If you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you know that memory loss requires a lot of care. As cognitive decline worsens, it becomes increasingly difficult for patients to perform everyday activities. To ensure their loved ones get the care they need, more families are turning to senior living communities.

In addition to providing hands-on health services for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, these communities offer daily activities. Memory care activities for the elderly are a great way to keep busy, and they offer the following benefits:

  • Increased socialization
  • Improved physical well-being
  • Memory stimulation

By engaging in regular group activities together, older adults are more likely to form connections. This helps lower the risk of social isolation, which is known to negatively impact physical and mental well-being.

Certain activities are geared toward staying active, which can help boost physical health. Other activities focus on improving cognitive function and memory skills. Ultimately, activities are a key part of the senior living experience. Let’s go over some popular activities for seniors with memory loss.

8 Best Memory Care Activities for Seniors

1. Sensory Stimulation

A common activity found in memory care and assisted living communities is sensory stimulation. It involves using familiar foods, sounds and items to stimulate the senses and encourage unique emotional responses. For example, you might play a senior’s favorite song to help stir old memories. Or you could give them a scented lotion that smells like their favorite flower. By bringing back comforting memories, sensory activities can help create an environment in which the senior feels more comfortable and open.

Therapist introducing a fidget toy for sensory stimulation therapy.

2. Memory Box Therapy

Another helpful way to stimulate the memory is through a memory box. Put simply, this is a container filled with sentimental items from a person’s past. It can include anything that’s significant to the owner, from photographs and postcards to jewelry and toys. Frequently reviewing these items can help a person with dementia remember events and even encourage them to communicate about their memories.

3. Art Therapy

Next on our list of memory care activities for seniors is art therapy. This unique activity uses artwork to encourage self-expression. Through painting, drawing and writing, seniors can showcase emotions they may struggle to express verbally. For example, say a person with dementia is feeling frustrated. Rather than release that frustration through aggression, they can paint it out on a canvas. By engaging both the mind and body, art therapy helps build fine motor skills and cognitive skills.

4. Music Therapy

Along with art therapy, many memory care residents participate in music therapy. According to the National Institute on Aging, music can help alleviate behavioral symptoms of dementia (such as irritability and aggression) while also improving socialization. So, how exactly does music accomplish this? It helps stimulate happy memories and positive emotions. Many seniors feel uplifted after listening to a song they enjoy, making them more likely to socialize and communicate with others. In addition, music recognition is found to be one of the last things to go as memory declines.

Senior man listening to music.

5. Failure-Free Activities

The combination of aging and memory loss makes it difficult for people with dementia to stay connected, engage in their favorite activities and practice regular life skills. For example, an avid reader may now struggle to understand words, which can negatively affect their confidence and well-being. To help boost self-esteem, many memory care facilities offer failure-free activities. These are simple, straightforward tasks that stimulate the senses without being too physically or mentally demanding. Common examples include:

  • Folding laundry
  • Cutting flowers
  • Singing songs
  • Making memory boxes

Ideally, these activities should be tailored toward each individual and have no “right way” of being done. For example, seniors who enjoy gardening can cut flowers, while those who like music can sing songs. The ultimate goal is to create a positive experience.

6. Storytelling

Sharing stories is a great way for older adults to reflect on memories and exercise their verbal skills. That’s why many senior living facilities encourage their residents to share through group storytelling sessions. Of course, due to the side effects of dementia and memory loss, some older adults may no longer be able to speak comfortably. However, they can still listen to other people’s stories, which helps them stay connected to the senior community.

7. Pet Therapy

If there’s one thing that can raise anybody’s spirits, it’s cuddling with a cute animal. Playing with pets helps boost moods, but it can also lower feelings of depression and isolation. It’s common for memory care communities to bring in pets for the residents to interact with. Even just watching animals run around outside can improve mental well-being.

Senior man petting dogs head during pet therapy session.

8. Movie Nights

Activities don’t always require being physically active. Sometimes, they’re about sitting back, relaxing and spending time with others. Movie nights give older adults a chance to unwind and connect over a favorite film. Whether it’s a romantic comedy or an old classic, watching a movie is an excellent way to reduce stress. It can also be a nostalgic experience. Watching popular movies from childhood can bring back fond memories and elicit positive emotional responses.

Chesapeake Manor: Daily Memory Activities for Seniors

From reduced isolation to improved mental well-being, there are many benefits to memory care activities. If you have a loved one going through dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important that they stay engaged through regular physical and cognitive exercises. At Chesapeake Manor, we offer several activities designed to encourage socialization and improve the quality of life for residents. Our programs cover a wide range of categories, including spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional.

In addition to activities, we offer the following amenities:

  • 24/7 senior care
  • Personalized resident care
  • Nutritious meals
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Utilities (including gas, electric and laundry)

All memory care residents enjoy caregiving, individualized support, healthy meals and general housekeeping services. Interested in learning more about our memory care services? Feel free to call us at 410-835-2427 or schedule a tour online at the best senior living community today!