With summer right around the corner and temperatures reaching a pleasant average across the country, it’s the perfect time to shake off the last of your winter blues. For many that means getting back to a regular routine of activities. For seniors with dementia, summer is a great time to engage in fun and safe activities that can help improve their cognitive health while also giving them a feeling of accomplishment, peace, and happiness.
1. Plant a Garden
Spending time in the great outdoors provides a host of benefits to older adults. The Vitamin D from the sun can boost moods and even keep circadian rhythms regular, meaning a better night’s sleep. One of the best ways to spend time outside for seniors with dementia is to plant a garden. The physical demands of digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and then taking care of the sprouts is a great way for seniors to stay active and keep their muscles and joints strong and flexible. Additionally, the ability to see something start from nothing and grow into something beautiful like a flower or tasty like a tomato can be good for those with dementia to experience a sense of accomplishment and pride.
2. Go Bird Watching
Another great outdoor activity for seniors with dementia to participate in is bird watching. There’s something calming about watching birds go about their daily routines, whether splashing in a bird bath, eating, or singing their summer song. The activity is neither mentally nor physically taxing, but it still offers the opportunity for seniors with dementia to learn a new skill and test their cognitive abilities by trying to remember names of birds or by identifying common birds that they see frequently. All you need to do is set up a feeder (or don’t!) and enjoy the show.
3. Make a Summertime Treat
When it gets too hot to stay outdoors without risking dehydration or other negative effects from the heat, there are plenty of fun activities to do from the comfort of the air conditioning. Under the right supervision, having some fun in the kitchen can be a great activity. Try a new recipe for a summer-themed sweet. Bonus points if it’s frozen like a popsicle or homemade ice cream! Just be sure to keep things lighthearted and easy.
4. Have a Movie Marathon
Another low-key indoor activity is to have a movie marathon. Pop some popcorn, collect your favorite movie candy (Twizzlers or Raisinets, anyone?), then settle in for an afternoon or evening with the big screen. For added fun, add a theme to your marathon, whether its movies from the 1950s, romantic comedies, or a favorite series like Star Wars.
5. Work on a Craft
For this last one, the options are endless, and you can choose to take your activity outside or remain indoors. Working on a craft like painting, beading, or even knitting is a great way to spend an afternoon. Putting together a scrapbook of old pictures and mementos can help your loved one with dementia reflect and remember the memories and people they love the most.
The compassionate care team at St. Martin’s in the Pines seeks to help your senior loved one discover a fun activity that’s sure to pique their interest and engage their senses. For more information about our resident-centered, community-driven approach to senior living, please click here today to schedule a tour.