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Staying at Home

Helping the person with dementia to stay in their own home is widely considered to benefit them.  They are in familiar surroundings, continue to see friends and neighbours frequently and can maintain their normal routines, all of which can be reassuring for someone who may be confused.  Often when a person with dementia moves to another home their condition deteriorates more rapidly.

How to manage with a memory problem.  A psychologist makes some recommendations for managing at home.  Download at bottom of page.

 Photo courtesy: Sergio Schuler

Some activities that can be both stimulating and fun!  These activities can take as little as ten minutes or a whole morning depending upon the person's health, aptitude for the task and interest in doing it, not all of these suggestions will suit everyone - it's all about personal taste, but do try something new!  These ideas can also give some reassurance and comfort to people who have dementia.

  • Cut out pictures from the newspaper and stick onto the reverse of left over rolls of wallpaper.
  • Do something new.  If doing something new causes agitation, stop straight away and try another time.
    • Try something new to eat.
    • Wear some jewellery that hasn't been worn for a while.
    • Take a different route if going for a walk.
  • Make a memory box
  • Water the house plants.  Take off the dead leaves.  Discuss the plants' leaves, are they smooth or prickly.  Perhaps take some cuttings for friends or neighbours.
  • If the weather is fair go out into the garden.  Find out about gardening for people with dementia.
  • Play favourite songs and sing along.
  • Roll knitting yarn into balls.
  • Rub in some handcream and enjoy the massage movements together.
  • Look at family photographs.  Talking photograph frames.
  • Ask a friend to bring along a friendly dog for a short visit.  Or you could contact Pets As Therapy to find out about having a visit from a registered pet or becoming a volunteer.
  • Make a personal history booklet.
  • Read out loud.  It uses a different part of the brain to reading to yourself.  Take turns in reading and listening.  Choose your books carefully, perhaps a book with photographs of the movie stars of the fifties or locomotives from the age of steam or a book about a hobby that is of interest to the person with dementia, or a book about a place visited on a family holiday or a place where they lived.  This reading could stimulate talking about their experiences and gives them an opportunity to talk to younger members of the family about times past. Young children will really enjoy this and it helps to maintain important family bonds.
  • Write letters to family members or friends.  These can be written using a computer and help from a carer, but it is important to make sure that the letters are in the words of the person with dementia.  They could sign the letters and include a photograph or a picture snipped from a magasine.
  • Communication through creativity.  When verbal communication becomes increasingly difficult get creative together.  Art ideas and resources from Positive Dementia.
  • Free swimming for the over 60s.  Swimming is a good exercise to keep the joints mobile and the heart and lungs healthy.  Take advantage of the opportunity for a free swim in Rugby, North Warwickshire, or Stratford.
  • Baby doll/soft toy therapy.  There are some people who have dementia who derive comfort and purpose from having a doll or soft toy.  This article discusses the potential pros and cons and reflects on experiences within a residential care setting.  Use teddies with recordable messages from family or friends.  Sound gadgets can be bought to sew into toys you already have and love.
  • The use of softly coloured lights can be therapeutic in providing a relaxing environment.


Let us know about your favourite activities.  DISC is not responsible for external websites' content.  Any specific products are mentioned for suggested ideas only.

Below is a download for a more comprehensive list of activities and ideas about gardening activities.

Activities for People With Dementia.pdf145.13 KB
Gardening.pdf357.08 KB
Coping With Memory problems.pdf128.8 KB