Nearly 14% of people aged over 70 in the United States have some form of dementia and this figure increases with age.
Over 37% of people aged over 90 are suffering from some kind of dementia.
Despite this obvious burden, this doesn’t mean that a dementia patient needs to stop living completely.
In fact, some evidence shows that being engaged and having fun may slow the progress of the condition.
There is even an argument that fun activities may reduce the need for medication and leave dementia patients less distressed.
Remember To Always Keep Safety In Mind
Whatever activities you help a senior with dementia do, it is vital to ensure that they can’t cause injury.
You may need to supervise or assist with some things such as baking (dementia patients can mix ingredients easily enough but shouldn’t be allowed to access an oven unsupervised, the risk of burns is simply too high).
You should also keep in mind that many dementia patients will put things in their mouths and therefore, try to keep choking hazards to a minimum.
Our Favorite Easy Crafts For Seniors With Dementia
This is a very simple thing to do.
It involves getting a bunch of large and brightly colored clothespins and letting the person make patterns or decorations on cloth or other things with them.
Don’t use small clothespins though as they may present a choking hazard to the individual.
Build Things With Lego
When you’re a kid, Lego rocks because it allows your imagination to run free. It’s something that many seniors with dementia enjoy too.
If they still have most of the faculties and good manual dexterity, Lego is the right tool, but if there are any doubts, the much larger Duplo blocks can help to ensure the individual’s safety.
Making Painted-Bead Necklaces
Take a small handful of wooden beads of roughly one inch in length. Grab some acrylic paints and paint brushes and then paint the beads.
They can then be strung together to make necklaces or bracelets with cords when they are dry. If the person doesn’t want to wear these, they can always be given out as gifts.
If the person with dementia has fond memories of gardening and the outdoors, then flower arranging might be super fun.
All you need is some artificial flowers, a vase and if you want, some florist’s foam to line the vase with.
Sharpie Mug Personalization
All you need for this activity is a bunch of dollar store coffee mugs and some oil-based Sharpies.
Then you let the person create whatever design they want on the mug.
You might be surprised at how good this turns out – many carers say that dementia patients respond really well to this activity.
Make A May Day Door Hanger
This is an old tradition that could easily be revived. You start with a simple square of paper (nice paper) and then roll it up into a cone and fasten it in place.
You make a hole in the opposite sides of the mouth of the cone and tie a ribbon through it. Then, you fill the cone with flowers. It makes for beautiful decorations.
Decorate Their Walker
If the person uses a walker to get around, one really fun activity can be giving that walker a bit of “personality”.
Stickers, paints, glitter, whatever is available can be used to create a truly bespoke walker.
Paint Upcycled Glass Containers
Old glass containers should never be thrown out and, in fact, you can easily upcycle them into art projects that any senior can enjoy.
You may need to buy special paints that can be used on glass (though we would note that oil-based and acrylic paints are usually fine and you may have them already at home).
Then all it takes is imagination to create something unique.
Make A Scrapbook
This can be a really rewarding activity for seniors. Making a scrapbook can allow someone with dementia to focus on their favorite things and collect them together to provide a “happy place”.
All you need for this is some safety scissors, safety glue and a scrapbook and a stack of magazines or photographs, etc. So, it’s not expensive.
Yes, slime. It’s great for the grandchildren to play with and it’s texturally super fun too.
You need a bottle (8 oz.) of Elmer’s school glue, some saline solution, a tablespoon of baking soda and some food coloring.
Then pop the glue and food coloring in a bowl and stir it up. Then add the baking soda.
Then add roughly 1.5 tablespoons of saline solution to the mix and mix it up. If the slime is still too sticky, increase the saline by 0.5 tablespoons at a time until it’s right.
Finally, knead it to make it all hold together. You can store it in a bag or any container with a lid on.
Decorate And Bake Cookies
You might want to bake the cookies first if the person struggles to follow the directions. But then they can ice and decorate the cookies to their heart’s content.
Get an icing bag and some icing pencils and you’re away!
Nearly any piece of card or paper can be turned into a beautiful bookmark with a little effort. Why not see what your senior with dementia can create?
Final Thoughts On Crafts For Seniors With Dementia
Some of our crafts for seniors with dementia may not be suited to all dementia patients, much depends on the progress of the disease in a given individual.
You will need to exercise your judgement to ensure that they are kept safe at all times.
You may also find that in moments of clarity that it can be a good idea to play mental games such as riddles or jigsaw puzzles to try and exercise the brain.
They might also appreciate some of these fun and interesting activities for seniors.
However, we would remind you to stop these activities if they cause any emotional distress to the person with dementia.