Activities for People with Dementia

Day to day activities for older adults living with dementia can become difficult. Activities in life that break the chains of daily repetition help to promote a much-needed and therapeutic sense of success. Below we give you an overview of the best types of activities for dementia patients and places in the Austin/Round Rock community that help with activities.

What are the best types of activities for people with dementia? 

Activities should start with a foundation that includes a safe place and supervision from a caregiver—a close family member, friend, facility staff if provided, or a hired caregiver. 

Scheduled activities that can be claimed failure-free regardless of the result are therapeutic to people that live with dementia. These activities become a highlight of someone’s life, giving the person with dementia something to connect to and joyfully talk about. This helps the person living with dementia to feel connected, engaged, and appreciated. We all need that! 

A walk in the park on a non-strenuous path, or a stroll through a favorite neighborhood, is a great example of failure-free activity. We all benefit when we forget the day-to-day difficulties in life as we soak-in the calming effects of nature. There is no work involved in this activity except for putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward Consider simple leaf collecting as you walk, or perhaps bird identification. This is a joy-filled activity that can relieve pent up anxiety. 

Interaction amongst people, those with dementia and others, as well as music, animals, and craft activities and lessons help to reduce agitation, anxiety, depression, and anger. Of course, each person living with dementia is different, and you, the loved one or caregiver know this best. You will take into consideration what the person’s limitations are, as well as the therapeutic benefit of partaking in an activity that they are personally fond of. 

Where can I find activities for people with dementia? 

Reach out to your local fitness gym, library, or senior activity center for events and activities. Not only will these activities be centered around creating a fun and memorable atmosphere, but they will also be led by trained staff. Some facilities require the attendance of a caregiver, and some offer respite events (for you!). 

Activities for Dementia in Austin/Round Rock, Tx

In the communities of Austin and Round Rock, Texas, events and activities for adults in the early and manageable mid-stages of dementia are widely-available:

Alzheimer’s Association

Early-Stage Social Engagement programs provide various group activities in a community setting for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Early-Stage Social Engagement programs are avenues for the person living with dementia to get out, get active, and to get connected with activities such as bowling, baseball game attendance, or speaking candidly and confidentially via the telephone with others living with dementia. 

Austin YMCA

Senior Retreat is offered by the TownLake YMCA. 

This once-a-week respite program is for people with early to mid-stage dementia and is designed to be a safe, relaxed, and fun-filled environment. 

Activities include time for sharing memories, dancing, chair yoga, brain games, and more. 

The caregiver is free to step away and take a break—run errands, exercise, or meet other caregivers. 

Austin Public Library

Memory Café is held the first Tuesday of each month at the Austin, Manchaca Road branch. 

Activities include games, puzzles, visits from Humane Society animals, music lessons (instruments), sing-a-longs, lessons from art centers, and the telling of life stories with volunteer scribes. 

These types of no-fail activities become a highlight of someone’s life, giving the person with dementia something to connect to, to talk about. 

Persons requiring assistance must be accompanied by a caregiver. 

Austin Area Senior Activity Centers

Senior activity centers provide a safe place for people with dementia to participate and result in a positive take-away—a renewed sense of success in life. 

These are not daycare centers, and the centers do suggest that a caregiver accompany older adults living with early dementia. 

Senior activity centers located in Austin and Round Rock, Texas, include:

Allen R. Baca Center – Round Rock

The Allen R Baca Center for Senior and Community Activities hosts programs, clubs, and day trips for seniors, including those with early dementia. 

Arts, crafts, discussions, games, fitness opportunities, and shared dining boosts the sense of connection and engagement. 

Austin Parks & Recreation offers several senior activity centers.

Some senior transportation is offered, which is an activity that helps to reduce depression by adding to the fun of a personal “outing.” 

Each senior activity center provides regular daily events as well as special events scheduled on each calendar. 

Senior Activity Center – Lamar 

The Senior Activity Center – Lamar offers classes, health and wellness programs, educational seminars, workshops, day trips, dances, and special events that welcome people that are living with dementia. 

The center’s main purpose is to provide “meaningful activity within the widest range of civic, cultural and recreational activities.” This activity provides the person living with dementia interaction with social acceptance, engagement, and a sense of being appreciated which can boost a mental lift from depression and anxiety. 

South Austin Senior Activity Center

The South Austin Senior Activity Center (SASAC) is a resource facility with grounds that include a back porch and community flower garden which is a setting for conversations and outdoor games. 

Amenities at the center include rooms for ceramics, billiards, exercise, meetings, arts and crafts, cooking, and other multipurpose programs. For the person living with dementia, this fits right in with filling the need for failure-free activities. 

Create your own activities

If you don’t like the activities provided, or if your community lacks support, consider creating your own activities or events for persons living with dementia. 

Libraries and senior care centers typically offer spaces that can be rented out, and in some situations free-of-charge. 

When planning your event or activity, you need to come up with a leader, an instructor, and a craft or interest to show and tell or teach that doesn’t require unsafe supplies or utensils – such as sharp scissors. 

Just remember two things—keep your focus on failure-free activities that promote a sense of success. And ask yourself, will the person living with dementia want to talk about their experience after the event ends? If you can answer yes to this, then you will more than likely lift some stress and evoke a sense of wellness in those that attend. 

If you are a caregiver for a patient with dementia and could use a break, we offer respite care!