonderful memories you shared. Regardless of the changes that have occurred, it is time for you to love them and help them live as normally and comfortably as possible.

As their condition progresses in severity, seniors with dementia and their families may require a lot of help. Do reach out to us at Care Concierge if you need specialised care for your family members. If you’re looking to place them in a dedicated dementia home, check out The Mansion or speak to us.

Contact us on 1300 22 8822 or drop us a message using the chat box on this page, to find out more about our caregivers and how they can help make life more convenient for your loved ones and you.