Group activities in care homes are a fantastic way for people with dementia to socialise with each other, giving them an opportunity to talk, reminisce and share experiences, which will have a huge impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Here are some ideas:
1) Sing Along
Create a playlist of your care home residents’ favourite songs and encourage them to sing along to the music. You can print off large lyric sheets to help the singing.
Encourage care home residents to get involved in gardening, helping each other plant seeds and taking pride in watching their garden flourish as the year progresses.
Gentle walking groups, around a garden or local park, encourages light exercise and gives people with dementia at the care home an opportunity to spend time together.
4) Lawn Skittles
Set up garden skittles, dividing care home residents into 2 teams and encouraging gentle competition.
5) Tea Dance
Organise a tea dance for the care home residents to enjoy dancing with each other to their favourite songs.
6) Art Session
Depending on the weather, the art session can be enjoyed inside or outside. Care home residents and dementia patients can either let their imagination lead their creativity or paint a still-life or their surroundings. Or, for residents who struggle with their dexterity, Aquapaint can be used.
Bingo can be enjoyed in a large group. There are specialised, dementia-friendly bingo games, such as Animal Bingo, which encourages cognitive function and social participation.
8) Book Club
Start a book club with your care home residents. In a quiet room, read a book to the group, allowing people to discuss the story with each other.
Doing a jigsaw in a group is a fun way to interact, spending time helping each other to assemble the pieces. Dementia-friendly puzzles have been specifically designed for all abilities, and the images chosen help spark reminiscence and conversation.
In small groups, encourage care home residents to make a cake together. Each person can take on a task, e.g. cracking the eggs, mixing the batter. Once the cake has been cooked, everyone can enjoy the end result with a cup of tea.
11) Sensory Session
Introduce a series of smells to the care home residents, asking them to discuss what each scent makes them think about. This activity will help encourage reminiscence and discussion within the group and among people with dementia. To help, you may want to use specialised sensory games, such as Scentscape.
Group meditation is a fantastic care home activity to help residents unwind and relax. In a quiet, dimly-lit room play some gentle music and read a guided mediation (these can be found online) or play a YouTube mediation for the residents to follow.
13) Photo Sharing
In a group, ask each care home resident to bring a picture of a loved one or a memorable event in their life. In turn, each person shows the picture to the group and discusses their loved one/special event.
14) Film Night
Gather care home residents in a room and play a much-loved film for everyone to enjoy. Make it a special occasion by providing delicious snacks and drinks.
15) Washing Up
Ask a group of care home residents to help with the washing up, allowing them to take turns to wash, dry and put away the items. People will enjoy feeling useful and feel pride once the task is complete.
16) Discussion Group
Take the daily newspaper and pick out an article, read this to the care home residents and then they can discuss this and maybe have a debate about it, if they wish.