A Nursing Home’s Guide to Keeping Seniors Active

Keeping Seniors With Dementia Mentally And Physically Active


By stimulating their mind and body, seniors with dementia will reap many health benefits, such as improved brain function, increased focus and self-confidence. While they may not be able to engage in certain activities independently, there are still many other ways for your loved one with dementia to stay mentally and physically active with your assistance and supervision. Engaging in activities, or even just simple movements or games, can make a huge positive impact on their health and emotional wellness. Here are ideas from our top nursing homes for keeping your senior loved one with dementia active.

Seated Exercises

Exercise doesn’t have to be a high-intensity, weight-lifting or independent activity to provide health benefits – you’d be surprised the impact simple movements can have. While your loved one is seated on a chair or laying in bed, they can do arm exercises. You can make it fun by giving them props such as pom poms, streamers or maracas! This can help them build muscle as well as maintain flexibility and range of motion. Music is a great way to stimulate their minds and can even bring back memories, so play some background music from their era. You can even help them try to move to the rhythm. Music, movement and props make for a successful exercise program for your loved one. Make sure to take lots of breaks and give them water to stay hydrated.

Sensory Sessions

Activities that encourage the use of the senses are great for seniors with dementia, as it stimulates their brain, can be calming and improves overall mood. There are so many different activities that focus on touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight. Simple activities, such as hand massages, can help evoke positive memories and emotions, as well as encourage your loved one to communicate and engage with the people around them. Some other ideas include reading to them, cooking their favorite meal, giving them new or unique items to touch, getting them a stuffed animal to hold, or aromatherapy.

Happy Hobbies

If your loved one has any hobbies they used to enjoy, encourage them to partake in them again, as they can keep their brain active using an activity you know they’ll love. You could also introduce them to new activities as potential new hobbies. Some examples of these include drawing, gardening, crafting, baking with you, sorting, or bird watching. The opportunities are endless to encourage your loved one to start up a hobby, and they will gain so much from it such as improved self-confidence, brain function and focus.

When helping your loved one engage in activities, be sure to watch for common negative emotions seniors with dementia might experience during an activity, such frustration, anger, or confusion. It’s important to be sure to make them as comfortable as possible so that they will enjoy the activities and have a positive experience. Some ways you can help make the activities enjoyable include simplifying the activity to their comfort level, slowing down, keeping the environment calm, speaking plainly and simply, respecting them and helping them throughout an activity when needed. It’s important to recognize when and if you need to stop an activity to prevent them from having or mitigating negative emotions. The staff in memory care communities is happy to help your loved one stay mentally and physically active to increase their quality of life.

To learn more or to schedule a tour of our memory care communities, please contact our friendly team today.

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