Engaging Activities for Persons Living with Dementia: Enhancing Quality of Life and Well-being

In this post, we explore some of the best activities for people living with dementia, along with tips for successful implementation.

Getting Started

Engaging individuals living with dementia in meaningful activities is essential for maintaining their cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life. While dementia can pose challenges to participation in traditional activities, there are numerous tailored and adaptive options that can bring joy, stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment to those living with the diagnosis. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best activities for people living with dementia, along with tips for successful implementation.

  1. Sensory Stimulation:
    Sensory activities can provide calming and enjoyable experiences for individuals living with dementia. Examples include:
    • Sensory boxes filled with textured objects like fabric swatches, pinecones, or seashells.
    • Aromatherapy sessions using essential oils with calming scents like lavender or citrus.
    • Music therapy sessions featuring familiar songs or soothing instrumental music.
  2. Reminiscence Therapy:
    Reminiscence activities help individuals living with dementia recall and share memories from their past, fostering a sense of identity and connection. Ideas for reminiscence therapy include:
    • Memory books or scrapbooks filled with photos, mementos, and stories from their life.
    • Conversation prompts such as old newspapers, magazines, or historical events to spark reminiscing.
    • Themed reminiscence sessions focusing on specific life milestones, such as weddings, holidays, or vacations.
  3. Creative Arts:
    Engaging in creative arts can provide a sense of accomplishment and self-expression for individuals with dementia. Consider:
    • Painting or coloring activities using large, easy-to-handle brushes or markers.
    • Crafting projects such as simple clay sculpting, collage making, or decorating picture frames.
    • Group music or dance sessions where participants can sing along, play instruments, or engage in gentle movement exercises.
  4. Nature-Based Activities:
    Connecting with nature can have therapeutic benefits for individuals living with dementia, promoting relaxation and sensory stimulation. Ideas include:
    • Gardening activities such as planting flowers, watering plants, or arranging bouquets.
    • Outdoor walks in a safe and accessible environment, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.
    • Birdwatching or feeding sessions using bird feeders placed near windows for easy viewing.
  5. Physical Exercise:
    Regular physical activity is important for maintaining mobility, balance, and overall health in individuals with dementia. Consider:
    • Gentle exercises such as chair yoga, stretching, or tai chi adapted for the abilities of participants.
    • Walking programs indoors or outdoors, with supervision and support as needed.
    • Fun and interactive games like balloon volleyball, bean bag toss, or adapted bowling using soft pins and balls.

Tips for Success

Keep activities simple, manageable, and tailored to the individual’s interests, abilities, and preferences.
• Maintain a calm and supportive environment, minimizing distractions and sensory overload.
• Be flexible and adaptable, adjusting activities as needed based on the person’s response and mood.
• Encourage participation through positive reinforcement, praise, and encouragement.
• Focus on the process rather than the outcome, emphasizing enjoyment and engagement over perfection.


Engaging people affected by dementia in meaningful activities is not only beneficial for their cognitive and emotional well-being but also enhances their overall quality of life. By incorporating sensory stimulation, reminiscence therapy, creative arts, nature-based activities, and physical exercise into their daily routines, caregivers can provide enriching and fulfilling experiences that promote dignity, independence, and joy for individuals living with dementia. Remember, the best activities are those that spark moments of connection, laughter, and shared enjoyment, fostering a sense of purpose and belonging for all involved.

About the Author

Picture of NCCDP Staff


The NCCDP staff consists of a full team of experts in dementia care & education.