A-MAZE-ING Activities to Do Over the Holiday Season for People with Dementia

Cormac Stanford

April 28, 2021

The holidays are a magical time known for reminiscing with friends and family over nostalgia-filled memories or even reliving them. But if your close friend or loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s may have trouble remembering, there are still ways to entertain and keep them busy when visiting with them over the holidays. For one, Relish has a multitude of A-MAZE-ING activities that people living with dementia can engage with — from fidget widgets to marble mazes and more!

First, you can begin a walk down memory lane with your friend or loved one by steering the conversation using reminiscent objects or images, or magnetic picture boards. For example, Relish’s holiday-themed set of Reminiscence Cards provides the perfect opportunity to sit and relax together after a Christmas dinner or over tea, while telling the stories of your connected lives. The evocative series of pictures and conversation prompts can trigger smiles when discussing fun-filled experiences and looking at images of joyful times. Our reminiscence-inspired products are located here: Calm Frenetic Fidgeters Over the Hurried Holidays

Unfortunately, fidgety hands are a sign of stress and anxiety that starts to subconsciously manifest in people living with dementia. This can include constantly gripping or pulling at clothing or nearby fabrics, wringing or rubbing the hands together, among others. While these behaviors serve to soothe, they can often become extremely distracting or even destructive, especially during stressful times like the holidays.

One way to combat this is to provide the person with a toy or object that can be manipulated and serve as a focal point to detract from the nervous behaviors. In fact, energetic hands are good because they can distract a frenetic mind. No matter what toy or object you provide to the person, the goal is to have him/her engage with it, but also to make sure that the object is safe and large enough that it can’t be lost, mistakenly tied around parts of the body, or ingested. These can vary from tennis balls, which are fuzzy to the touch, to stress relievers that feel squishy, to marketed products like fidget spinners or widgets.

Here are some examples of products that Relish offers, that are tailored to people experiencing early symptoms of dementia all the way up through the late stages:

  • “Fidget widgets” are fidgeting instruments that a person living with dementia can hold while engaging his/her kinesthetic sense. These allow the person to stay calm and relax enough that he/she may “get lost in” the repetitive movements, such as rolling, twisting, turning, sliding, or spinning. By employing the hand muscles, they boost fine motor skills. So get fidgeting with our widgets that come in all different varieties. Here’s a game to play using our special, discounted toolkit: Fidget Widget Toolkit- Another fidget buster are our marble mazes, which are a great tactile way to grab attention and draw engagement. The trick is to get the marble from point A to point B and have fun the entire way with an exciting coordination and dexterity workout. An added benefit of mazes is that they employ spatial reasoning while boosting independence. They are offered in a track version, as well as spiral and infinity shapes too at: .
    To view our digital catalog featuring “a-MAZE-ing” mental games and more active physical activities tailored to people living with dementia or other memory loss conditions, please visit Relish-life.com or download our free app for families and caregivers here: .