Dementia Care in the Time of COVID-19

30 Dementia Care Activities During COVID-19

Dementia Care in the Time of COVID-19: 30 Activities That Can Be Done in 30 Seconds or Less

Every interaction can create a moment of connection. This coronavirus-sensitive list offers just a few ideas for maintaining critical socialization and engagement in this time of crisis.

  1. Greet the person by his or her first name – Helps the person feel known; sometimes a first name is best
  2. Make eye contact and smile – From 6 feet away you can briefly lower your mask
  3. Tell someone he or she is loved – Reassuring words always help
  4. Give a sincere compliment – It only takes a few seconds and lifts the person’s spirits
  5. Ask an opinion – Shows you value the person
  6. Blow up a balloon and enjoy a simple one-on-one balloon toss – Pop it when done for infection control
  7. Evoke a happy memory from the person’s Life Story – Even with dementia, the person often remembers special achievements or big life events
  8. Slip a little treat to someone – Chocolate almost always lifts the mood!
  9. Show off some family photos or photos of your pet – Children and pets are popular choices
  10. Look at or create a flower arrangement together – Admire the colors and textures
  11. Ask for advice on a recipe – You might learn some new techniques
  12. Tell a funny story or joke – Laughter reduces stress and builds connection
  13. Ask the person to mimic your dance moves to fun music playing in the background – Exercise and movement are good for the brain and body
  14. Play a song from your phone – Find out what type of music your resident likes best and play his or her favorite song or singer
  15. Try on some funny hats – It’s okay to be a bit silly, just be safe and don’t share the same hats
  16. Step onto a patio or enclosed courtyard for fresh air – Sunlight fights depression and the outdoors is life affirming for all
  17. Hum a tune – Music and song lyrics remain even when dementia impacts words and language
  18. Blow a kiss – This playful old ritual shows affection; you might get one back (from at least 6 feet away)
  19. Demonstrate a jumping jack – Guaranteed to add some fun to the day
  20. Recite a poem – Can evoke meaning and emotion
  21. Spell someone’s name – A very personal activity, and especially interesting if the person has an unusual name
  22. Model your collection of interesting scarves – Brainstorm different things you can do for fun with a scarf—a tug of war?
  23. Ask for help with a chore – People with dementia, like all of us, have a need to be needed
  24. Ask an open-ended question to promote conversation – “Tell me more about the people in this photograph”
  25. Comment on something interesting in a resident’s room – “Did you make this quilt?”
  26. Do some brain aerobics with simple word associations – Up and… down, top and… bottom, salt and… pepper, etc.
  27. Brainstorm desserts you are craving or comfort foods – “What’s better, mashed potatoes with gravy or macaroni and cheese?”
  28. Do some trivia about your hometown or city – Make lists of noted local stores or restaurants
  29. Do a survey or take a vote on a popular task – Who is a cat person? Dog person? Both? Neither?
  30. Make the heart sign with your fingers and hands – Who doesn’t benefit from being told he or she is loved?

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