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Games & Activities for Seniors with Dementia

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A senior woman and her daughter sitting on a couch smiling and talking to each other while holding a cup of tea.

We all know that games can be a lot of fun, no matter what age you are. But did you know that games can also be beneficial for seniors with dementia, especially while living in memory care?

Whether it’s playing memory games or creating art, engaging in stimulating activities can help improve cognitive function and inspire wellness for life in seniors with dementia.

So, let’s take a look at some games and activities that can bring joy and laughter to seniors with dementia while also keeping their minds and bodies active!

Memory Games

Memory games can be a great way for seniors with dementia to stimulate their cognitive function and exercise their memory.

Memory games can be played alone or with others and are simple to modify for players of various skill levels. Here are a few memory games to try:

  • Memory match: Find the pairs of cards with matching images or numbers by turning over the cards in the classic game of memory match. Start out with fewer cards and increase the number as your loved one gains confidence.
  • Name that tune: Music can be a powerful tool to stimulate memories and improve mood. Name That Tune involves playing short clips of familiar songs and having your loved one try to name the song and artist. This game can also be adapted to include songs from different eras and genres.
  • Conversation starters: Engaging seniors in conversation can help them feel connected and reduce feelings of loneliness. Talk to your loved one with questions that may trigger their memories. For example, “What was your favorite vacation?” or “What was your first job?”. This can be a fun way to recall happy memories.

Physical Games

Physical activities like the following games can help improve balance and coordination in seniors with dementia as well as their mood. These games can be played indoors or outdoors and can be modified for different activity levels.

  • Chair yoga: Seniors with dementia can benefit from gentle chair yoga to increase their flexibility, balance, and relaxation. This kind of yoga is practiced while seated, making it an excellent form of exercise for people with mobility issues. You can also look up senior chair yoga routines online.
  • Indoor bowling: Set up a makeshift bowling alley in a hallway or living room using plastic bottles or cones and a soft ball. This game can also help improve hand-eye coordination.
  • Walking club: Encouraging seniors to take walks around the block or in a nearby park can help improve their physical health. Walking can be done at the senior’s own pace and can provide an opportunity for socializing and enjoying the outdoors.

Sensory Games

Seniors with dementia can benefit from sensory games that engage them and help to stimulate their senses. These games can help seniors feel less stressed and promote relaxation.

  • Aromatherapy: Using essential oils to create a relaxing and calming atmosphere can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Scents like lavender, peppermint, and citrus can provide seniors with a sensory experience that promotes relaxation.
  • Sensory box: Fill a container with objects with various textures, like pom-poms, cotton balls, or beads. Seniors should be encouraged to explore and touch various textures.

Taste test challenge: Give seniors a variety of foods with various flavors and textures, and ask them to identify them in a taste test challenge. Their sense of taste may be stimulated by this game, which may also inspire them to try new foods.

A senior man sitting on a couch wearing headphones and listening to music.

Creative Activities

Creative activities can help seniors with dementia express themselves, explore their imagination, and promote their emotional health.

  • Storytelling: Seniors with dementia who are encouraged to tell stories can improve their imagination and memory while also having the chance to share their experiences and make new friends. 
  • Collages: Give seniors the tools they need to make a collage on a poster board, such as magazines, glue, and scissors.
  • Music therapy: Music can be a powerful tool to promote emotional health and reduce feelings of isolation and depression. Music therapy involves listening to or creating music to help improve mood and cognitive function.
  • Painting or drawing: Making art can be therapeutic because it encourages self-expression while lowering stress and anxiety. To foster creativity and a sense of accomplishment, simple painting or drawing activities can be offered, such as coloring books or watercolor painting.

Memory Care at Boden Senior Living

Engaging seniors with dementia in stimulating activities can help improve their quality of life. By giving seniors a chance to interact with others in our community and develop new relationships, these activities can lessen feelings of loneliness and depression. If you’re interested in finding out more about games and activities at Boden Senior Living, and how our community can benefit your loved one with dementia, contact us.

Written by Lifespark

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