Activities for Dementia Patients: Photo Box

photo cube dementia craft

Short-term memory loss is often cited as the first warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. As the disease progresses, more and more memories may be lost including the names and faces of the people the individual loves most.

Going through photos together can be a positive way to tap into your loved one’s older memories and a fun activity for someone with dementia.

In 2014, the BBC reported on one project that used photos of daily life to help trigger memories in people with dementia. They found photos of landscapes from the time the individuals were growing up triggered conversation “that gave you a sense of this person, rather than this person with dementia.”

It is important to keep activities for someone with dementia stress-free. Avoid asking your loved one to name the people in the photo. Instead, allow your family member or friend to lead the conversation and help them along with comments like, “Look at how beautiful Aunt Susan looks in this photo.”

If your loved one tells you something about their life that you know is not true, don’t argue. Keep the conversation pleasant and upbeat. Share your own positive memories of the people and places in the photos.

More tips for communicating with a loved one with dementia.

Ask your loved one to choose some of their favorite photos as you go through them together. Later, you can scan those photos and print them out on paper as a starting point for a new activity for your loved one with dementia like this light-up Photo Box.

Light-Up Photo Box

photo cube what you need

What You'll Need:

  • Baseball display box
  • Photo printouts cut to the appropriate size
  • Modge Podge
  • Brush
  • Battery-operated candle

Steps:

  1. Brush Modge Podge onto one section of the box.
    photo cube craft
  2. Add a photo with another layer of Modge Podge.
  3. Repeat to cover all sides.
    picture cube craft
  4. Allow the box to dry.
  5. Place a battery-operated candle on the base of the box.
  6. Cover with the cube.

Caregiver Tips:

  1. While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, play their favorite songs. See our playlist for a loved one with dementia for ideas.
  2. Get your loved one involved by starting the activity yourself and asking them to join in.
  3. Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again at another time.
  4. Remember: With activities for dementia patients, the goal is for you to have fun doing it. Don’t worry about what the end result looks like.
  5. If your loved one has dementia, a hospice program and hospice care team can provide support for both the patient and family. This added assistance can be key in avoiding caregiver burnout.

Get more ideas for activities for dementia patients.

If you have questions about how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports patients with dementia and their families, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.

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