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.
- Greet the person by his or her first name – Helps the person feel known; sometimes a first name is best
- Make eye contact and smile – From 6 feet away you can briefly lower your mask
- Tell someone he or she is loved – Reassuring words always help
- Give a sincere compliment – It only takes a few seconds and lifts the person’s spirits
- Ask an opinion – Shows you value the person
- Blow up a balloon and enjoy a simple one-on-one balloon toss – Pop it when done for infection control
- Evoke a happy memory from the person’s Life Story – Even with dementia, the person often remembers special achievements or big life events
- Slip a little treat to someone – Chocolate almost always lifts the mood!
- Show off some family photos or photos of your pet – Children and pets are popular choices
- Look at or create a flower arrangement together – Admire the colors and textures
- Ask for advice on a recipe – You might learn some new techniques
- Tell a funny story or joke – Laughter reduces stress and builds connection
- 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
- 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
- Try on some funny hats – It’s okay to be a bit silly, just be safe and don’t share the same hats
- Step onto a patio or enclosed courtyard for fresh air – Sunlight fights depression and the outdoors is life affirming for all
- Hum a tune – Music and song lyrics remain even when dementia impacts words and language
- Blow a kiss – This playful old ritual shows affection; you might get one back (from at least 6 feet away)
- Demonstrate a jumping jack – Guaranteed to add some fun to the day
- Recite a poem – Can evoke meaning and emotion
- Spell someone’s name – A very personal activity, and especially interesting if the person has an unusual name
- Model your collection of interesting scarves – Brainstorm different things you can do for fun with a scarf—a tug of war?
- Ask for help with a chore – People with dementia, like all of us, have a need to be needed
- Ask an open-ended question to promote conversation – “Tell me more about the people in this photograph”
- Comment on something interesting in a resident’s room – “Did you make this quilt?”
- Do some brain aerobics with simple word associations – Up and… down, top and… bottom, salt and… pepper, etc.
- Brainstorm desserts you are craving or comfort foods – “What’s better, mashed potatoes with gravy or macaroni and cheese?”
- Do some trivia about your hometown or city – Make lists of noted local stores or restaurants
- Do a survey or take a vote on a popular task – Who is a cat person? Dog person? Both? Neither?
- Make the heart sign with your fingers and hands – Who doesn’t benefit from being told he or she is loved?
Copyright © 2020 by Health Professions Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Best Friends™ is a trademark of Health Professions Press.
Learn about the Best Friends™ approach!
What people experiencing memory loss need most of all is someone dedicated to helping them feel safe, secure, and valued—at all stages of the disease. Adopting the internationally acclaimed Best Friends™ approach to dementia care helps professional and family care providers gain the skills and confidence needed for this critical role.
Learn more about Best Friends™ products, training, and additional services at bestfriends.healthpropress.com.