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The best activities to engage and help those living with dementia over Christmas

People who suffer from dementia struggle at this time of year more than any other due to changes in routine and environment and it can be a challenge to know how to engage with them.

This guide is from The Live In Care Company which sources and provides live-in care to the elderly. It provides a great explanation of how activities can both stimulate the brain and trigger memories for dementia patients. Did you know that ‘playing a musical instrument has been shown as being beneficial for people’s cognitive health’ for example?

Here are their care expert’s top six most recommended tips:

1. Jigsaws puzzles

“Jigsaws and puzzles can be great ways of helping pass the time. They can also help keep a person with dementia’s brain active and give them a good opportunity to practice fine motor functioning. You can even buy personalised jigsaw puzzles that might make the activity more enjoyable for the person.”

Take a look at the  broad range of nostalgic jigsaw puzzles in the Silversurfers Shop 

2. Crosswords

“Doing sudoku and crosswords will not reverse dementia symptoms but they can be enjoyable activities for people with dementia over Christmas. Since these are also problem-solving exercises, they can encourage connections in the brain to continue to remain active, hopefully reducing the speed at which they are lost.”

3. Listening to music

“Listening to music can be relaxing for people with dementia and there are studies that suggest it can improve mood and therefore wellbeing. It could be a great idea to play some classic Christmas songs when spending time with someone with dementia over Christmas. Certain songs may also activate and stimulate specific memories which can be important for someone who is losing their memory.”

Enjoy a selection of André Rieu’s best loved Christmas melodies here

4. Baking or cooking

“This can be a great activity to do with loved ones at Christmas as it can be an opportunity for people with dementia to try to remember recipes that they used to make or follow a new recipe using clear instructions.”

5. Looking at old photos

“This can be a useful activity to help people with dementia recognise familiar faces of family members and friends. It can also be an opportunity for them to reminisce and recall any memories that may be triggered by the photographs.”

6. Card games

“Playing card games that the person with dementia is familiar with can help stimulate cognitive processes involved with memory and problem-solving. It’s a great way to involve several family members in a group activity over Christmas. Adapt games if you need to to make it easier to play, and remind them of the rules as you go along.”

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