Activities for dementia

Having dementia doesn't mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy.

There are all sorts of activities you can do – physical, mental, social and creative – that help you to live well with dementia and improve wellbeing.

If you care for someone who has dementia, a shared activity can make both of you happier and able to enjoy quality time together.

You can continue with the activities you already enjoy, though they may take longer than they used to. Or try new activities, such as the suggestions on this page.

Stay socially active

Keeping in touch with people is good for your confidence and mental wellbeing. As well as meeting up with friends and family, try these activities:

  • dance, tai chi, yoga, swimming or joining a walking group will help keep you active as well as sociable – look out for local dementia-friendly swimming, gym and walking sessions
  • arts-based activities – drawing/painting classes, drama groups and book clubs can all help you stay involved
  • reminiscence work – share your life experiences and stories from the past with photos, objects, video and music clips, either as a book or on a tablet or other digital device
  • find a local memory or dementia café – meet other people with dementia and their carers in an informal drop-in setting to share advice, tips and support
  • Singing for the Brain groups run by Alzheimer’s Society – singing is known to improve mood and wellbeing and is also great fun

Both Alzheimer's Society and Age UK can provide details of these and other activities available in your area.

Tablets and smartphones

These digital devices can be very useful for people with dementia.

From online games, puzzles and dedicated dementia apps, to Skype and You Tube, they provide a way to stay engaged with others and enjoy a range of activities.

Out and about

Many communities are working to become dementia friendly. This means that organisations and venues may have specialist events and activities for people with dementia, such as:

  • dementia-friendly cinema screenings and streaming of live theatre productions
  • sensory gardens – a garden or plot designed to provide different sensory experiences, including scented plants, sculptures, textured touch pads and water features
  • woodland walks

If you'd like to venture further from home, there are organisations that can support both you and the person caring for you.

  • Dementia Adventure offers breaks in the UK designed for people living with dementia and their family or carers

  • Young Dementia UK has details of holidays in the UK and abroad for those under 65 with dementia

Find out more from Alzheimer's Society about holidays and travelling.

Activities for the later stages of dementia

It's often assumed that people in the later stages of dementia are unable to engage in activities, but this isn't true.

Activities will often need to be simplified and are more likely to focus on the senses:

  • sight
  • hearing
  • touch
  • taste
  • smell

Playing music, objects to touch and interact with, and hand massage can all help people with dementia in the later stages.

Active Minds research and develop a range of activities for people affected by dementia.

Page last reviewed: 22/08/2018
Next review due: 22/08/2021