12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (2023)

Table of Contents

What is Dementia?

How do Games Help Dementia Patients?

Games for Dementia Patients

1. Crossword puzzles

2. Card Games

3. Bingo

4. Word games or Board games

Other Effective Activities for Dementia Patients

1. Creating a memory box

2. Chair Exercises

3. Art Projects

4. Everyday Activities

5. Setting up a fish tank

6. Hands-on activities

7. Jokes

8. Tai Chi

In the End

Dementia is the gradual deterioration in the cognitive abilities of a person which ultimately starts affecting their daily activities. Difficulty in thinking, remembering, making decisions, and having problems with paying attention are some of the common symptoms of dementia.

However, research suggests engaging in games can prove to be extremely beneficial for dementia patients. For dementia patients, engaging in games along with medication, and therapies can help in alleviating the symptoms.

Intrigued to know how? Stick to the end of the article then to know about 12 fun games for dementia patients.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not specifically a particular disease but rather considered an umbrella term under which various other diseases are identified.

The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which initially starts with mild memory but progresses to a stage where a person loses the ability to respond to their surroundings.

12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (1)

Alzheimer’s patients suffer from memory loss and confusion. There is no permanent cure for Alzheimer’s disease but with medication and management strategies, symptoms can be effectively reduced.

Dementia is a very common type of disease. It is a chronic disease and can last for years. Dementia patients have problems in:

  • Keeping up with conversations
  • Difficulty in planning things
  • Reduction in thinking skills
  • Changes in mood or behavior

[Dementia is a very broad term and if you are interested to know more about the disease and its various stages, click here.]

How do Games Help Dementia Patients?

One of the most common symptoms suffered by dementia patients is isolation and pulling back from social settings. This is mainly due to the fear of being judged for their inability to perform daily tasks. This affects their communication skills with other people.

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To help with this, patients could engage in games for dementia patients that are stage-specific and enhance their mental stimulation as well as sensory stimulation. It could help in improving brain health and allow dementia-affected patients to interact with other patients more easily.

Care providers for dementia patients can play games with them to help stimulate their cognitive function. Research shows that these game therapies have a better effect on the cognitive skills of dementia patients compared to other treatment procedures.

Games for dementia patients also help reduce stress and preserve memory-based skills that could help the patients in the long run.

Even though it is just a game, it really helps in keeping the patients positive and happy at the same time. It is very difficult for the loved ones of the patients to gradually see them lose their memory. Playing games for dementia patients can keep the environment cheerful and stress-free for everyone.

Games for Dementia Patients

Apart from helping with strengthening the mental health of patients, games for dementia patients also allow them to stay mentally active and provide an outlet to grow their creativity.

Some effective games for dementia patients are:

1. Crossword puzzles

One of the brain games that may help with delaying the onset of symptoms is crossword puzzles. Playing crossword puzzles is fun and can help the patients feel calm and content.

12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (3)

Jigsaw puzzles are an ideal game for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients as well. They are therapeutic and also improve the short-term memory of the patients.

Research also says that playing crossword puzzles helps prevent dementia during older age and leads to a much slower neurological decline.

2. Card Games

Playing card games can be a great activity for older adults suffering from dementia. Patients in the early stages of dementia can play games like solitaire, go fish, blackjack, or war, and during the advanced stages of Dementia, simply shuffling them or matching them by color or suit works great as well.

12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (4)

A matching game helps to improve concentration, and hand-eye coordination and boosts the memory muscle. Playing cards is a fun way to spend the afternoon and allows the patients to have social interaction with others.

3. Bingo

One of the best games for dementia patients is bingo. Elderly people can spend time in large groups and play bingo.

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It is a game that people of all ages can play and it also helps to improve the memory, attention span, and thought process of the patients. The cognitive level of people with Alzheimer’s also improves and also encourages socialization among people.

