8 Best Memory Care Activities for People Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can make a loved one seem incapable of participating in life. In reality, however, keeping them engaged and active can actually help them enjoy a more fulfilling and independent life, despite the disease. Here are eight easy memory care activities to try.

#1 – Enjoy music

Music is known to have an almost magical effect on people with Alzheimer’s disease which makes it one of the best memory care activities. According to the verywellmind.com article, “How Music Affects Those With Alzheimer’s Disease,” listening to and playing music can improve moods, boost memory, and relieve anxiety and depression. Music can also help a loved one recall wonderful times in their lives, inspire them to get up and dance or play an instrument, and encourage participation in sing-alongs. As 19th-century German poet Heinrich Heine once said, “Where words leave off, music begins.”

#2 – Share games and puzzles

Games and puzzles are fun and entertaining for everyone but for people with Alzheimer’s disease, they may be much more. Although research is ongoing, the healthline.com article “Best Brain Stimulating Games for Dementia and Why They Work” notes that playing games may stimulate the brain and improve cognitive abilities like memory and reasoning. Among the many choices are word games, jigsaw puzzles, dice games, card games, board games, video games and virtual reality games. Playing games also provides an excellent opportunity for family members of all ages to spend time with their loved one.

#3 – Exercise

It’s been said that “the more you do, the more you can do” so making exercise part of routine memory care activities is an excellent idea. Exercise not only helps maintain strength, coordination and muscle mass, but according to the webmd.com article, “Alzheimer’s Disease and Exercise,” repetitive exercises may help calm and lower anxiety, improve mood and sleep, and provide a sense of accomplishment.

#4 – Read

Reading is another excellent memory care activity, even after the disease progresses to the point that a loved one cannot read themselves. While the verywellhealth.com article, “Reading During Different Stages of Dementia,” notes that the ability to read begins to decline in the middle stages of dementia, there are still plenty of ways to engage a loved one with Alzheimer’s in the joy of reading. The most obvious is reading to them, which can become part of a daily routine, and another is listening together to audiobooks and talking about the story as it progresses. Check out the Alzheimer’s Association document “Reading Materials for Persons Living with Dementia” for great reading options.


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#5 – Reminisce

One thing many families quickly realize about Alzheimer’s disease is that their loved one may forget what they did an hour ago but memories from years, even decades ago remain crystal clear. This makes reminiscing a wonderful and fun way to spend time. Known as “reminiscence therapy” this memory care activity is described in the scie.org.uk article, “Reminiscence for people with dementia,” which recommends activities like sharing memory-provoking photographs and memorabilia, watching family videos, and listening to their favorite songs.

#6 – Embrace arts and crafts

Another highly recommended memory care activity is engaging in arts and crafts, even for those in the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Creating takes concentration and as noted in the bethesdahealth.org article, “Easy Crafts for Seniors with Dementia,” can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, decrease agitation and help reconnect with the present. Some crafts like painting can be done alone while others such as scrapbooking or creating a memory box can become a project that includes others.

#7 – Play with kids and pets

Staying connected to other living things is another easy and fun memory care activity, and that includes kids and pets. Spending an afternoon playing games with grandkids, taking a walk in a local park, baking cookies together, and playing fetch with a family pet can all go a long way toward making a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease feel special and included. For more great ideas, check out the medicalnewstoday.com article, “What are the best activities for someone with dementia?

#8 – Share routine chores

One last memory care activity is sharing daily routines around the home. Giving a person with Alzheimer’s disease jobs to do gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The nia.nih.gov article, “Adapting Activities for People With Alzheimer’s Disease,” explains how to best choose which activities are a good fit and offers a range of suggestions from folding laundry to feeding and walking a pet to tending to a garden.

Memory care at Thrive Senior Living offers a variety of daily memory care activities and much, much more! Download our “Memory Care” guide, then contact us to schedule a tour of one of our beautiful communities.