Creative Ways to Keep Seniors with Dementia Active

As dementia progresses, individuals, including those in memory care in Northville, MI, may notice changes in their daily abilities. Engaging in activities can be beneficial for seniors with dementia, as it helps stimulate their minds, provides a sense of purpose, and enhances their overall well-being. However, as the disease progresses, the types of activities that are suitable and enjoyable for seniors with dementia may change. In this blog post, we will explore various activities that can be beneficial for seniors with dementia and how their engagement may change as the disease progresses.

Activities for Seniors with Dementia

Early Stages of Dementia

  • Engaging in familiar hobbies and activities: Encourage the senior to continue with hobbies they enjoyed in the past, such as gardening, knitting, or playing a musical instrument. This can help them maintain a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
  • Participating in social activities and gatherings: Encourage the senior to join community groups or clubs that align with their interests. This can provide opportunities for social interaction and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Stimulating memory with puzzles and memory games: Engage the senior in activities that stimulate their cognitive abilities, such as crossword puzzles, memory games, or jigsaw puzzles. This can help improve memory and mental agility.

Middle Stages of Dementia

  • Listening to familiar music: Playing songs that the person with dementia enjoyed in their younger years can help stimulate memories and improve their mood.
  • Looking at photo albums: Going through old photo albums and reminiscing about past events can help seniors with dementia connect with their personal history.
  • Engaging in simple arts and crafts activities: Encouraging seniors to participate in activities like painting, coloring, or knitting can help them express themselves creatively and boost their cognitive abilities.
  • Taking gentle exercises or going for walks: Physical activities like gentle exercises or short walks can help improve balance, mobility, and overall well-being for seniors with dementia.

Late Stages of Dementia

  • Reminiscing: Encourage seniors to look through old photo albums, listen to familiar music, or watch old movies to trigger memories and stimulate conversation.
  • Sensory activities: Provide seniors with textured materials, such as soft blankets or stuffed animals, to touch and feel. You can also offer scented items, such as lavender sachets or essential oils, to engage their sense of smell.
  • Simple puzzles: Choose puzzles with larger pieces and simpler designs to help seniors with dementia enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when completing them.
  • Music therapy: Play familiar music or songs from their youth to evoke positive emotions and memories. Singing along or playing simple instruments can also be enjoyable for seniors with dementia.
  • Art therapy: Provide seniors with dementia with art supplies, such as coloring books or watercolor paints, to engage their creativity and self-expression.
  • Gentle exercise: Encourage seniors to participate in gentle exercises, such as seated stretching or chair yoga, to promote physical well-being and maintain mobility.
  • Pet therapy: Introduce seniors to therapy animals, such as trained dogs or cats, to provide comfort and companionship. The presence of animals can help reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Changes in Engagement as the Disease Progresses

Attention Span and Focus

  • Shorter attention span may require shorter and simpler activities
  • Difficulty in following complex instructions or multi-step tasks

Communication and Interaction

  • Decreased ability to communicate verbally may require non-verbal activities
  • Non-verbal cues and gestures become more important for engagement

Physical Abilities

  • Decreased mobility may require activities that can be done from a seated or lying position
  • Adaptations and modifications may be needed to accommodate physical limitations


Engaging in activities is crucial for seniors with dementia, as it provides mental stimulation, a sense of purpose, and enhances their overall well-being. As the disease progresses, the types of activities that are suitable and enjoyable for seniors with dementia may change. By understanding these changes and adapting the activities accordingly, we can continue to provide meaningful engagement and improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia. Finding a community that can engage a resident with a dementia diagnosis no matter what stage of Dementia they are in is critical. Tour a Pomeroy Living location today and ask more about our Beacon of Light program. 

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Manda Ayoub

Manda Ayoub

As the Chief Operating Officer, Manda brings over 30 years of health care experience to Pomeroy Living. Manda is responsible for the facilities operations, outcomes of the clinical team and ensuring regulatory compliance. Since joining Pomeroy Living in 2011, Manda has been instrumental in opening both of Pomeroy’s state-of-the-art assisted living communities - Pomeroy Living of Northville and Pomeroy Living Orion. She has implemented innovative health care initiatives that have successfully improved patient outcomes and the quality of care at both of Pomeroy’s skilled nursing facilities.