4. Word games or Board games

There are a lot of games for dementia patients specially made for them to enjoy and play in their free time. These games keep the minds of the patients active and their thinking skills are less likely to decline. Spending time playing a board game can be calming and even help in managing blood pressure levels.

Many seniors face problems with hand dexterity and problem-solving skills in the advanced stages. These games help with these problems and improve memory of the dementia patients. You can check out some of the word and board games for dementia patients here.

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Other Effective Activities for Dementia Patients

Apart from the above-mentioned games for dementia patients, there are some other activities too that can prove to be beneficial for them as well.

Mentioned down below are some of the most effective and fun activities for dementia patients.

1. Creating a memory box

One of the games for dementia patients could be to create a memory box. They can put anything, from photos to newspaper cutting and anything absurd that may hold some significant value for them.

12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (7)

Memory boxes can help patients feel connected to their past. Every person has a different story to tell and these memory boxes can be the start of some great storytelling, talking and celebrating the past and the old memories that they love.

2. Chair Exercises

It is very important for people with dementia to regularly exercise and maintain their physical well-being. Chair exercises are therefore an excellent option for games for dementia patients. It also provides great opportunities to socialize with others.

12 Fun Activities And Games For Dementia Patients (8)

Many videos of such exercises are available online and even a family member can help their loved ones with this fun activity. These exercises are a great way to reduce pain and fall risk and improve the strength and flexibility of the patients.

Even older adults can take part by doing seated exercises.

3. Art Projects

Engaging the creative side of people with dementia can be a way to provide an outlet for self-expression. Drawing, painting, listening to music, sculpting, and writing can be some of the ways to absorb the attention of the patients.

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Completing these art projects can create a sense of accomplishment in people with Alzheimer’s. Sometimes, patients also find it difficult to communicate with others about their feeling and feel trapped in their bodies. Art provides them with the freedom of expression to draw and create anything according to their mood and feelings.

4. Everyday Activities

Doing the usual chores around the house in the early stages can be one of the games for dementia patients. Occupying people with dementia in everyday activities like dusting, setting the table, making the bed, washing teeth, and getting dressed can fill them with purpose and pleasure.

These sensory activities also keep their mind active and help them cope with short-term memory loss by engaging in activities that are familiar. Helping with these activities in the house also makes them feel valued and appreciated in the family and allows them to spend more time with their loved ones.

5. Setting up a fish tank

Dementia affects the appetite of the patients and also may be one of the contributing factors to depression in some patients. Setting up fish tanks in the living room or the dining room in the memory care facility can help with these effects as has been proved by research.

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Colorful fishes in brightly colored tanks have also been proven to reduce disruptive behavior and keep the patients more relaxed. The living environment really matters a lot in the case of people with dementia and these fish tanks can help brighten up the place as well as provide a therapeutic effect.

6. Hands-on activities

Sensory activities can be very calming and relaxing for Alzheimer’s patients. Activities like flower arranging, hand massage, play dough, and going for walks for fresh air can be some of the hands-on activities that can brighten a day for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

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People with all kinds of professions may like to do different things, a former office worker may enjoy organizing things, and a person who was a farmer may like tending to the garden. Doing familiar activities also helps reduce stress and anxiety, eventually improving the overall well-being of the patient.

7. Jokes

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There is never a wrong time for a good laugh. Caregivers can pay attention to the moods and energy levels of the patients and if they feel anxious, jokes can never go wrong to turn their day more positive side.

Laughing at a good joke can calm the person down and help them to redirect their negative emotions.

8. Tai Chi

Tai chi or Qigong is a form of martial art that helps in soothing and relaxing patients. All the exercises can be molded and made age-appropriate. Tai chi has proved to effectively slow down the progress of dementia compared to other physical exercises.

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It is a safe and effective mind-body exercise for older people and helps to reduce anxiety. Research also says that Qigong prevents Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the older adult population.

