The best activities to engage and help those living with dementia over Christmas

People who suffer from dementia struggle at this time of year more than any other due to changes in routine and environment and it can be a challenge to know how to engage with them.

This guide is from The Live In Care Company which sources and provides live-in care to the elderly. It provides a great explanation of how activities can both stimulate the brain and trigger memories for dementia patients. Did you know that ‘playing a musical instrument has been shown as being beneficial for people’s cognitive health’ for example?

Here are their care expert’s top six most recommended tips:

1. Jigsaws puzzles

“Jigsaws and puzzles can be great ways of helping pass the time. They can also help keep a person with dementia’s brain active and give them a good opportunity to practice fine motor functioning. You can even buy personalised jigsaw puzzles that might make the activity more enjoyable for the person.”

Take a look at the  broad range of nostalgic jigsaw puzzles in the Silversurfers Shop 

2. Crosswords

“Doing sudoku and crosswords will not reverse dementia symptoms but they can be enjoyable activities for people with dementia over Christmas. Since these are also problem-solving exercises, they can encourage connections in the brain to continue to remain active, hopefully reducing the speed at which they are lost.”

3. Listening to music

“Listening to music can be relaxing for people with dementia and there are studies that suggest it can improve mood and therefore wellbeing. It could be a great idea to play some classic Christmas songs when spending time with someone with dementia over Christmas. Certain songs may also activate and stimulate specific memories which can be important for someone who is losing their memory.”

Enjoy a selection of André Rieu’s best loved Christmas melodies here

4. Baking or cooking

“This can be a great activity to do with loved ones at Christmas as it can be an opportunity for people with dementia to try to remember recipes that they used to make or follow a new recipe using clear instructions.”

5. Looking at old photos

“This can be a useful activity to help people with dementia recognise familiar faces of family members and friends. It can also be an opportunity for them to reminisce and recall any memories that may be triggered by the photographs.”

6. Card games

“Playing card games that the person with dementia is familiar with can help stimulate cognitive processes involved with memory and problem-solving. It’s a great way to involve several family members in a group activity over Christmas. Adapt games if you need to to make it easier to play, and remind them of the rules as you go along.”

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!