7 Stimulating Memory Care Activities and Why They’re Important

A senior woman in memory care is reading a book with her adult daughter.

If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it may be hard to know how to help them. Of course, you want to make their life as easy as possible but it may be difficult to know exactly what they need. Are the questions you’re asking them and the activities you’re doing with them right for their needs?

In short, it’s not always easy to know exactly what your parent is going through. However, the more time you spend with them and the more activities you complete together, the more comfortable you’ll become knowing that what you’re doing really is helping them.

You may be wondering if activities really are crucial to helping your parent. We’ve compiled a list to help you know that yes, they are — and what activities can help your parent.

Related: How to Communicate with Your Parent’s Healthcare Providers

Why Are Memory Care Activities So Important?

1. Connect with others

Spending time with your loved one will mean more to them than you know, especially when you are making an effort to help them strengthen their cognitive abilities.

2. Keep enjoying activities they always have

Everyone wants to maintain a sense of independence, no matter what age they are. Continue to show your loved one how much they mean to you by doing activities with them that they’ve always enjoyed, such as knitting or gardening.

3. Continue a weekly routine

It’s important that your loved one continues what they’re used to doing, and incorporating activities into their weekly routine can be a great way to consistently be there for them. Consider visiting once a week and doing the same thing with them when you visit, such as a game of checkers or reading their favorite book together.

4. Help maintain cognitive abilities

It’s no secret that participating in these activities with your parent will help keep them sharp, and you’ll benefit by spending time with them. Check out this list below of activities that you can try at home, or when you visit them in a memory care community.

Related: Your First 48 Hours in Post-Hospital Rehabilitation

Memory Stimulating Activities to Try with Your Parent

So, now that you know that memory care activities are crucial for your loved one’s health, here are 7 activities to try with your parent:

1. Clean the house

Continuing everyday routines are important to someone with dementia, and a great activity to do together is to clean the house or place they’re staying in. This will establish a feeling of security and familiarity for your parent.

2. Listen to music

Listening to music together will help calm your parent and help them remember songs they love to listen to. Music can also help bring back memories.

3. Bake/Cook Together

Another activity your loved one might love to do is bake or cook. This is an easy way to continue to spend time with them, and baking or cooking simple recipes together can remind them how much they love doing this activity.

4. Play Games

You can help your parent maintain their motor skills by playing simple games with them — like checkers or card games. These games can help with memory and offer a sense of accomplishment.

5. Knitting/Painting

If your loved one used to love doing arts and crafts, consider encouraging them to paint or knit. This activity can help them remember how much they enjoy doing this, and help them use their hands and cognitive functions as well.

6. Get out in the garden

You may want to consider spending time with them in the garden. Your parent can help you with things such as raking, pulling weeds, or watering the flowers. They may not be able to do every activity they once did, but giving them small but meaningful tasks can help them feel a sense of accomplishment.

Related: 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

7. Read together – or read to them

Your loved one may not be able to read like they used to, but inspire them to read a little bit each time you visit. If that’s not an option, consider reading their favorite book to them.

Related: Visual or Audible: Great Books For Seniors in Long-Term Care

See the Difference at MacIntosh

Memory loss is serious and it’s sometimes difficult for caregivers to provide all the necessary care on their own. Many family caregivers will choose to move those with memory issues to a memory care community where the staff is highly trained to deal with specific memory issues.

At MacIntosh,  we offer memory care programs at two of our communities, Monterey and West Park. Our communities include an outside courtyard, courteous and consistent staff members, many activities and a monthly support group. Learn more about the one-of-a-kind care we provide here.

Learn More About Long Term Care