Christmas is a special time of the year for older adults and their families. But it can be especially difficult for those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The holiday season can be a trigger for memory loss and confusion, which can make already challenging activities like gift-giving and decorating even more complicated.
Spending time with loved ones, even if they have dementia, is still important during the holidays. But it can be difficult for the whole family to know how to make the most of the time you have together.
There are ways to make holiday activities more enjoyable and less stressful for both dementia patients and their caregivers.
Whether it’s Christmas Day or you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other day – make it special for yourself and your loved ones.
One option is to focus on Christmas activities that are specifically designed for people living with dementia. These activities can help keep the person engaged and can provide a much-needed sense of normalcy and routine during a chaotic time of year.
Why is Arts and Crafts Good for Dementia Patients?
It’s no secret that arts and crafts can be therapeutic. For many people, the act of creating something can be calming and even meditative. But did you know that crafting can also be a beneficial therapeutic intervention technique for dementia patients?
There are many forms of dementia, but the most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
There are a few reasons why arts and crafts activities are good ideas for those living with dementia.
Especially for people living with dementia, leisure and social activities are vital to maintaining a sense of familiarity, routine, and self. Not everyone knows this, but people with dementia can still enjoy life when we help them stay connected to their individual human spirit. When you engage someone in therapeutic activities that are meaningful to them, you can do just that.crisisprevention.com
First, it can help to keep the mind active and engaged. Dementia can cause problems with memory, thinking, and reasoning. Doing arts and crafts can help to slow down this cognitive decline.
Second, crafting can be a great way to socialize. Dementia can make it difficult to interact with others, but working on a project together can be a great way to connect with others.
Third, crafting can be a way to express emotions. For many dementia patients, art can be a way to communicate how they’re feeling when they can’t use words.
Fourth, arts and crafts can provide a sense of accomplishment. Dementia can make it difficult to complete tasks, but crafting can give a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
Fifth, arts and crafts can be therapeutic. The act of creating can be calming and help to reduce anxiety and stress.
Overall, arts and crafts are a great activity for dementia patients. They can help to improve cognitive function, provide social interaction, express emotions, and give a sense of purpose.
If you have a loved one with dementia, consider incorporating arts and crafts into their daily routine.
20 December Activity Ideas for Seniors With Dementia
There are plenty of wonderful activities that family members and caregivers can engage in with their senior loved ones who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The holiday season is the perfect time to get involved in some fun and festive activities that will bring some cheer into the lives of those who may be feeling a bit down. Here are some great ideas for December activities for seniors with dementia:
1. Holiday baking – Getting together to make some holiday treats is a great way to spend time with a loved one with dementia. The process of baking, decorating, and enjoying the finished product can be very therapeutic and enjoyable.
Use simple recipes to avoid any frustration and make sure to help with the measuring and mixing. Here’s a book of Easy Baking recipes.
2. Handmade gifts – In my opinion, nothing says I Love You more than a handmade holiday gift of some kind. It can be as simple as filling an empty jar with candy, or something more elaborate like a knitted scarf or quilt.
Use the skills you already have and create a one-of-a-kind gift for your family and friends. Here’s a link to some kits that can help you get started.
3. Holiday traditions – Almost every family has a few holiday traditions that they engage in. These can be things like baking a specific type of cookie or cake, making a celebratory meal for breakfast on Christmas day, or maybe spending the day with relatives.
Keeping to specific routines is very important for some seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It can help them feel more comfortable and secure in an otherwise uncertain world. So, do your best to incorporate their routine with your holiday traditions.
4. Reminiscing – The holidays are often a time when people get together with family and friends, both old and new. This can provide ample opportunity for seniors to reminisce about past Christmases and other happy memories.
5. Caroling – It’s an old tradition, I know but it’s still a wonderful one, especially if you live in a community that can appreciate it.
But even if you can’t get out to sing a Christmas carol or two, there’s nothing wrong with having your very own private caroling at home!
6. Holiday lights – Taking a stroll to look at Christmas lights is a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the festive season. It’s also a good opportunity to chat and spend time with a loved one.
7. Holiday decorating – Another great activity to do together is putting up holiday decorations. This can be a fun way to get into the spirit of the season and also help to stimulate your loved one’s mind. A great decoration idea would be to make a wreath for your front door.
8. Make some Christmas ornaments – Whether you buy a kit to make ornaments, or knit or crochet some or even just put together some things with a hot glue gun, making your own ornaments can be a great activity for everyone in the family.
9. Holiday cards – making Christmas or other holiday cards can be a wonderful activity to do with anyone. It’s a great way to show your loved one how much you care and also helps to keep their mind active.
If you save your old cards from last year, you can cut them up and use those images to paste onto construction paper to make new cards!
10. Listening to holiday music – The sounds of the season can be very calming and soothing for someone with dementia. It can also bring back happy memories from years past.
Sometimes, some soothing music can relieve a stressful situation which can help both the caregivers and the person with dementia.
11. Attend a holiday concert – if your community or church offers a holiday concert, and your senior loved one is not agitated by large crowds, this can be a wonderful activity for them and the rest of the family.
If they do have problems with the overstimulation of large crowds and noise, then consider watching a holiday concert on a DVD or television or Youtube.
12. Watching holiday movies – There are so many great holiday movies out there that can be enjoyed by everyone. This is a great way to spend some quality time together while also getting into the holiday spirit.
Here is a list of some of the most popular holiday movies.
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- Miracle on 34th Street
- Home Alone
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Holiday Inn
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas
13. Wrapping gifts – There are some simple ways to wrap presents, and then there are some very creative ones with fancy bows or in an unusual container.
14. Share some love – Take some time to bring some crafts or blankets, etc. to a nursing home or women’s shelter. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or pet shelter. The holidays tend to bring out the good side in all of us. (Well, most of us at least!)
