Sorting is a simple activity that can be done with a variety of materials. The person you care for can do this activity independently if they are not at risk of choking, and it can be done over and over again.
Sorting objects can include:
Ask your loved one to sort buttons, coins, silverware etc. You can ask them to sort by color, size, shape.
Magazines and books are a great outside source of entertainment.
A book, magazine, or audiobook.
Either read a book or magazine aloud to your loved one, or let them flip through one on their own. If your loved one doesn't mind headphones, an audiobook, either on a smartphone or tablet, might be perfect. You can get audiobooks free from your local library or from Audible by Amazon when you purchase an Audible Membership.
A hand massage using a little lotion with a favorite or relaxing scent is a simple way to connect and reduce tension.
Hand lotion. (An example of a complete Hand and Foot Lotion kit.)
Gently rub your loved one's hands. Be sure to be very soft in your pressure. Hand lotion can help.
Matching can be fun, and helps to engage your loved one in a mental activity.
Have your loved one match the different patterns or colors of fabric. Make piles out of each kind of fabric.
You can create your own matching game or purchase an already made one. If your loved one enjoys sewing and can still do some stitching, you can make the pieces yourself or have him or her help. For those who cannot sew, fabric choice and pattern tracing is a great way to help.
Having a person with dementia work with buttoning and unbuttoning, zipping and unzipping, serves a number of meaningful goals. This activity aids maintaining fine motor skills, and it provides a sense of accomplishment. If a person can successfully button and unbutton, he or she can potentially put on their shirt independently.
Backpack with lots of zippers. and latches would be ideal.
A shirt for buttons.
Practice zipping and buttoning with your loved one.
Can You Fix It? is an activity in which you ask your care recipient for some help repairing or restoring an item. The item could need to be reassembled or simply need batteries, but the focus is on asking the care recipient for help. You set a person up for success with this activity by knowing about their current abilities with regards to vision, dexterity and the ability to manipulate or manage tools.
Something that needs to be "fixed."
Ask your loved one if they can fix an item for you. Some individuals may need step by step directions or pictures to demonstrate the process. Be sure to make any necessary accommodations to the project so that they can participate on a level that matches their capacity.
Clay can keep people busy and give their hands something to do.
Clay or Dough
You can suggest simple objects such as a bowl or a face for your loved one to make, or encourage him or her to be creative. You can also select something in the room to copy as a model.
Small crossword puzzle books can keep everyone entertained. Large print ones might be easier.
Large Print Crossword Puzzles
Memory boxes can be a great way to link a person to what they love from their past, helping to restore a person's identity. Some reasons memory boxes are useful:
Help your loved one create a box of memories they can enjoy on a regular basis. When you search for keepsakes, you may find special items you did not realize the senior still had. You can put anything you like in a memory box. If your loved one is able, it is encouraged that he or she participates in the selection of items. You can use any style of box and even make an additional project out of decorating it.
Putting something familiar or meaningful in the hands of someone with dementia can provide a great deal of comfort and help soothe restless energy.
Pick objects that are sentimental to your loved one. Have them hold the object, and describe to you what it means to them or why it's important.