How to Maintain Hobbies for Seniors with Dementia

Matthew Ralph-Savage

October 5, 2020

Hobbies are an engaging way to boost mood, and for someone with dementia, a familiar hobby can be a fantastic way to improve overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that taking part in hobbies can be highly beneficial for those living with dementia, and whilst some activities may have to be adapted to suit both physical and cognitive abilities, there are still plenty of ways to get involved in popular hobbies whilst on the dementia journey. Here we will explore just some of the ways to maintain hobbies whilst living with dementia.

Adapt Hobbies
Abilities can change when progressing along the dementia journey and therefore it can be beneficial to adapt certain activities to make them more accessible and enjoyable. For hobbies which include a lot of physical activity, such as sports, these can be adapted to seated games, or slowed down to suit physical capabilities. Another alternative for those with limited mobility could be to watch a sports game on the television or perhaps look at photographs of games in the past and talk over memories together.

Taking part in a hobby such as cooking can be highly enjoyable and beneficial for overall wellbeing for someone with dementia. There may need to be small adaptations to the cooking activities to ensure safety, but there are plenty of different ways to get involved. Actions such as kneading bread, decorating cakes and stirring sauces can all be highly relaxing and a brilliant way to get involved in the cooking processes. Measuring out the ingredients beforehand, can also be really helpful. The finished food will also help to engage the senses which is brilliant for boosting wellbeing.

Other popular hobbies include listening to music or watching a film. These can be fantastic for aiding in reminiscence, encouraging conversation and improving socialisation levels for someone living with dementia. Listening to a familiar song or watching an old film can spark memories and be highly relaxing.

Choose the Right Time
Considering the timing of activity is important for someone living with dementia as there may be certain times of the day which may be more suited for different activities. The morning can be a great time for those activities which are more physical in nature, whereas the afternoon can be brilliant for relaxing activities such as completing jigsaws, watching films or listening to music. Each person is unique and will have their own preference, so it’s important to consider the individual’s routine and when the best time is to take part in activities.

Activity Choice
Each person is unique and will have their own hobbies and preferences for activities they enjoy taking part in. It’s important to always consider the individual and the types of activities they would enjoy engaging with. There are plenty of dementia friendly alternatives to traditional activities so explore those which would be in line with the person’s hobbies.