More than 50 million people live with dementia worldwide. However, getting an early diagnosis, and investing in the right treatment options, helps improve the quality of life for dementia patients exponentially.
Among the growing treatments for Dementia, art therapy has emerged as a standout, especially crafts for adults with dementia. Studies show that art therapy can improve cognitive functionality, verbal skills, and orientation. Further research also shows that a combination of art mediums, like painting, drawing, singing, pottery, and sculpture, may be an even more effective form of art therapy for adults with dementia.
This makes arts and crafts, in particular, uniquely qualified for the task. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dementia patients at later stages may not be able to grasp the purpose of crafting. That’s why it’s critical to match the right activity to the right stage of dementia.
There are generally two categories that dementia-focused fall into: ‘person-centered or stage-specific’. With projects ranging from painting to scrapbooking, check out these approved crafts for adults with dementia.
Crafts for Adults With Dementia: Painting Flower Pots
Flower pots and pottery crafts are great activities for adults with first and middle stage dementia. It’s also ideal for patients who are, or were, interested in gardening, plants in general, botany, home decor, and ceramics.
Patients can both decorate their flower pots and pot their own indoor flowers. This is also a wonderful dementia-focused activity for seniors who are receiving at-home care and still have access to their garden.
Make a Scrap Book
Crafts that focus on memory is aligned with dementia-focused art therapy. An old notebook, a glue stick, old family photos, some safety scissors, along with supervision, is wonderful way to introduce a senior to crafts. Plus, it’s an activity that’s also therapeutic for a patient’s family whose struggling to cope with the memory issues that come with dementia.
Here’s a fun activity that really stimulates the senses—fizzy hearts!
Simply mix paint and baking soda into a thick paste, and spread it onto a heart-shaped cut-out any way you want to. After it’s been applied, drip vinegar over the heart. The vinegar and baking soda will fizz together, creating beautiful designs. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Like painting flower pots, creating beautiful flower arrangements is a great person-centered activity for seniors with dementia who enjoy art, gardening, and interior design.
Choose a selection of faux flowers, florist foam, and vases for your patients. This way, they can keep their finished product in their room to enjoy. Fresh flowers are perfect for this activity too and provide an added sensory experience for the patient.
This is a sensory experience as well as a social experience. Together, both can provide a richer cognitive experience for seniors with dementia.
DIY Bird Feeders
Do your patients respond positively to working with animals? This is a great opportunity to create a stimulating craft for seniors.
Creating a bird feeder by stringing cheerios onto wire allows seniors to exercise their problem-solving skills and improve their dexterity. After stringing the cheerios, the wire can be molded into a fun shape, like a heart, figure-8, or spiral. When finished, hang it in a tree for both the birds and your patient to enjoy.
Crafts are a great way to add meaning to an older persons life, help them remember, and improve or maintain coordination. If you’re the child of the dementia patient, it can also give you an opportunity to spend more one on one time with your loved one.
Bookmark this guide to have on-hand while you plan your next round of crafts for patients with dementia.