Everyone knows it’s good to keep your brain active as you age. When people have Alzheimer’s, however, their ability to participate in certain activities diminishes. So what can you do with Alzheimer’s?

The answer is lots of things! One of my first assignments in Social Work School was to facilitate a Reminiscence Group for seniors at an Adult Day Center. I would dig up old magazines from the 1940s and 1950s and bring in pictures of popular images from that era. One of the most memorable ones was an article about fresh baked bread.

Baking bread is not done as much as it was during previous generations but the memories it brought up for the group members were all positive. Oftentimes during the beginning of Alzheimer’s people can remember things from decades ago, but cannot remember what they had for breakfast that morning. So any activities that remind them of happy times in the past are a great way to keep their minds active.

Another client I visit often loves to do puzzles. She becomes completely distracted from whatever is currently giving her anxiety and focuses on the puzzle. It also brings a sense of accomplishment when the puzzle is completed. Just make sure to get one with 300 or less pieces depending on the level of dementia the individual is experiencing.

Listening to music, oftentimes older tunes from decades before, is a great activity. Coloring pictures and looking at old photo albums are both activities people enjoy. Even folding laundry can provide an individual with an activity where they feel that they are contributing. The Alzheimer’s Association has a very comprehensive list of activities that people can do entitled “101 Activities for People with Alzheimer’s” – CLICK HERE

So the next time your loved one needs a distraction or is looking for something to do, try one of these activities. I think you’ll be happy with the result.

Roslyn Paine, MSW, LSW
DignityFirst Health at Home Care Manager