15. Go shopping – Whether you live near a mall or a small downtown or town center, it will likely be decorated for the holidays. What a wonderful treat to just visit these places, stop for some coffee or tea or do a little holiday shopping. I would just recommend doing this during off hours to avoid overstimulation for your senior loved one.
16. Make a raffle basket to auction off at a local charity – What a great way to contribute to your community! Have your kids or grandkids help you put together a basket of goodies that can be donated to a local charity. This can be a fun project for the whole family and it’s a great way to give back during the holiday season!
17. Stay connected – Use technology to stay in touch with friends and family, or join an online support group for people with dementia. Video chats with Echo Show or Facetime, etc. can be a wonderful way to get in touch and keep in touch with loved ones.
18. Set a special table – A Christmas dinner or any special holiday dinner deserves a great table setting. Have fun with it and get creative!
19. Board games – As long as you can find a simple game that your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can do – then this can be a great way for a family to enjoy their time together during the holiday season.
20. Dress up – I know there are families out there who create special photo holiday cards and they dress up for the photo. But why not take that tradition and put it on for the holiday itself? So, pick a theme for the holiday dinner and dress up within that theme.
Here are some ideas…
- Western wear (I wonder what cowboys at on Christmas day?)
- Hawaiian Luau complete with grass skirts
- Victorian outfits
- The Jetsons!
You can get even more creative and plan the holiday meal according to the theme.
What Are the Easiest Activities for Dementia Patients to Perform?
Dementia patients can often find it difficult to engage in activities that require mental or physical coordination. However, there are still many easy activities that dementia patients can enjoy.
Keeping dementia patients actively engaged in everyday activities and cognitively challenging tasks is beneficial for both body and mind and, in some cases, it can even slow the progression of the disease. Staying active and engaged can help to reduce dementia sleep problems, as well.seniorlink.com
Some popular activities for dementia patients include: listening to music, watching television, talking with friends and family, going for walks, and looking at pictures. These activities help to provide stimulation and social interaction, which can be beneficial for dementia patients.
It is important to find activities that the patient enjoys and that are appropriate for their level of cognitive decline. It is also important to make sure that the activity does not require too much coordination or mental effort.
Easy activities for dementia patients are often those that are familiar and comfortable. It is helpful to involve the patient’s friends and family in these activities, as they can provide support and assistance.
A variety of easy activities for dementia patients are available, and it is important to experiment to find those that work best for the individual. It is also good to keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another.
Some easy activities for dementia patients that have been found to be helpful include:
- Listening to music
- Looking at photo albums
- Chatting with friends and family members
- Simple Arts and Crafts
- Sorting buttons, socks, nails and screws, coins, etc.
- Folding towels, clothing, sheets, etc.
- Preparing simple meals such as a sandwich
Activities for seniors with dementia can make a big difference in their quality of life. These tasks provide stimulation and can help to ward off boredom, depression, and anxiety. They can also help to improve mood, sleep patterns, and appetite.
You also want to be aware that what may have been simple for them to do 30 days ago may not be simple now. As the disease progresses, their capabilities will change.
What Are Meaningful Activities for Someone With Dementia?
Meaningful activities are essentially those that give purpose to someone’s day. For people with dementia, this can be anything from spending time talking to friends or family, going for a walk, or even just looking at old photos together.
Some meaningful activities you can try are…
- Wrapping holiday gifts.
- Make ornaments.
- Decorate the Christmas tree.
- Create some scrapbooks of family photos.
- Baking holiday treats.
- Cleaning silverware to prepare for the holiday meals.
- Dusting and cleaning.
It’s important to tailor activities to the individual’s interests and abilities, as this will make them more enjoyable and likely to be successful.
What Games Are Good for Dementia Patients?
There are a lot of games out there that can be good for dementia patients. The key is finding ones that they will enjoy and that won’t be too frustrating or confusing for them. Here are a few ideas:
1. Word games: These can help with memory and cognitive skills. Try things like Scrabble, Boggle, or crosswords.
2. Card games: Simple games like Go Fish or War can be fun and easy to understand.
3. Board games: Games, like Connect 4 or Qwirkle, can help with hand-eye coordination and visual tracking skills.
4. Puzzles: Jigsaw puzzles or other kinds of logic puzzles can be great for dementia patients. They help with problem-solving and can be very satisfying to complete.
5. Movement games: Games that get you up and moving around can improve balance and coordination. Try something like Simon Says or musical chairs. Or the Wii console games.
Of course, every person is different, so it’s important to find out what kinds of games your loved one enjoys. There are many different types of games that can be beneficial for dementia patients.
What is an Alzheimer’s Busy Box?
An Alzheimer’s busy box is a small, portable activity center that can provide stimulation and help keep patients with Alzheimer’s disease occupied.
The busy box typically includes a variety of simple activities, such as knob turning, sliding beads, flipping switches, and pressing buttons.
Many busy boxes also include music and lights to add an additional sensory element.
The Alzheimer’s busy box can be an important tool for caregivers, as it can help to provide a moment of respite from the demands of caregiving.
When used in combination with other activities, the busy box can also help to reduce boredom and restlessness. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing Alzheimer’s disease, the busy box can be a helpful tool for many caregivers.
What Puzzles Are Good for Dementia Patients?
Puzzles can be a great way to keep your mind active and engaged, and they can also be a lot of fun. But did you know that puzzles can also be good for dementia patients?
That’s right, puzzles can help to improve cognitive function and memory in people with dementia. So if you’re looking for a way to help your loved one with dementia, puzzles might just be the answer.
In conclusion, there are many Christmas activities that can be enjoyed by seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s. With a little creativity and planning, these seniors can still experience the joy and happiness that Christmas brings.