During the cold winter months, there are many activities that older adults, including people living with Dementia, can enjoy when residing in a care home or nursing home. Carefully considered activities are beneficial for skill development, help to keep the mind active and engaged, and encourage individuals to socialise with like-minded people.
Whether you’re looking for ideas for activities to suggest to a friend or relative living with Dementia, or are interested in suggestions to host your own activities, we have gathered some of the most popular ideas that are ideal to enjoy all year round, but especially during the winter months.
We believe positive and successful dementia activities should:
Recreating favourite dishes is a great way to bring a wonderful wave of nostalgia to anyone’s day, especially those living with Dementia. To enjoy the benefits this comforting activity can bring, we advise selecting a simple, easy-to-prepare recipe that is easy to follow and make. People with dementia can be trusted with prep work alongside supervision. When executed in a safe and secure environment, cooking and baking, and recreating recipes passed down through generations can help rekindle important memories, feeling a sense of self worth when cooking for others and enjoying delicious food by the end of it.
No-bake recipes can also serve the same purpose while reducing safety risks. You can discover top no-bake dessert recipes recommended by the BBC.
A simple but highly effective activity to enjoy during the wintertime is to cosy up under a blanket and watch a movie. A movie has the power to bring a group of people together and allow them to share emotions and is a great conversation starter. This type of activity is great for everyone, especially those living with Dementia.
Re-watching home videos have the ability to spark and stimulate nostalgic memories. Even if a loved one doesn’t remember the past event they watch, we recommend still sharing home videos; it’s incredibly beneficial to share videos of people and events from their life and it will help to stay engaged if they have a short attention span. It's also important for residents to spend time with a family member in person or through video calls.
Listening to music and singing songs from a person's younger days, even all the way back to nursery rhymes are commonly known and recognised to help individuals reminisce and spark wonderful memories. When doing so, it has the ability to bring people together especially at important times during the year such as Christmas.
As stated by NHS England, music therapy in care homes can have many benefits. It can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, provokes sensory stimulation and enhances a person's self confidence; we believe it’s important that care facilities have access to music and regular exposure to music within their activities for dementia patients, and where they have the option to play a musical instrument.
Engaging in sensory activities has proven to be highly beneficial for dementia residents, providing them with a holistic and enriching experience that enhances their overall well-being. Sensory activities stimulate various senses, including sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, offering a therapeutic approach to address the cognitive and emotional aspects of dementia. The benefits of sensory activities for dementia residents include improved mood, reduced agitation and anxiety, increased social interaction, and enhanced cognitive function.
Several types of sensory experiences are suitable for dementia residents in care homes, tailored to their individual preferences and needs. Visual activities, such as viewing colorful artwork or photos, can evoke positive memories and emotions. Tactile activities, like handling textured objects or fabrics, provide a comforting and stimulating experience. Auditory activities, such as listening to familiar music or nature sounds, can elicit calming responses. Aromatherapy, involving essential oils like lavender or citrus, can trigger positive memories and relaxation. Additionally, activities like gentle massage, soft lighting, and reminiscence therapy contribute to a multi-sensory approach that promotes a sense of connection and engagement.
Arts and crafts, such as painting, play dough, flower arranging and wreath making are wonderful and enjoyable options for the elderly, especially people with Dementia. Creative activities encourage creative thinking and self-expression without being physically demanding and is ideal for people of all ages and abilities. A fun activity to do with dementia residents is to make a memory box. This is easy to do and will encourage residents to reminisce about a time in their life and remember things such as their first car or wedding day by including old photo albums, letters, and objects.
Arts and crafts are usually delivered to a group in a shared space in a care home. Group activities encourage people to spend quality time with others including fellow residents, staff and family members which creates new friendships and helps to foster meaningful relationships. Through experience, we know that individuals who participate in regular arts & crafts activities are typically happier and more connected to others, it helps individuals create memories that last a lifetime. Using your hands regularly can also help with an individual's motor skills which are incredibly important during the later stages of Dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other degenerate health conditions.
To discover over eighty DIY Christmas Crafts suitable for elderly, including those living with Dementia, visit countryliving.com.
Activities such as puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, board games and online games played on digital devices through dedicated dementia apps are hugely beneficial for visual stimulation, tactile stimulation and mental development, which are believed to help slow down the progression of certain health conditions. Enjoying puzzles, either as a solo activity or as part of a group, allows people to have hours of fun, to be fully engaged and to feel a sense of achievement once completed. In any stage of Dementia or Alzheimer's, puzzles are said to have the ability to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the condition as well as provide a sense of independence.
We believe it’s important to engage in physical activity and get fresh air even throughout the winter months. Being outdoors comes with a host of mental and physical benefits, and is something we recommend doing safely, and as regularly as possible. Activities can be enjoyed with a loved one as well as in a big group. Just remember to wrap up warm and stay safe when venturing outdoors. Certain gentle exercise sessions can also be carried out indoors, such as yoga, tai chi and seated exercises which are great fun.
There is so much to do outdoors, why not travel to a scenic nearby location for a leisurely walk, take in the views, enjoy a picnic, birdwatch or even attend a sporting event?
Pets have been proven to relieve stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve emotional wellbeing. Being introduced to, or enjoying an animal’s presence through Pet Therapy is a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits different animals can bring. Research suggests that animals have the ability to boost residents' overall health and well-being. This type of therapy uses trained animals as a form of companionship and treatment for people of all ages and medical needs with the aim of improving emotional, social and/or cognitive skills, making it the ideal activity for dementia residents.
Templeton House is a luxury, purpose-built care home located in the pleasant town of Ayr.
We proudly offer Dementia Care at Templeton House which is customised to each individual. Our dementia team has undergone extensive, specialised training in dealing with all types of dementia and progressional stages. We are committed to giving our staff every chance to develop their knowledge in this field so that we can provide the finest dementia care and support to each and every one of our residents living with the condition. We provide all of the dementia friendly activities mentioned in this blog as well as much more. We want our home in Ayr to be a homely space for our dementia residents and therefore implement basic everyday tasks such as putting fitted sheets on beds and folding hand towels to help provide familiarity with tasks of their past.
We also provide comprehensive Residential Care, Nursing Care and Respite Care on a 24-hour basis for older people. From the moment you arrive at Templeton House Care Home, our staff goes out of their way to make sure residents have everything they could need to live a full and happy life in Ayr. Each resident has access to a plethora of all-inclusive facilities and services including a full activities programme, rooftop gardens, hair salon and library for them to carry out their hobbies with ease.
If you have any questions regarding Dementia Care or daily life at Templeton House, get in touch with our helpful team today. Call 01292 291 232 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will be happy to answer your questions.