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Why Meaningful Activities Are Vital to Happiness and Health in People with Dementia

A senior man gets out of bed and looks at a framed photo

Memory loss and trouble communicating are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but people with dementia can also experience other important losses, such as their confidence and self-esteem.

If your loved one is experiencing dementia-related memory loss, you may benefit from understanding the important role of meaningful activities for people with dementia. In many cases, these activities provide essential support that allows your loved one to retain existing abilities, maintain or establish greater independence, and improve their mental state.


How Meaningful Activities for People with Dementia Can Help

Too often, people with dementia disengage from the world around them—although not necessarily because that’s what they want or because their cognitive abilities force them to do so. Lack of stimulation can exacerbate the decline for someone experiencing memory loss, but meaningful activities for people with dementia promote a better quality of life.


Create Structure

People with dementia tend to thrive on consistent and familiar patterns in their daily lives. Building each day around meaningful activities lends structure to the daily routine while giving participants daily events they look forward to and the consistency they crave.


Halt Dementia Progression

While researchers haven’t figured out how to reverse the symptoms of dementia, it is possible to delay or halt progression of the condition through certain therapies. Activities that encourage a person to use critical-thinking skills, practice language, or complete familiar tasks can all help a person retain those abilities longer.


Promote Pride

Frustration and dwindling confidence are common feelings for people receiving dementia care as they recognize their abilities fading or find themselves unable to articulate their thoughts and needs. Meaningful activities for people with dementia are typically tailored to a person’s abilities so they can find success and a reason to be proud of their accomplishments. Even small victories can trigger a beneficial mood boost.


Channel Attention

People with dementia commonly display behaviors like agitation, repetition, and restlessness. Providing constructive and engaging activities can be an effective method for redirecting their attention in a more productive and soothing direction.


Encourage Socialization

By nature of the abilities it strips, including language and communication, dementia can be a very isolating condition. Activities that encourage social engagement with fellow residents and caregivers allow people with dementia to reap the mental and physical health benefits of socialization and reduce their social withdrawal.


Reduce Apathy

A dementia diagnosis can leave a person feeling without purpose, which may lead to an apathetic mindset. Frustration with declining abilities or problems communicating can also cause a person with dementia to detach from their surroundings. Activities that encourage participation and pique curiosity can help draw someone back into a more purposeful and engaged existence.


What Are Some Examples of Meaningful Activities?

The most effective activities to engage a person with dementia are based on their personal interests, experiences, and strengths. Some examples of meaningful activities for a person with dementia include:

  • Tasks associated with activities of daily living, such as setting the table or folding laundry
  • Intergenerational activities with children, such as reading, singing, or telling stories
  • Creative approaches to physical activity like throwing a balloon or chair exercises with hand-held streamers
  • Opportunities to practice fine motor skills through coloring, sorting coins, or assembling crafts
  • Cognitive exercises like puzzles and memory teaser games like “name that tune”


Our Approach to Memory Care

At Springpoint, we strive to enhance the physical, cognitive, and social well-being of our residents. Our exclusive program, Connections – A Dementia Care Model of Excellence™, is delivered by specially trained and compassionate team members who use methods that focus on what residents can do versus what they can’t.

You can expect to find resources like state-of-the-art multisensory environment rooms in our memory care communities. We also plan scheduled activities in our enclosed outdoor garden areas and offer a variety of stations with meaningful activities for people with dementia.

Contact us to learn more about our memory care services at our Life Plan Communities in New Jersey and Delaware.


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