Mom's Place - Residential Board and Care for Seniors

Going It Alone

Greater Phoenix Chapter
Alzheimer's Association

Dementia Training for
Assisted Living Directed Care Program

The activities described below promote interaction, encourage creativity, provide exercise and add zest to the life of the person with AD or other dementia.

Early Stage Socialization Activities


    Card games like war, Old Maid, large jigsaw puzzles and dominoes.


    Use watercolors, washable markers or crayons; limit color to 3 or 4.


    If the person has knitted or crocheted in the past, he or she may enjoy making small squares of different colors in an easy pattern.


    Form simple clay shapes. Make small coil pots. Use fork to score items. Cookie cutters can be used for shapes. Clay can then be fired and painted.


    Plant seeds, water and weed existing plants and flowers. Do not use toxic materials.


    Organize a photo scrapbook of favorite people and
    places. Discuss the subject matter to bring out memories of the subject.


    Place large colorful stamps in an album.


    Insert coins into coin albums.

Current Events:

    Discuss news stories. Relate current events to the past. Ask questions like -- Whom did you vote for in the past? What was the bus fare when you rode the bus? How did kids get to school when you were young? Don't challenge inaccuracies.


    People at this stage of AD can usually feed and care for a pet if reminded. Bring in pets for visits or use drawings or pictures of animals for discussions.


    The person who liked art, music, or lectures before their illness may still want to attend these functions.


    Making a bed, gathering linens, folding laundry, sweeping and dusting are all things people can do with some supervision.


    Take regular walks (same time) daily. Make sure that the shoes fit and that the laces are tied. Residents should wear identification.


    Some people enjoy dancing and simple aerobic exercises to music.

    Note: The type of exercise at this stage depends on the remaining ability and interests of the person. Exercise is used to improve circulation, relieve stress and improve behavior in the person with AD. All exercise and out-door activities need to be supervised

Middle Stage Activities


    Match cards according to color or suit. Separate checkers by color and match them to the checkerboard.


    Use watercolors, washable markers or crayons; limit color to one.


    Wind yam into a ball or onto cards by color. Discuss the colors and what they mean to the person.


    Use non-toxic play dough. Make balls and discuss the colors and what the balls remind the person of


    Arrange cut flowers. Use unbreakable vases. Smell the flowers and talk about times in the garden.


    Arrange photos of family members or other people the person sees frequently. Label each photo - write the first name and relationship of these people in large letters. Discuss the subject matter to bring out memories of the people.


    Sort stamps, coins, buttons or other objects by size or color. Watch that the items don't end up in resident's mouths.


    Reading comprehension may be limited. Picture books, colorful magazines, and catalogues are better at this stage. The person can clip out the pictures that appeal to them using blunt scissors and paste pictures in a notebook using a glue stick.


    Bring in pets for visits or use drawings or pictures of animals for discussions.

Art / Music:

    Listening to music is soothing. Provide art and photography books. - Ask them to describe the pictures.


    The resident may still be able to do simple chores, like dusting.


    Walk slowly with assistance for short distances.


    Form a circle and bat the balloon or beach ball. Beanbag Toss. Chair exercises to music. Toss the beach ball in the laundry basket. Table exercises using a beach ball.

Late Stage Activities

In the advanced or late stage of AD, the resident will not remember names, has difficulty walking and seems unaware of surroundings. Possible activities include:


    Toss a balloon and see if he or she will tap it back.


    Brush his cheek with different textures - silk cotton, wool,, velvet to see if they respond. Talk about the feel - soft, scratchy, cool, warm, or hard.

Nerf Ball:

    See is she will squeeze a nerf ball by placing it in their hands and gently squeezing.


    Use good smelling lotion, like baby lotion to rub on hands to see if he responds to the smell or texture of the lotion.

Stuffed Toys:

    Provide a soft toy to hold. Use only toys that have no removable eyes or other parts.


    Pay soft music or big band tunes. Some people respond to music boxes.


    Bring in a cat or dog for a visit.

Passive Exercise:

    Move the person's arms or legs for them, if he or she is not able to do it.

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