5 Indoor Activities for Those Living with Dementia

Whilst social distancing guidance and shielding remains in place for the most vulnerable, it’s important to consider the wellbeing of those people and those living with dementia. Staying active, from both a mental and physical perspective, is vital for boosting mood and maintaining overall wellbeing, and during a time when going out is not as feasible, indoor activities are the perfect alternative. There are a wide variety of different indoor activities which are suitable for someone living with dementia, and we’ll discuss just a few here.

Reminiscence

As someone progresses along the dementia journey, long term memories which have emotional significance may become easier to recall than short term memories. These long-term memories can often be sparked with certain stimuli and when remembered, can encourage positive emotions, spark conversations and boost mood.

Reminiscence based activities often have prompts which can help spark these meaningful memories and can include things such as, watching a favourite film, listening to a piece of music, or looking through old photographs. Asking gentle questions surrounding each object can help spark memories and the joy of remembering will have great effects on mood.

A brilliant reminiscence activity which can be revisited time and again, is building a memory box. This can include a variety of meaningful objects from ticket stubs, to family photographs or perhaps a loved one’s perfume. The box can be revisited as part of reminiscence activities in the future and provide a great way to evoke memories.

Creative

Art therapy and creative activities have been shown to have numerous benefits for someone living with dementia, such as providing a platform for self-expression, creating a sense of achievement, relaxation and encouraging communication.

There are a wide array of creative dementia activities which can be fun to explore. Colouring and painting can be brilliant for relaxing and expressing emotions and you can even explore doing still life or using photographs as a reference.

Other activities such as flower arranging can be brilliant for engaging the senses along with utilising motor skills and can be a great way to explore creativity.

Cooking

Cooking and baking are often activities which many people enjoy taking part in, and as someone progresses along the dementia journey, it’s important to continue with familiar activities. Whilst some cooking activities may not be suitable from a safety perspective, there are still a variety of ways to remain involved. Stirring sauces, kneading bread or simply enjoying the finished product can all be fantastic for engaging the senses, encouraging conversations and boosting mood.

Gardening

Although going outdoors as much may not be possible, and if you don’t have a private garden, indoor gardening can be the perfect alternative. Whether you decide the plant from seed, or perhaps just maintain an established plant, seeing the flowers bloom and the plant grow can provide an excellent sense of achievement, and tending to the indoor garden can be highly relaxing.

Indoor gardening can also help to maintain connections with the outdoor world, providing sensory experiences.

Music

Listening to a favourite song can be brilliant for boosting mood and sparking memories for someone living with dementia. Why not listen to older familiar songs and asking questions such as ‘did you dance to this when you were young?’ or ‘did they play this song at the dancehall?’ - gentle questions can provide excellent prompts for memories and conversations.

You can also have a sing a long, or perhaps if the person is able, have a dance as this can be a great way to boost endorphins and mood whilst getting gentle exercise.

There are a wide variety of indoor activities which are fantastic for someone living with dementia. Each person is different so consider their likes and dislikes in order to get the most out of each activity.

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