Sunday, November 18, 2012

Playful Activities Bring Joy to Dementia Patients

When my Dad and I talk about the activities we do with people with dementia every week with our foundation, the Carolyn L. Farrell Foundation for Brain Health, many people do not understand that playful activities are important to successful management of dementia.

Our activities are simple, based on Montessori methods, but some people think that this is "too childish." However, it is reality that people with dementia slowly loose cognitive abilities and have a more childlike brain. This may sound sad upon first glance, but really it means they are more free to be imaginative and have fun with playful activities like wooden blocks, stacking materials, and abstract art activities.

If someone likes an activity and it brings them joy, who are we to judge if it is "childish" or not worthwhile? 
One year old Jeffrey joyfully playing with his blocks.

My husband and I play the same videogames as our son. I love to paint, draw, and create with paper. As a family, we build things with the wooden blocks my Dad helped us make for our son for his first birthday. I think all of these activities are worthwhile because they bring us joy and bring us together as a family.

Here is a great blog post from the Alzheimer's Reading Room about the importance of play for people with dementia: How Important is Play for Alzheimer's Patients in the Late Stages? It is also a fantastic example of how caregivers can advocate for and insist on good care from nursing homes and in-home caregivers.

I encourage us all to be more imaginative, have more fun, and embrace the joy of our childhood spirit.


Rev. Katie


  1. It's very important that people should involve in fun activities rather than therapies especially during situations like this.

  2. It is especially fun activities during this situation, rather than participate in the treatment must be very important.

  3. Fun and playful activities can help the patients with cases like Dementia. In the case of the elders that suffer from Dementia, studies show that listening to good music via iPod could actually help them more responsive and this is a good sign indeed.