In the End

Now there you go, a list of some fun activities and games for dementia patients. Dementia can be combatted effectively with game therapy and required medications and treatment.

Hopefully, our article was able to shed some light on the methods.


What are some good activities for someone with dementia? ›

Do something outside.
  • Take a walk.
  • Plant flowers.
  • Water plants.
  • Feed the birds.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Go to the park.
  • Sit on a bench or a swing.
  • Watch dogs at a dog park.

What games keep dementia patients occupied? ›

Jigsaw puzzles, dominos, playing cards, dice, and word puzzles are simple games that can be easily adapted as Alzheimer's recreational activities for the person in your care. Find a jigsaw puzzle with a picture of something they like, such as flowers, a mountain scene, or a favourite animal.

What activities help with dementia agitation? ›

Go for a walk or on an outing for a change of scenery. Physical activity has additional benefits on mood, memory, and lowering anxiety. Add massage and touch therapy, or just provide a calming hand massage. Incorporate music into your loved one's daily routine.

How to reduce boredom with dementia? ›

Activities can give relaxation and pleasure

Many people enjoy creative hobbies such as playing a musical instrument, knitting or painting. Others enjoy social contact, so it is important to keep this up as much as possible. A person with dementia may enjoy an outing even if they may not remember where they have been.

What are 3 things to never do with your loved one with dementia? ›

  • Say “do you remember?” This can cause anger or embarrassment.
  • Argue. If they say something that's not correct, just let it go.
  • Point out mistakes. ...
  • Assume they don't remember anything. ...
  • Take mean or nasty things they say personally. ...
  • Talk down to them. ...
  • Talk about them with other people as if they're not there.

How do you cheer up a dementia patient? ›

Continue reading to find out some suggestions of activities to do with you loved ones living with dementia and Alzheimer's.
  1. Exercise and physical activity. ...
  2. Reminisce about their life. ...
  3. Engage them in their favourite activities. ...
  4. Cooking and baking. ...
  5. Animal therapy. ...
  6. Go out and about. ...
  7. Explore nature. ...
  8. Read their favourite book.
Jun 26, 2017

What is the best exercise for dementia? ›

Types of exercise for people with dementia
  • Gardening. Gardening is a physical activity that provides an opportunity to get outdoors and is enjoyed by many people. ...
  • Indoor bowls/skittles. ...
  • Dance. ...
  • Seated exercises. ...
  • Swimming. ...
  • Tai chi/qigong. ...
  • Walking.

What calms dementia patients? ›

Use calming phrases such as: "You're safe here;" "I'm sorry that you are upset;" and "I will stay until you feel better." Let the person know you are there. Involve the person in activities. Try using art, music or other activities to help engage the person and divert attention away from the anxiety.

How do you defuse anger in dementia? ›

How to respond
  1. Try to identify the immediate cause. ...
  2. Rule out pain as the cause of the behavior. ...
  3. Focus on feelings, not the facts. ...
  4. Don't get upset. ...
  5. Limit distractions. ...
  6. Try a relaxing activity. ...
  7. Shift the focus to another activity. ...
  8. Take a break.

What are the five safety smells that are lost with dementia? ›

Losing the ability to smell peppermint, fish, orange, rose and leather could be an accurate early warning sign of dementia, according to a new study. The ability of nearly 3,000 people aged 57 to 85 to detect these five odours was tested by scientists.

What do you put in a dementia rummage box? ›

What to include in a memory box?
  1. Photographs and newspaper cuttings. Looking at old pictures of friends and family can help to stir happy memories. ...
  2. Body lotion, perfume or bar of soap. ...
  3. Music. ...
  4. Favourite biscuits. ...
  5. Mementos and souvenirs.
May 17, 2017

Why is isolation bad for dementia? ›

One of the most likely ways that social isolation impacts brain function is by suppressing emotional health. Depression is quite common among dementia patients, appearing in 9 to 68 percent of them, and may play a key role in cognitive decline.

