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Engagement

Staying Engaged While Social Distancing

In an effort to make your day a little brighter, here are activity ideas to do at home. We hope these activities will stimulate discussion, encourage reminiscing, get you moving, or simply bring joy. From links to concerts, museum tours or live dance classes; to directions for craft projects, or conversation prompts, we hope to add some fun to your day.

Engagement Types:

Click on any of the categories below to explore more!

Music

Outdoor Concerts

Looking to get out and enjoy live music as the weather gets warmer? Check out this list of outdoor family friendly concerts around the Triangle here.

Personalized Playlist

BBC Music Memories provides an easy method for creating/saving a music playlist to Spotify. Or even easier, M4D Radio (Music for Dementia) offers era-specific stations available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In the Mood for Music from Your Past?  

Check out the Nostalgia Machine and pick a year from the past to listen to music from your high school days, college parties, or your first love. 

Sing Along with Nashville’s Music for Seniors

In this video from Music for Seniors Nashville songwriter Susan Shann sings favorites such as “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “King of the Road,” “Take Me Home Country Roads,” and “This Land is Your Land.” 

The Choral Society of Durham

The Choral Society of Durham shared with us their Community Outreach Concert, beautifully presented with the “hope that the music will be one small act of building bridges, linking us together arm in arm as we strive to shape the world into a more just, caring and peaceful place.” Enjoy a variety of songs including the spiritual, “There is a Balm in Gilead,” and “West Side Story’s” favorite love song, “Somewhere.”

Radio Recliner

Radio Recliner is an online radio station run by residents in their rooms at senior living communities across the country. New shows at noon every day.

Music for Seniors

Music for Seniors connects Nashville-area musicians with older adults through live and interactive music programs designed to engage, entertain and educate.

Old Time Radio

Listento radio shows from the ’40s, 50s and ’60s. The archive includes favorites such as, “Gunsmoke,” Father Knows Best,” “Martin & Lewis,” and “Dragnet.”

Durham Medical Orchestra

Duke’s Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant leads health care professionals and students—from their homes across Durham County—in a performance of a new piece by Durham composer Steven Bryant.

Virtual ‘Love Sweet Love’ From Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students

Check out this videoperformance of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “What the World Needs Now” by students at Berklee College of Music that has gone viral.

Exercising Your Body and Mind

Pool Noodles Chair Exercises

Looking to beat the heat indoors, but also stay active? Try using foam pool noodles for a fun and quick exercise with your loved one. View this 3-minute chair exercise video using pool noodles here.

Silver Sneakers

Check out this 5-minute exercise from Silver Sneakers that is both fun and for good for your brain! Silver Sneakers is a great resource for finding easy exercises you can do at home or at select gyms and senior centers in your community.

Heart Healthy Dancing!

It’s Heart Health Month and what better way to get your heart moving than through dance! Dance the Macarena with this energizing sit or stand chair yoga with Sherry Zak Morris.

Fall Prevention Exercises

Verywell Health features this article on the common causes of falling with dementia and Eldercare Gym Senior Fitness provides exercise videos for improved balance on their Youtube page here.

Yoga at Home

Follow along with JJ Gormley, Certified Yoga Instructor with The Center for Volunteer Caregiving as she guides you through gentle seated chair yoga. Choose between various prerecorded videos ranging from 15-30 mins here.

Ideas for Exercise and Physical Activities

“Exercise is an excellent, non-drug way to improve well-being and reduce challenging behaviors in seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.” This article has 12 ideas for exercise and ways to inspire participation.

Activities for Everyone

Our friends at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles have activity ideas for loved ones at every stage that we think you’ll find helpful. Check out their lists, organized by stage, here. Enjoy!

9 Cognitively Stimulating Activities to Do at Home

Alzheimer’s San Diego has great ideas for staying engagedduring the pandemic or anytime. From conversation starters to a list of the 50 best Karaoke songs, you’re sure to find some new ideas.

