11 Simple Hobbies For Dementia Patients That Are Challenging Too

Engaging their cognitive skills is highly important to individuals with dementia. So here, we share our list of simple yet challenging hobbies for dementia patients to enjoy.

Hobby Cents Staff Writer

If your loved one has dementia, it is best to keep them actively engaged in daily activities and tasks that challenge their cognitive skills.

These activities are beneficial for their minds and bodies and may even slow the progression of dementia. Social and emotional activities are important as they will allow the dementia patient to maintain their interests and abilities.

Participating in hobbies gives the patient a sense of purpose and enables them to achieve pleasure.

What Types of Hobbies Are Best for Patients with Dementia?

It is best to understand a patient with dementia before planning an activity for them.

If you know their former line of work and interests, then you can plan appropriate activities or encourage hobbies that they will find suitable.

Remember that hobbies that make the patient feel useful also boost their self-esteem.

Recommended Hobbies for Dementia Patients

1. Gardening

Gardening is great because it is an activity that shows results after a while, meaning that the patient will feel a sense of accomplishment. This helps them deal with difficult days and feel hopeful about life in general.

Gardening activities such as mowing the lawn or raking are good ways to exercise. Dementia patients need exercise, especially from activities that do not feel tedious. You can help the patient maintain a flower or vegetable garden where they can spend sunny mornings or afternoons.

2. Dancing

Moving the body is always a great idea for a dementia patient. Dancing is the best hobby to keep the body feeling younger.

This activity also allows the patient to interact with people and socialize, for instance, when the dance involves a partner.

Music is always a good way to remember treasured memories, so dancing will likely ensure that the patient still has some of their happy memories.

3. Painting

Painting is a hobby that allows a person to express their feelings safely. Dementia patients benefit from a hobby like painting because it encourages them to bring out their creative side.

It is also a good activity to relieve stress, which is common in dementia patients as the condition progresses and their mind starts to forget certain details.

A great idea is to have the patient paint with bold colors on large surfaces as it enables them to paint without feeling restricted.

best hobbies for dementia patients crafts and pottery
Pottery is a good hobby for increasing the cognitive ability of dementia patients.

4. Crafts and Pottery

Creating objects using clay or play dough is a good hobby for a patient with dementia as it can increase their cognitive ability.

Making pottery in different sizes is also a good idea. Moreover, you can help the patient create happy memories by making collages of their loved ones or things that they are interested in.

The collage can be anything from cars to fashion or even get them to make scrapbooks of their favorite things. The activity will certainly make them feel happy because of the memories and also reconnect them with positive memories.

5. Watching Old Movies or TV Shows

If you have an idea of what shows or movies a loved one suffering from dementia loves, then you can make it a habit to watch these movies with them.

Fortunately, you can stream movies online-even vintage ones, so accessing these should not be a problem. Such a hobby will take them back to happy times.

You can create a day or two in the week and make it a fun hobby for them to participate in. Bring out the popcorn and blanket and make it a fun movie evening. Movies and TV shows have a way of bringing back a person’s favorite memories.

6. Listening to Music or Playing a Musical Instrument

If the patient loves playing instruments and knows how to play, get them some instruments and sheet music to play.

Music is one way to activate old memories. Familiar tunes always come to mind when a person plays an instrument, so the hobby is a good way to ensure the patient has some of their favorite memories remain unforgettable.

You can also listen to music with them. Find out the patient’s favorite genre of music and listen with them. You can point out the singers and see if the patient will remember, especially singers from their favorite songs.

Music is soothing and provides a way for the patient to remember certain things they are beginning to forget.

7. Doing Puzzles or Board Games

Puzzles that require the patient to create shapes or objects are the best as they stimulate the brain’s cognitive senses.

If the patient is doing puzzles with other patients with dementia, it will allow them to socialize while giving them some stimulation. It is always best to focus on the patients enjoying themselves rather than achieving something.

Board games are also great for bonding and having a good time. Making sure that the patient understands the goal of the activity is key as it provides them with a way to stay engaged.

8. Do Sorting Games

Sorting is one of the ways that the brain knows how to stay organized. Sorting games are a good way to help a dementia patient remember things and also prevent memory loss of certain activities.

Sorting is not too much activity for the brain, so a dementia patient will not feel stressed when doing it. You can purchase an activity board with a list of “to-do” things.

Doing these activities once or twice a week is a good way to keep dementia patients in the present and assist them with recollection.

Furthermore, sorting games are also a great way to calm down when feeling too overwhelmed, especially if there has been a change in the patient’s environment that is causing them some agitation.

best hobbies for dementia patients baking pies or cookies
Baking will help remind dementia patients of their favorite treats from their younger days.

9. Baking Pies or Cookies

Aromatherapy has been shown to bring back memories for dementia patients, according to Elmcroft’s “10 Activities for Seniors with Dementia.”

Baking cookies is a good way to help a patient reminisce about good times in their younger days. It helps a patient think back to their favorite treat.

Keep in mind that the patient should not be left to bake on their own if their condition is advanced as they may forget to turn off the oven. It can be a danger to them or anyone else on the premises. Ensure you do the activity with them.

10. Writing Short Stories

Writing is one of the best ways to stimulate the brain and prompt memories that are hidden deep down. The patient does not have to write a bestseller.

Even short stories about their lives will encourage them to remember most of their past. Set aside a day in the week to work on the activity.

Encourage the patient to be as descriptive as possible as it will enable them to go back and remember the incidents.

Sharing memories through writing is a good activity for dementia patients because you can read them these stories once the disease progresses. It will help with regaining part of their memory.

11. Taking Nature Walks

These are a good way to take in the sights and enjoy the outdoor air. Going out and seeing nature is always good for a person’s mental health.

You can also visit a farm or go to the zoo. Connecting with the animals is a soul-soothing activity that the patient will appreciate.

Hobbies to Avoid for Dementia Patients

When planning hobbies for a patient with dementia, it is best to avoid competitive activities as they could make the patient get a sense of failure.

The hobbies should bring them a sense of achievement and satisfaction without causing them to get angry, restless, or frustrated. Remember that they also need to maintain their sense of independence.

Final Thoughts

Hobbies are an excellent way to engage and challenge those patients with dementia. Hobbies are also an excellent way to improve dementia patients’ mental health and well-being. And lastly, certain hobbies and activities can actually help with memory work. 

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