Is TV good for dementia patients? ›

For people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, watching TV can help keep their brain active, which can stimulate positive memories, improve mood, and even increase socialization.

What is the 5 word memory test? ›

Administration: The examiner reads a list of 5 words at a rate of one per second, giving the following instructions: “This is a memory test. I am going to read a list of words that you will have to remember now and later on. Listen carefully. When I am through, tell me as many words as you can remember.

What are the three golden rules of dementia? ›

SPECAL sense begins with three Golden Rules: Don't ask direct questions. Listen to the expert – the person with dementia – and learn from them. Don't contradict.

What are easy chores for dementia patients? ›

Here are some daily activities people with Alzheimer's may enjoy: Household chores: Wash dishes, set the table, prepare food, sweep the floor, dust, sort mail and clip coupons, sort socks and fold laundry, sort recycling materials or other things.

What are the signs dementia is getting worse? ›

increasing confusion or poor judgment. greater memory loss, including a loss of events in the more distant past. needing assistance with tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, and grooming. significant personality and behavior changes, often caused by agitation and unfounded suspicion.

Should you visit a dementia patient every day? ›

The person with dementia usually doesn't remember if you have been there for five minutes or five hours. Ultimately it's better to visit three times per week for 20 minutes than once a week for an hour.

What helps dementia naturally? ›

Natural health products
  • Ginkgo biloba. This plant extract, rich in antioxidants, is said to treat dementia symptoms through its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Melatonin. Melatonin supplements are used to improve sleep, and may, theoretically, prevent the progression of dementia.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid.

How do you stop dementia from progressing? ›

Can Alzheimer's and dementia be prevented or slowed?
  1. Regular exercise.
  2. Social engagement.
  3. Healthy diet.
  4. Mental stimulation.
  5. Quality sleep.
  6. Stress management.
  7. Vascular health.
Feb 28, 2023

What helps dementia at home? ›

Tips for Everyday Care for People With Dementia
  • Try to keep a routine, such as bathing, dressing, and eating at the same time each day.
  • Help the person write down to-do lists, appointments, and events in a notebook or calendar.
  • Plan activities that the person enjoys and try to do them at the same time each day.

What not to say to dementia? ›

Avoid asking too many open-ended questions about the past, as it could be stressful for a person with dementia if they can't remember the answer. While it might seem polite to ask somebody about their day, it's better to focus on what's happening in the present.

What triggers dementia to get worse? ›

other long-term health problems – dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well-managed.

What do dementia patients resist? ›

Lack of insight often results in resistance to care, a failure to admit they need assistance and refusal to accept it. Most caregivers for dementia patients will encounter the problem of resistance to care at some point, typically in the early and middle stages of the disease.

Why does ice cream help with dementia? ›

Ice cream brings people with dementia to happier, warmer times when the treat was shared with friends and loved ones at special, joyous occa- sions. Ice cream has the power to immediately elicit soothing feelings at the very first taste of a single spoon-full.

What stage is anger in dementia? ›

There is no specific “angry stage” in dementia. However, pronounced mood, personality, and cognitive function changes often appear during the middle or moderate stage of dementia.

What is the life expectancy of a person with dementia in their 80s? ›

The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows: Alzheimer's disease – around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimer's live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.

Which sense goes first with dementia? ›

Smell. Determined to be one of the first senses to be impacted by Alzheimer's, your loved one may be confused as to what they are smelling. They may not be able to distinguish the smell of smoke from a burning object or identify when food is spoiled, or a liquid is dangerous to drink.

What is the smell test for dementia? ›

They conducted a peanut butter smell test hoping to find an inexpensive, noninvasive way to detect early-stage Alzheimer's and track its progress. The test was conducted on cognitively normal individuals as well as: 18 patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease. 24 patients with mild cognitive impairment.

