Activities for Alzheimer's Patients

March 1, 2011

Senior couple working on a scrapbook togetherI work as an activities assistant in a nursing home. Some of my patients have Alzheimer's/dementia. I have trouble finding craft/activities for them. Coloring gets very boring and I know they want to do more. I am also on a tight budget. With the warm weather coming I would like to start a garden club, but they are in wheelchairs. I am at a lost for ideas.


By joyce m mundie from Pittsburgh, PA


March 1, 20110 found this helpful
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I know you said you were on a tight budget, but perhaps you could get some donations to build raised beds for the garden. I visited a senior citizen's home once and there was a great garden area made up of raised beds and large container garden options as well.

Also, have you thought of researching memory games designed to help dementia patients? I believe that there are some specifically used for them. Perhaps, something as simple as sitting in a circle and introducing yourself, then the next person introduces you and themselves and so on.


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March 2, 20111 found this helpful
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Wonderful that you want to do this. National Gardening Association's Kid's Garden News has an archived article: "Gardens are for Everyone. . ." that has excellent ideas for gardeners in wheelchairs. Try searching their site,


You might be able to adapt some of these ideas to your budget. For instance, plastic guttering is relatively inexpensive and could be put in a frame at a working level for wheel chairs, or maybe used as indoor window boxes.

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March 3, 20111 found this helpful
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I also work as an activities assistant in a nursing home, here in FL. I know what you mean about trying to engage the dementia patients. We just did our gardening project yesterday. It went well. We planted sunflowers...which grow quickly and are stunning to look at. I'm hoping to get a garden club or boy scout troop to come in when it's time to transplant them into the ground to assist with that part of the project.


Other ideas about dementia patients, if possible and if they aren't too aggressive or combative, I've found they like to be given a job to do. Ask them to help you hand out supplies for an activity. Most don't do well in group settings, although we recently had a spelling bee and an Alzheimer's patient came in second place.

I understand the anger from KansasCindy. My dad also suffers terribly from Alzheimer's and since I live several states away, it is heartbreaking to think of my "once powerful, strong, CEO father" coloring in a nursing home. So, I am on both sides of a daughter of a patient and as a worker in a nursing home.

I would love to bounce ideas with you, if you'd like to stay in touch. Please contact me through a message .

Good luck! I know exactly how hard your job is, how exhausted and overwhelmed you feel.


God bless you!

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January 9, 20140 found this helpful
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I work at an AL facility but we also have quite a few in wheel chairs but you might be able to find some one like we did that will donate time and the materials to make crates. They will lift the pots off the ground, so the can get to them more easily it would lift the plants up enough that they would be able to reach without bending over in the chair.

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2 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 15, 2016

My mother has Alzheimer's and has been blind for about a year. She is bored to tears - literally - and lonely at the nursing home during the day by herself. She can no longer crochet. I tried coloring.

No good. She is advanced, but not so much that she would agree to a baby doll. I'm trying to find something she can do, by herself during the day until I get there after work to visit. Thank you.



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July 16, 20160 found this helpful

I am sure some of ThriftyFun's members will have good suggestions to offer. In the meantime, may I say, 'Your Mother is a very beautiful lady'.


Oh! I just thought of something. A blind woman taught me how to knit. She knitted pot holders for a good portion of the day. Maybe you Mother could try that. It would keep her hands busy til something more interesting was found. Good luck.

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July 18, 20160 found this helpful

She used to crochet and knit, but can no longer do it. I don't think she could do the pot holders either since her "memory muscle" seems to be gone as well. Otherwise, it'd be an awesome idea. Thank you for your response and I look forward to others, as well.

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April 25, 20170 found this helpful

Dear LJohnson, I have a few ideas for your mother who I hope is still doing well. She could fold fabrics of different textures to feel them. You can get a pocketbook or bag and fill it with stuff that she can sort. Also, my grandmother had dementia and was in a nursing home run by the state with limited activities.


My parents paid for her to have lifetime membership in the local senior center. The center picked her up every day and brought her to the group. She was around people and activities and we really felt it helped prolong her life; it certainly made her happy.

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August 19, 20190 found this helpful

I totally agree with you. My grandfather was dealing with Dementia, and started feeling sick after his retirement stage from office. Every time we meet him, he uses to name us with different identities. He is getting trouble in remembering the names. Last month He wanted to plan an estate and to distribute the things before he leave us, so we called eldercare lawyers and took help from them. But deep inside we pray for him to get well soon.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 1, 2011

I take care of my mom who has Alzheimer's. I feel badly that she is unable to feel useful.

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