Seated Tai Chi for Seniors: 3 Simple Routines Improve Flexibility and Well-Being

Tai chi is a gentle exercise that improves balance and reduces fall risk. Check out tai chi with these three short videos for beginners.

Pilates & Yoga for Parkinson’s (or anyone else) – Movement While Sitting in a Chair

Poe Wellness Solutions and The Parkinson’s Movement Initiative have very generously created Pilates and yoga for Parkinson’s videos. Visit the webpage for the videos here.

Tai Chi to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

If you’ve never tried Tai Chi, start with this short videoThe instructor will guide you through gentle and relaxing movements with a beautiful body of water in the background.

Virtual Movement for the Mind

Check out these exercise videos from Alzheimer’s Support, a dementia organization in England. The videos range from very gentle movement to more active exercises.

Beat the Heat and Walk at Home!

The Walk at Home series offers workouts that make exercising in your own home fun and easy. Choose videosranging from 10-45 minutes.

Go4Life

Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, offers workout videos to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Great options during the pandemic or anytime!

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

Check out theseDance for PDclasses for free online through the Mark Morris Dance Company. While designed for people with Parkinson’s, the movements are gentle and easy to follow.

Transportation and Travel

Virtual Park Tours

Google delivers the splendor of nature within U.S National Parks through interactive virtual tours. Experience stunning views and gorgeous landscapes in Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Florida, by clicking here.

All Aboard!

Experience the mesmerizing appeal of train rides on YouTube. Enjoy the locomotive ‘Drivers Eye View’ of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn railway in Switzerland, with rugged mountainsides and snow-covered peaks. 

There is also a live 24/7 traincamera gives you the train driver’s view from the comfort of home.

Need a Change of Scenery? 13 Virtual Train Rides From Around the World

Enjoy beautiful landscapes from Colorado’s Pikes Peak to a Japanese countryside as you travel virtually with these relaxing videos. Hop aboard!

Stroll Through a Museum

Museums around the world are offering virtual tours of their amazing exhibits! Just some examples include the Guggenheim Museum in New York City to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Missing Travel?

Watched Walker has hundreds of virtual walks ranging from beautiful beaches to lively Paris streets. Read about them in this Frommer’s article or go to Watched Walker’s YouTube channel.

Blast Off!

Browse NASA’s Image and Video Libraryfor recent, historic and the most popular images, audio files and videos.

All Things Nature

Coral Reef Aquarium

Listening to nature sounds is a great way to help your loved one with dementia relax at the end of a day. Check out this 10-hour video featuring a Coral Reef Aquarium with soothing water sounds.

Tropical Butterfly Garden

Take time to enjoy the sounds and wonders of nature through this relaxing video featuring butterflies in a tropical garden here.

NC Zoo Adventures!

Experience the NC Zoo virtually every Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a LIVE and fun educational presentation about animals and nature on their FACEBOOK PAGE. Prerecorded videos are also available on their website.

Happy As a Lark

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides over 20 unique bird songs that you can listen to without even opening a window. Many of the birds can even be seen in our North Carolina backyards! 

Bird Feeder Cam

This West Texas Bird Feeder Cam allow us to watch dozens of birds enjoying some lunch.

Live Views from the Georgia Aquarium

Visit your favorite marine creatures through webcams at one of the world’s largest aquatic exhibits.

Hang Out With Some Elephants

You’re watching the live camat San Diego Zoo. Scroll below the video to be introduced to the herd.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Tune into a webcamand be delighted by the antics of the sea otters or mellow out to the hypnotic drifting of the jellies.

A Kaleidoscope of Orchids

Enjoy this 21-minute virtual tour of the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show.

 

Activities

Online Memory Cafe

Did you know that not only can you attend Memory Cafes in person, but you can join a Memory Café online too? Café Connect is a great resource to find weekly Memory Cafes you and your loved one with dementia can engage in without leaving your home. Click here to view the weekly schedule.

Late-Stage Dementia Activities

Stay connected and engaged with your loved one in the later stages of dementia by Including meaningful activities into their daily routine. Click here to view 5 activities for late-stage dementia.

