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10 Activities for Seniors With Dementia

Written by OurParents Staff
 about the author
7 minute readLast updated February 12, 2024

As a caregiver, you know that finding the balance between providing essential care to your loved one and ensuring they enjoy their days can be tough. The more complex caregiving becomes, the harder it is to focus on activities that boost your loved one’s quality of life. Creating a list of fun things to do with dementia patients can easily slip to the bottom of the pile, but there are some options already available. Here’s a simple list of 10 fun activity ideas for seniors with dementia aimed at boosting their daily quality of life.

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1. Crafting

Crafts keep hands busy and minds focused on doing something creative. If your loved one is in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may want to stick with simpler crafts that aren’t too complicated, but be sure to choose projects that aren’t too childish. Your loved one should enjoy the time spent crafting and ultimately feel proud of whatever they end up creating.

2. Gardening

Gardening is a healthy activity that can get your loved one outside and focused on something that requires enjoyable work and progress. Research also suggests that spending time outside can boost mood and alleviate feelings of depression.[01] As an added benefit, gardening can produce beautiful flowers or even fresh, healthy produce that can be added to a well-rounded diet.

3. Cooking and baking

Like gardening, cooking is an activity that provides your parent with a way to keep busy while making something delicious. It is also one of the most beneficial activities for dementia patients, as it offers a sense of normalcy and the joy of creating something. However, you should always supervise your loved one while cooking to keep them safe.
Equipping an aging parent with the proper ingredients and means to put together a tasty meal or dessert — especially one that they enjoyed cooking before their diagnosis — can leave them with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that their day was productive.
Note that cooking more complex recipes may become increasingly difficult as your loved one’s condition progresses. Try preparing and measuring out certain ingredients ahead of time to simplify the process, or look for easier recipes for their favorite dishes.

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4. Spending time with animals

Animals bring out the best in many of us. Some assisted living facilities even bring in visiting therapy animals to provide seniors with an opportunity to give and receive unconditional love. The results are often impressive — dementia patients who have kept to themselves for months suddenly show joy again in the presence of an affectionate animal.
If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, volunteering at a local animal shelter, visiting with family members’ pets, or getting a pet of their own can greatly benefit their quality of life.

5. Doing improv theater

This type of group comedy, which involves making things up on the spot, is emerging as a popular choice among dementia activities for seniors. Not only is improv a fun way to spend an hour or two and a good opportunity for socializing but it is also being recognized as one of the most valuable dementia activities for seniors.
Research has found evidence that improv acting provides a sense of comfort, positivity, and self-awareness for seniors who participate in it.[02] Improv focuses on living in the moment and going with the flow, which is particularly beneficial for those who struggle with confusion, making it an excellent addition to dementia activities for seniors.

6. Listening to and creating music

Music therapy for dementia is commonly used to help seniors enjoy their lives more, but you don’t have to go to weekly sessions in a doctor’s office for this activity. Simply play music for your loved one regularly. Listening to music and singing along to favorite tunes offers both joy and a sense of connection to cherished memories. It’s a delightful pastime and one of the most fun activities for seniors with dementia.

7. Solving puzzles

Puzzles are a fun and challenging way to keep your parent’s brain active and increase dexterity. If regular puzzles aren’t your loved one’s cup of tea, you can look into puzzles designed specifically for dementia patients from online retailers. These puzzles are simpler and more accessible, ensuring they provide engagement without causing frustration. The design of these puzzles also considers the unique needs of dementia patients, making them a suitable choice.

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8. Playing games

Complicated board games like Monopoly might not be a great option for your loved one, but there are plenty of games for seniors with dementia that may still be fun and manageable. Some examples include:
  • Card games (Solitaire, poker, hearts, etc.)
  • Bingo
  • Scrabble
  • Checkers
  • Dominoes
  • Yahtzee
  • Rummy
  • Mahjong
These simple games for dementia patients provide the added benefit of being a social opportunity for your loved one. There is also an entire category of brain-training games for memory that could be a great option for your loved one with dementia.

9. Walking

Walking is simple, and it helps your loved one stay healthy. Going on walks is one of those convenient dementia activities that offers numerous opportunities to engage with our surroundings. Some seniors may enjoy getting in touch with nature, while others might prefer people-watching on outings.
You can shake things up by taking your loved one to different areas of town for regular walks. Exploring new places and things is a good way to keep life from becoming monotonous.
If your parent is in the later stages of the disease, keep an eye out for signs of agitation. Unfamiliar settings may be disorienting for some seniors with dementia. You might also consider getting new shoes for seniors with dementia to help make the walk more comfortable.

10. Doing household tasks

It may not sound like the most fun activity, but doing chores around the house can serve a useful purpose for aging adults (and not just in terms of having a cleaner home). That sense of accomplishment can be extra rewarding each time your loved one finishes folding clothes or drying dishes.
After all, household chores are likely something they’ve been doing their entire life. Keeping up with the good habits can help them retain a sense of normalcy.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of activities that elderly individuals with dementia can enjoy. Anything that a senior with dementia loved doing throughout their life that’s still safe for them to do can be a good activity to build into their daily or weekly routine.
The most important point is that staying physcially and mentally active is important for those with dementia. Whether it’s established activities or new ones they discover, make sure your loved one has numerous activities that keep them participating in life and finding fulfillment each day.


  1. Jimenez, M. P., DeVille, N. V., Elliott, E. G., Schiff, J. E., Wilt, G. E., Hart, J. E., & James, P. (2021, April 30). Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

  2. Hong, A., Welch-Stockton, J., Kim, J. Y., Canham, S. L., Greer, V., & Sorweid, M. (2023, January 31). Age-Friendly Community Interventions for Health and Social Outcomes: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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