When winter arrives, it can be easy to fall into the habit of staying indoors and lounging about. However, for those with dementia, staying active both mentally and physically is crucial for slowing down the development of dementia and remaining positive and stimulated. Below are our top tips for keep your loved ones with dementia busy and happy regardless of the chilly weather.
Get stuck into arts and crafts
It has been shown that art is one of the most successful activities and therapies for seniors, especially those with dementia. Collaging, painting, and sketching with acrylic markers are all great activities that will keep someone with dementia occupied while stimulating their brains. Producing art encourages self expression and is also a peaceful task which can be a lot of fun. This can be a fantastic way to get younger members of the family involved too!
Bake something sweet
There is nothing nicer than freshly baked sweet treats during winter! Baking can keep you cosy inside, and it doesn’t matter whether the baking turns out perfectly; the fun of making something together is the more important part! Baking is also a great way to stimulate conversation, such as discussing what ingredients will need to be added and, if their dementia hasn’t progressed too far, talking about what kind of baking they did when they were younger.
Take a stroll outside (if the weather’s fine)
If it’s not raining or stormy, getting rugged up and taking a stroll is a great way to spend an afternoon. Fresh air is important, and taking a walk where there is plenty to observe can also stimulate conversation and entertainment. Exercise is a hugely important way to slow the progression of dementia and keep people with dementia in good physical shape, plus it’s a fantastic way to relieve the anxiety felt by many people with dementia.
Especially with winter in full swing, encouraging people with dementia to knit a warm beanie, woollen socks, or scarf for either themselves or a loved one is a great idea. The task does not necessarily need to be done well, but the act of knitting is very stimulating and calming. You could even encourage them to knit a twiddle, which are a calming way to keep their hands busy.
Get the house clean and organised
Cleaning or organising the house is a great way to feel busy and productive – but keep the tasks light, easy and enjoyable. The act of organising and arranging is very stimulating for the brain and can even be a bit of fun if you do it together. Why not try folding washing, making a bed, putting clothes or bedding in the correct place, re-organising the pantry, or tidying up a bookshelf? You’ll find tasks like this will often be easier for people with dementia to remember as they have done them so many times throughout their lives.