No-Bake Summer Treats

No-Bake recipes are a great way to involve individuals with memory loss in meal preparation in the kitchen. Eating Well offers a few tasty No-Bake Desserts to try this summer.

Adapting to their Abilities

Helping your loved one with dementia still enjoy old hobbies or routines can be implemented in creative ways. Check out this 2-minute video on Adapting to their Abilities from the blog Being in the Moment.

Library Memory Kits

Wake County Public ibraries are providing free Memory Care Kits. The kit includes books and activities designed to spark memories, initiate conversation, and provide positive interaction between caregiver and individual with memory loss. A Wake County library card is required to reserve one of the kits; but some of the digital resources in the online guide are accessible to all and may be available at your local library!

Creative Caregiving

The National Center for Creative Aging created a free Creative Caregiving Guide with short videos lessons in painting, poetry, music, storytelling, and dance exercises. View this fun “Sing like a Bird” activity here.

Nutrition and Dementia

March is National Nutrition Awareness Month, and for individuals with dementia nutrition is important for optimizing cognitive health. View this article from Brain & Life featuring Cooking Tips and Simple Recipes for Alzheimer’s Patients.

TV & Dementia

Now watching TV can be a positive and enjoyable experience for individuals living with dementia with new streaming services like Zinnia TV. Zinnia TV provides pleasant stress-free videos for people living with mid- to late-stage memory loss or dementia. Learn more about Zinnia TV here.

DIY Inexpensive Activities

Finding engaging activities for those with dementia does not have to be expensive or complicated. View these 10 Easy and Inexpensive DIY Ideas for Seniors with Dementia from DailyCaring.

There’s an App for That!

With the invention of touchscreen devices keeping your loved one with memory challenges engaged and cognitively stimulated is now easier than ever. The Alz Buddy app is filled with music, images, games, and historical figures.

If you are looking for other dementia friendly apps check out this article by Formyplan.com featured here.

A Pop of Art

Pop art is a movement that emerged in the late 1950’s. This art movement was inspired by commercial and popular culture. Enjoy hundreds of fun and famous Pop art imageshere!

Robotic Furry Friends

Bring comfort and joy to your love one’s life with a furry toy companion, Daily Caringhighlights the benefits of Robotic pets. Check out this video by Daily Mail hereof the newest robotic puppy.

Legendary Photos!

Take a trip into the past by checking out these classic photos from LIFE Magazine’s famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt here.

Finger Painting Is Not Just for Kids!

Looking for a fun way for your senior to express themselves through art? Try homemade finger painting! This sensory friendly idea, that may help reduce anxiety, is featured on Daily Caringwebsite. Get the paint recipe.

A Huge List of Dementia Activities

One caregiver has complied a large list of dementia activity ideas. Think about pulling out old Duplos (large Legos), trying the Famous Duo Cards, or singing along with this Karaoke playlist of hymns and patriotic songs.

Pick a Color! 

A relaxing activity for people with dementia is adult coloring books. The Colorwebsite provides an extensive list of fun pictures to choose from! These can then be shared with family and friends.

10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia

Seniors with dementia need activities where they’re successful. To help your older adult feel productive and successful, we’ve got 10 simple activity ideas that have no right or wrong way to do them.

Craft Activities

Engage your loved one’s creative side by making simple crafts together.

Webinar: Engagement in a Time of Quarantine Part I & II

This webinar is part of a newly-developing series from the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling team. Join MacArthur Fellow and TimeSlips Founder/President Anne Basting, PhD., as she shares additional avenues to connect while observing social distancing.

Click on the link to see Part I: https://vimeo.com/401431835

Click on the link to see Part II: https://youtu.be/0AJEV0Tzf1s 

Create a Memory Box

A memory box can help your older adult feel connected to their past career and previous hobbies. Fill any kind of box with copies of photos or non-important keepsakes from hobbies or work; for more information, visit this article.

Creative Activities

CaringKind, a New York City organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, has about a dozen short videos on their website to give you ideas for activities you can do at home.