Easy Crafts for Seniors with Dementia | Lakeside Manor (2024)

For those whose lives have never been touched by dementia, it’s not always easy to recognize the positive impact a class in crafts for dementia patients can have, especially since some of the participants of an art and crafts class don’t remember what they’ve done minutes later. People who haven’t seen what dementia is like up close don’t know the downsides. They also don’t realize how important it is to create as many good moments in the dementia patient’s life as possible.

Dementia is a progressive disease that affects memory. The longer the person has it, the less they remember. They begin to forget how to do things and people they knew. Simple tasks become more difficult and more dangerous. But it isn’t until the end stages of the disease that the person loses their own identity. During the earlier stages, they still need something that gives their day meaning. Sometimes completing a craft and producing a finished product is all it takes to instill a sense of pride.

How Crafts for Dementia Patients Improve Quality of Life

Diminished cognitive function is also a part of dementia. Although a dementia patient’s ability to reason continues to diminish with progression of the disease, ‘exercising’ their brain can slow that process down. Not only are crafts beneficial to dementia patients, many experts say they’re essential to their health and well-being. That isn’t just a fact that comes from research, either. It’s something that caregivers of dementia patients know from their years of experience.

Some ways that crafts help dementia patients include:

  • Relaxation
  • Sensory Stimulation
  • Boosts Self-Esteem
  • Reduces Depression
  • Increases a Sense of Playfulness and Humor
  • Gives them a Sense of Control
  • Aids in Socialization

Choosing the Best Crafts for Dementia Patients

The best crafts for dementia patients are those that offer physical, emotional, and cognitive stimulation. The craft also needs to meet the level of challenge that is right for the person. Two types of activities are used to meet this goal; person-centered and stage-specific.

Person-centered activities are based on what the patient likes and doesn’t like. The caregiver looks for topics of inspiration that will get the patient’s interest. Stage-specific activities differ in that they are based on the patient’s cognitive abilities and the stage at which their disease has progressed to. Whether the patient lives in their own home with a caregiver or in a living environment that specializes in dementia care, each individual needs to have activities that are tailored to them. To be effective, patients in groups need to share common interests and abilities.

Dementia patients gain even more benefit from socializing with others while doing their crafts. It’s a chance to share similar interests with another person.

Some of the easiest crafts are drawing and painting. People at various stages of dementia and with various skill levels can all benefit from these activities. It is important to provide the right materials and tools to create a safe environment. Don’t allow anyone to use sharp scissors or toxic glue or paint. Take similar precautions that you would with a child, starting with constant supervision. Something as simple as forgetting that there’s paint in a cup and not soda can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.

If they can’t draw their own pictures, try coloring instead. There are some creative adult-level coloring books on the market these days that are more interesting than those made for children. A more cost-effective option is to print pages out for free from any of the many websites available online.

Scrapbooking is a fun hobby that dementia patients find entertaining. All it takes is an inexpensive notebook, a glue stick, safety scissors, and some old magazines and catalogs. It’s a great way for them to create a scrapbook filled with things they like or that fit with their interests. For example, a patient who enjoys gardening might like collecting pictures of flowers.

Many dementia patients enjoy making paper flowers. Not only do they have the fun of being creative and making all kinds of blooms in beautiful colors, but they’re also making something they can share with others.

Food activities often invoke fond memories while allowing the dementia patient to engage in an activity they’ve performed for most of their lives. Simple recipes like no-bake cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, or chocolate spoons are a great choice. You can microwave the chocolate to ensure it isn’t hot enough to burn. Guide them through the remaining steps and they have a tasty treat to eat or share with others.

Follow the Leader

Knowing the patient and their capabilities allows you to choose crafts that are suitable for them. One reason you need easy crafts for dementia patients is to help ensure their success. Another reason is that they can complete easy crafts in a shorter period of time. Consider how long it will take to complete the chosen task. A patient with a shortened attention span could get frustrated before they finish the project if it’s too complex.

Making arts and crafts a regular part of their routine will help. A routine helps them focus on what they are doing without forgetting and getting frustrated.

If possible, link crafts time with something else in their daily routine. For example, right after their morning walk or after lunch. Even though their sense of time has changed, following a routine helps them keep track of what they’re doing.

If you have trouble thinking of something new to do, there are always lots of new ideas online. No matter what you choose to do, always put safety first. Consider the types of tools and materials required, and whether they pose any risk.

