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6 activities for low-vision seniors or those with dementia

We would all agree that activities help stimulate the mind and memory and keep seniors engaged and interested in life. But finding activities for a person with Alzheimer’s, dementia or vision impairment can take a little extra creativity.

It’s important to find activities that work well for your senior's current cognitive ability and level of vision to help them feel happily occupied and successful at an activity they enjoy.   

Meaningful activities help reduce anxiety, agitation, and other challenging behaviors. They can also improve sleep by keeping the person more active and awake during the day. 

To help you find a variety of fun activities for low vision seniors with dementia, here are 6 activity ideas: 

1. Listening to music

  • Play their favourite songs or albums, especially from their youth. 

  • Tune the radio to a station that plays the type of music they like. 

  • Use their favorite songs as a fun way to help them reminisce over fond memories and encourage them to sing along!  

  • Play or experiment with a simple musical instrument like a harmonica or shaker. 

2. Reading aloud or audiobooks

  • Everyone loves a good story and reading aloud is a great way to interact with someone with dementia. 

  • Hearing the newspaper, books, magazines, or even old letters read aloud is an enjoyable pastime for many seniors. Find things that capture their interest, but aren’t too complex to follow. 

  • Audiobooks allow older adults to listen to almost any book they like. Borrowing them from the local library can make a great outing!  

3. Movement and exercise 

  • Play their favourite music and encourage them to dance with you, sway in their seat, or tap hands and feet with the beat. 

  • Go for a light walk around the neighborhood or along the park or beach. Use a wheelchair for a walk outside to feel the sun and fresh air ii necessary. 

  • Take them for a ride in the car and describe the passing scenery. 

4. Animal therapy 

  • Holding or petting a well-behaved pet is a wonderful and calming activity. 

  • Sometimes even having a soft toy on their laps can be very soothing.   

5. Tactile activities 

  • Seniors with some vision might like making collages from magazine pictures or covering a plain box by gluing cut out images or colored paper. 

  • Some people with a little vision may also enjoy expressive painting, use vivid colors against a contrasting background to make it easier to see. 

  • Many people enjoy smoothing out crumpled paper or tissue paper. 

  • Sorting is a wonderful activity that doesn’t require vision, just make the shapes different enough to be easy to distinguish. 

  • Fidget toys and other sensory toys are also satisfying and engaging activities. 

  • Simple board games like Snakes and Ladders or Uno could be appropriate! 

6. Simple household tasks 

  • Helping with household tasks is a great way for someone with dementia and low vision to feel involved and able to contribute.  

  • Prepare fruit – use a safety knife to cut soft fruits or use fingers to break them into chunks or sections (like bananas, oranges, etc.) 

  • Sort items – buttons, cutlery or even socks or towels.  

If you're ready to visit a senior person and accompany them for an hour or two, find out more about becoming a volunteer here

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