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.
Countdown to a Dementia-Friendly Holiday
Looking for a way to incorporate festive activities during the holiday season? Check out this Christmas Activity Countdown. This calendar offers 24 days of dementia-friendly activities sure to get your loved one in the holiday spirit!
Autumn Sensory Journey
Enjoy a soothing visual and musical virtual experience through the senses of autumn with this video of the autumn journey provided by The Opal Season Company. This video displays familiar and comforting images with gentle music and no dialogue or narrative, created especially for people living with memory changes and their care partners.
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
Lincoln Center Moments
Lincoln Center Moments offers performances designed for individuals with dementia and their care partners. Each performance is followed by a discussion, movement, music, or art-making activity. The program is free, but registration is required. To register, fill out this form or contact email@example.com or 212-875-5375.
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 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.
Get Out Your Dancing Shoes
Check out these “Dance for PD” classes for free online through the Mark Morris Dance Company. While designed for people with Parkinson’s, the movements are gentle and easy to follow.
Exercising Your Body and Mind
Fall Prevention Exercises
Fall prevention is crucial for individuals with dementia as they are four to five times more likely to fall than those who do not have a cognitive impairment. Verywell Health features this article on the common causes of falling with dementia. Check out Eldercare Gym Senior Fitness YouTube page for exercise videos on ways to improve balance and prevent falls 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.
Advice All the Way from London!
The Alzheimer’s Society, UK’s leading dementia organization, suggests 5 great ways to keep moving at home – tips for people with dementia. From bowling with plastic bottles for pins and a rolled-up pair of socks, to gardening tips, and more — we hope you’ll find some new ways to keep moving.
Ideas for Exercise and Physical Activities
Activities for Everyone
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 video. The 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. Choosevideosranging from 10-45 minutes.
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!
Transportation and Travel
Virtual Park Tours
U.S National Parks attract millions of visitors each year with thier stunning views and gorgeous landscapes. Google delivers the splendor of nature within these National Parks through an interactive virtual tour. Experience U.S. National parks in Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Florida, by clicking here.
Experience the mesmerizing appeal of train rides on YouTube. Enjoy the locomotive ‘Drivers Eye View’ of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn railway in Switzerland. Let this breathtakingly beautiful scenery transport you to a pollen-free adventure along the rugged mountainside, through tunnels and even snow-covered peaks. Videos are best viewed in ‘full-screen’ mode.
Stroll Through a Museum
You can’t go in person right now, but many museums around the world are offering virtual tours of their exhibits. From the Guggenheim Museum in New York City to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they are waiting for you to drop in at your leisure.
If so, check out the next best thing — virtual walking tours from Watched Walker. Select from hundreds of walks ranging from beautiful beaches to lively Paris streets. Read about them in this Frommer’s article or go right to Watched Walker’s YouTube channel. Thanks for the tip Jeannine!
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!
Browse NASA’s Image and Video Library for recent, historic and the most popular images, audio files and videos.
All Things Nature
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. Can’t tune in every Wednesday, don’t worry the NC Zoo offers prerecorded videos on their website.
Happy As a Lark
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 cam at San Diego Zoo. Scroll below the video to be introduced to the herd.
The Best Live Animal Feeds from Around the World
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Tune into a webcam and 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.
Reminiscing can evoke memories, stimulate mental activity, and improve a person’s well-being. Individuals with dementia are typically more able to recall things from many years ago than recent memories, so reminiscing draws upon this strength. Click here to view Thanksgiving discussion topics to evoke meaningful conversation at dinner. For caregivers seeking practical tips and tricks on planning mealtime during holidays listen to The Alzheimer’s Podcast episode 23.
An Apple a Day…
Fall is apple season and incorporating apples into daily activities for individuals with dementia is easy with these ideas. A sure way to get your love one’s taste buds’ approval is by making Apple Pie in Cup. Peeling apples for recipes can be easy when you use an apple peeler that attaches to your table. Attach an apple. Let the individual peel the apple. Use those extra pinecones in the yard and make a Yarn-Wrapped Apple Tree Craft.
There’s an App for That!
With the invention of touchscreen devices such as smart phones and tablets keeping your loved one with memory challenges engaged and cognitively stimulated is now easier than ever. One of the latest new apps developed by two high school seniors is the Alz Buddy. The Alz Buddy app is free to download and 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 images here!
Robotic Furry Friends
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! To keep the mess to a minimum, tape a giant piece of butcher paper to the table and let them paint on that. This sensory friendly idea, that may help reduce anxiety, is featured on Daily Caring website. Get the paint recipe.
A Huge List of Dementia Activities
One clever daughter, caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s, complied a large list of activity ideas. Some were new to our staff, others are tried-and-true favorites. Think about pulling out your grandchildren’s Duplos (large Legos) for your retired bricklayer loved one to build walls. Try the Famous Duo Cards, free to download or create yourself. Or sing along with this Karaoke playlist of hymns and patriotic songs. Hopefully you’ll find inspiration for engaging your loved one with dementia.
Pick a Color!
A fun or relaxing activity for people with dementia is adult coloring books. This activity works well on touchscreen devices or tablets, where it is easy to tap and fill the spaces. On the website, The Color, there is a great choice of pictures from flowers to animals, trains, circus… the list extensive! Once you have colored the picture you can print it off or share it with friends and family as there is also an email option. Sorry to say, but you’ll see some ads on this site.
10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia
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 or rummage box can help your older adult feel connected to their past career and previous hobbies. Get any kind of box and fill it with things they would have used at work, copies of photos and non-important keepsakes, or objects from hobbies.
To learn more about the benefits of memory boxes, along with tips for making them, read this article