What smell increases memory? ›

Lemon scent has been shown to help calm and relax people who are dealing with anxiety and insomnia as well as to improve memory and ease indigestion.

Why are dementia patients so messy? ›

People with dementia may be driven to search or rummage for something that they believe is missing. example, individuals may hoard items out of fear that they may “need” the items some day. Individuals may begin to hide items when they are not able to recognize the people around them any longer.

Where is the best place to put someone with dementia? ›

Nursing homes—a place for people who can't care for themselves anymore. Some nursing homes have special Alzheimer's disease care units. These units are often in separate sections of the building where staff members have special training to care for people with Alzheimer's.

What aspect of daily life is most difficult for residents with dementia? ›

Although a person's own experience of living with dementia varies, as does their needs for care and support, common everyday challenges for people with dementia include washing, getting dressed, eating and bathing. Dementia is a progressive condition.

What is a short term goal for dementia? ›

Some commonly chosen goals for the person with dementia included: Maintaining physical safety. Continuing to live at home. Receiving medical care related to dementia. Avoiding hospitalization.

What sensation is often most important to clients with dementia? ›

Smell: This is often one of the first senses to be impacted by Alzheimer's disease. The individual may experience either confusion as to what they smell or a lack of sensory capability. It is important if caring for an individual living alone, to keep the refrigerator and cupboards clear of outdated and spoiled food.

Do people with dementia prefer to be alone? ›

Some people with dementia choose to live alone. You may feel happier and more in control in your own home, where you can keep your routines and stay in your community. Keeping your independence may also be important to you. Some people live alone because of their circumstances.

Should dementia patients be left alone? ›

People with dementia should not be living alone without care if they are suffering any cognitive impairment that could lead to them coming to any harm at home. Some common signs that a person with dementia can no longer live independently include: They are struggling with personal hygiene.

Are dementia patients better off at home? ›

At Home Dementia Care

Pros: Your loved one may prefer to remain within the comforts of their own home during the early stages of dementia for as long as possible, and this option honors those preferences. The familiarity of the surroundings and ability to maintain as much independence as possible may also benefit them.

What daily activities are affected by dementia? ›

There may be some loss of interest in hobbies and activities. Mood changes, such as depression and anxiety, can occur. Learning new tasks may be difficult and complex tasks may be left uncompleted. Faulty judgment and mild changes in personality become obvious to caregivers.

What should people with dementia watch? ›

  • Grumpy Old Men.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes.
  • John Wayne.
  • Guys and Dolls.
  • It's a Wonderful Life.
  • The Pajama Game.

What worsens dementia? ›

other long-term health problems – dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well-managed.

What to avoid when speaking to someone with dementia? ›

What to communicate
  • Try to avoid asking too many questions, or asking complicated questions. The person may become frustrated or withdrawn if they can't find the answer.
  • Try to stick to one idea at a time. ...
  • Phrase questions in a way that allows for a simple answer.

What are 3 everyday tasks that a person with dementia may struggle with because difficulties with memory and thinking? ›

Although a person's own experience of living with dementia varies, as does their needs for care and support, common everyday challenges for people with dementia include washing, getting dressed, eating and bathing. Dementia is a progressive condition.

What three things most often cause people with dementia to feel over stimulated? ›

Overstimulation, such as a loud television or radio.
Common Causes:
  • Not being able to distinguish important items from trash.
  • A desire for security or fear of being robbed.
  • Boredom and being understimulated.
  • Forgetting where they've put items like the remote, keys or wallets.
Oct 16, 2018

What are 4 issues people with dementia have? ›

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.

What are some distractions for dementia patients? ›

5 Distraction Methods for Aging Adults Who Have Dementia
  • Play Music. Music memory is one of the functions that usually remain in older adults living with dementia. ...
  • Try Aromatherapy. ...
  • Start a New Activity. ...
  • Use Reassurance. ...
  • Encourage Doing Household Chores.
Aug 16, 2019


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