Most importantly, provide lots of praise for everyone who participates. Remember, the main idea behind doing crafts for dementia patients is to help them enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

Caring for a dementia patient at home is challenging. Establishing a routine complete with the activities they need for optimal health is nearly impossible for one person. Contact Lakeside Manor to schedule a tour of our facilities. We offer a range of activities that are proven to help dementia patients enjoy a better quality of life and health!

Remember, it isn’t about creating a perfect piece of art. Never criticize or correct the patient’s choices or mistakes. Help them stay focused when noises or other interruptions get their attention. If you work with dementia patients regularly, you know that their abilities change from day to day. As the leader, you need to adjust what you’re doing to fit the needs of the day.

Easy Crafts for Seniors with Dementia | Lakeside Manor (2024)


What are recreational activities for the elderly with dementia? ›

Listening to music, dancing, or contact with babies, children or animals provide positive feelings. People with dementia often have excellent memories of past events, and looking through old photos, memorabilia and books can help the person to recall earlier times.

How do seniors with dementia stay busy? ›

For those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, staying active and engaged is beneficial for both a person's physical and cognitive health. Exercise, outdoor activities, games, music, and art are just a few of the activities proven to be helpful for those with dementia or other cognitive disorders.

What can I do for my grandma with dementia? ›

Allow the person to keep as much control in his or her life as possible. Respect the person's personal space. Build quiet times into the day, along with activities. Keep well-loved objects and photographs around the house to help the person feel more secure.

What's good to keep a person with dementia occupied? ›

Playing music, having objects to touch and interact with, and hand massage can all help people with dementia in the later stages. Playlist for Life is a music and dementia charity. It promotes how music with personal meaning can help people with dementia. You can find and listen to existing playlists, or make your own.

What are 3 things to never do with your loved one with dementia? ›

Here are some Don'ts:
  • Don't reason.
  • Don't argue.
  • Don't confront.
  • Don't remind them they forget.
  • Don't question recent memory.
  • Don't take it personally.

What are the three golden rules of dementia? ›

SPECAL sense begins with three Golden Rules: Don't ask direct questions. Listen to the expert – the person with dementia – and learn from them. Don't contradict.

What makes dementia patients happy? ›

Like games, puzzles are a go-to when you're looking for activities for dementia patients. Not only do puzzles help stimulate the brain, but they also provide social interactions that can help patients and caregivers create positive emotional connections.

What not to do with dementia patients? ›

I'm going to discuss five of the most basic ones here: 1) Don't tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don't argue with them, 3) Don't ask if they remember something, 4) Don't remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead, and 5) Don't bring up topics that may upset them.

What is the average age of death for someone with dementia? ›

What are the average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia? The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows: Alzheimer's disease – around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s.

What is the number one trigger for dementia behavior? ›

Three of the most common types of behavioral triggers in dementia patients are confusion, pain or discomfort, and a changing or overwhelming environment.

At what stage do dementia patients forget family members? ›

Stage 6. In stage 6 of dementia, a person may start forgetting the names of close loved ones and have little memory of recent events. Communication is severely disabled and delusions, compulsions, anxiety, and agitation may occur.

When should someone with dementia go into a care home? ›

People with dementia might need to move into a residential care home for various reasons, such as: their needs have increased as their dementia has progressed. their condition has deteriorated after a crisis, such as a hospital admission. their family or home carer is no longer able to support them.

Are outings good for dementia patients? ›

The person develops a stronger sense of self, which can greatly improve your loved one's self-esteem, confidence, and happiness. Outings also offer a great source for reality orientation and help them tap into what is going on around them. A social outing for a person with dementia adds variety in their daily routine.

What are nonverbal activities for adults with dementia? ›

If a person is finding any kind of conversation too difficult, there may be other ways that they can communicate their emotions. Art therapies and activities such as drawing, painting, music, poetry and drama can help a person with dementia to express themselves.

What are fine motor activities for dementia patients? ›

Household Tasks

These chores are great ways to begin conversation and increase fine motor skills while focusing on long-term memory. Try folding towels or matching socks from the laundry, snapping green beans in the kitchen, or sweeping out the garage.

What activities are available for the elderly to stay active? ›

Try out free demonstration exercises classes at your local senior center or fitness center. Go for a hike in a park. Participate in community-sponsored fun runs or walks. Yard work such as raking, digging, and planting can keep you active.

What activities are good for people with Sundowners? ›

Choose activities and sounds that are calming, like reading a book together, watching their favorite television program, or listening to relaxing music. If they are still feeling overwhelmed, try engaging with them through conversation, a calming game, or singing.

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