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.
Click on any of the categories below to explore more!
Exercises for the Body and Mind
Transportation and Travel
All Things Nature
Visiting a garden is a great way to enjoy nature and experience the beauty of spring time. The calming environment of a garden can reduce anxiety and promote socialization for many individuals with dementia. Locations to take garden tours around the Triangle include Duke Gardens, NC Botanical Garden and the JC Raulston Arboretum.
Concerts in Motion
Invite your loved one with dementia to a weekly musical concert right in your own home. Concerts in Motion offers free Virtual Visiting Series Concerts. All concerts are accessible by phone or internet. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Fun Songs to Sing
Songs & Smiles is a nonprofit offering Fun Songs to Sing for with those living with dementia. The singalong video includes lyrics so the whole family can join in on the fun.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Come Sing with Us!
Click here to see former performances. Enjoy and watch them as often as you would like.
Exercising Your Body and Mind
Fine Motor Skills Exercises
The effects of dementia can impact fine motor skills such as buttoning or unbuttoning a shirt, eating with utensils, and writing. Individuals with mild to moderate dementia can try daily hand exercises to help maintain those skills. View this video here for examples.
Stretches help improve balance and coordination which reduce the risk of injury. Help your loved one start their day with some simple stretches before getting out of bed. View the 7-minute video here.
It has often been said that “laughter is the best medicine”. Laughter can help individuals with dementia and their care partners, reduce anxiety and tension, and produce positive feelings. Engaging in Laughter Yoga is one way get those daily giggles in. You can view an instructional 10-minute video here .
Chair Exercises with music from the 70’s
Upbeat music combined with physical exercise provides positive social and emotional benefits for individuals with dementia. Check out this fun 10-minute seated chair exercise routine with music from the 70’s here.
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.
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
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.
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
Take a Virtual Vacation to Paris with a meditative audio tour. Guided audio tours can transport listeners to inspiring destinations even when you can’t be there in person. Caregivers can use guided meditations to improve mood and reduce stress for individuals with dementia. Click here to listen to Virtual Vacations via Podcast.
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.
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.
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.
If your loved one adores animals, they will be delighted to view these live panda cams, which show pandas cuddling and playing for hours.
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
Bird Feeder Cam
This West Texas Bird Feeder Cam allow us to watch dozens of birds enjoying some lunch.
Hang Out With Some Elephants
You’re watching the live camat San Diego Zoo. Scroll below the video to be introduced to the herd.
Celebrate Women’s History Month
March is National Women’s History Month. The National Women’s History Museum features an online collection of exhibits about trailblazing women of the past and present. Caregivers can use pictures to engage in meaningful conversation about strong women in history and obstacles they overcame.
10 Fun No-Fail Activities
Finding activities to help your loved one with dementia feel productive and engaged can be a challenge. Daily Caring compiled a list of 10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia that are free or low in cost.
NC Reading Service
Reading the newspaper or a magazine is a part of many people’s daily routine, but this becomes a hard task for individuals with dementia, as they lose cognitive functions such as the ability to read. The NC Reading Service is a resource that offers daily live broadcasts of newspapers and magazines for people with cognitive and vision impairments. Click here to learn how to access this free service.
Coffee Cup Bird Feeder
Making a Coffee Cup Bird Feeder is a way care partners can engage their loved ones and get closer to nature. In the winter, the bird feeder can attract local birds to your yard and your loved one will enjoy birdwatching from a window.
Memory & Orientation books
Memory & Orientation books contain photos and mementos that can help individuals with dementia recall memories, facilitate connection with caregivers, and help remind them about their daily schedule. Click here to view how you can make your loved one their own Memory & Orientation book.
Sensory Boxes and Spaces
Sensory Stimulation is a simple and useful tool for caregivers to connect with individuals living with dementia at any stage. Everyday items and activities can be used to awaken the senses of touch, smell, hearing, and sight and produce a positive feeling. View this article for 10 Ways to Use Sensory Boxes & Multisensory Spaces.
School Days Reminiscing Activity
Its back-to-school season for many kids. Reminiscing about school is a fun and social activity that children and caregivers can play with individuals with dementia to help them share stories about their past. Click here to view the activity.
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.
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!
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.
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.