Autumn is a beautiful season to enjoy the changing colors and the crisp air… So, why not embrace the season by planning fall activities for your loved one with Alzheimer’s? If you need help brainstorming ideas, here are ten autumn activities for older adults you can try with your loved one:
1. Leaf Art
Collect colorful leaves from your backyard or a nearby park and use them to create beautiful art projects. You can make leaf prints, leaf collages, leaf wreaths, or leaf garlands. Leaf art can help older adults with memory loss exercise their fine motor skills, express their creativity, and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn.
2. Decorate Pumpkins
Invite the grandchildren and have a pumpkin painting party. An adult with dementia may have diminished motor skills, so painting a pumpkin will be easier than carving it. Your loved one will enjoy social time with young family members, and you’ll wind up with one-of-a-kind Halloween decorations.
3. Bake Fall Treats
If your loved one likes to cook, baking together is a perfect, delicious activity. Plus, the scent and taste of favorite foods can bring back fond memories. Pick a day to bake fall treats, like apple pie or pumpkin cookies. Dementia can diminish or alter the sense of scent and taste, so be sure to take your loved one’s preferences or needs in mind.
4. Take a Scenic Drive
Help your loved one enjoy the brilliant colors of fall! Plan a nature walk to enjoy the fall foliage or take a scenic drive. Choose a route with beautiful scenery (and over-the-top holiday decorations) if possible.
5. Clean up the Yard
Older adults who are avid gardeners may enjoy spending time outside raking leaves and doing yard cleanup. Gardening lets us do something helpful and enjoy the scent of grass, leaves, and earth. Choose a day that’s not too chilly and limit the time spent so it’s not too tiring.
6. Fall Bingo
Fall bingo is an easy and entertaining game for family or friends. You can make your bingo cards with fall-themed words or pictures, such as leaves, pumpkins, apples, turkeys, or sweaters. You can call out the words (or show the pictures) and have the players mark their cards if they have a match. Bingo and other simple games are good options for activities for seniors with limited mobility.
7. Play a Music Mix
Enjoying music with a loved one is one of the best brain-healthy activities you can share. A large study on the effects of music therapy on dementia found that music may improve memory and daily function. It also eases behavioral symptoms like depression, agitation, and anxiety. Create a playlist of fall-themed songs your loved one will remember. Some examples include “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, and “Anything” by Frank Sinatra.
8. Share Memories
Stories can help older adults with memory loss connect with their past and present. Encourage your loved one to reminisce by sharing your fall memories. Ask your loved one about Halloween, Homecoming memories, Thanksgiving traditions, or back-to-school adventures. Be patient if your loved one brings up an oft-repeated story about scoring the winning touchdown or playing in the marching band.
9. Fall Crafts
Crafts are a creative and relaxing way to keep older adults with memory loss busy and happy. Make Halloween-themed crafts or use paper, yarn, or felt to make fall-themed decorations. Many older adults are skilled in these activities, which have a calming effect.
10. Visit a Festival
Take your loved one to a farmer’s market or fall festival. You’ll find food, activities, and entertainment as you wander from vendor to vendor. Consider the older adult’s mobility and comfort in public settings if you choose this option.
Autumn Activities for Seniors
These are just some of the many autumn activities for seniors with dementia that you can try this season. For more ideas on how to help your loved one live their best life in memory care, contact us at Vineyard. We would love to hear from you and show you the range of social, creative, and fitness-related activities our residents enjoy.