10 Winter Activities for Alzheimer Patients

With the right approach, anyone can squeeze more pleasure out of their week.

Although Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, impairs behavior, memory, and thought, patients afflicted with this disease can enjoy many different activities — even in the winter.

Simple activities bring pleasure to those who may be stuck indoors even more now than during other seasons of the year. It is important to try to match the activity to the level of interest and capability of the individual and to select meaningful activities, not just those that fill time.

Choose activities that loved ones enjoyed in the past and those that:

  • Encourage self-expression
  • Stir memories
  • Create emotional connections with others
  • Lessen the anxiety and irritability that Alzheimer’s may bring


Here are ten ideas you can try:

#1 Assemble

For those who enjoyed knitting, try a simpler pattern. For those who liked puzzles, try one with large pieces.

#2 Color

Paint with watercolors or draw with crayons. Those with Alzheimer’s may not be as self-conscious as they once were and this may free their inner artists.

#3 Sing

Stir old memories by playing their favorite songs or hymns from days gone by. Sing along with the music with them. Dance together!

#4 Play

Play a sorting game. Sort objects by color, shape or design. Baseball fans can sort cards by team or position. Count coins.

#5 Catch

Use balloons or large, soft balls and play catch.

#6 Feel

Create a sensory experience, such as simply combing his or her hair, moisturizing her skin, or shaving his face. Give your loved one a manicure or hand massage with scented oil.

#7 Help

Do simple house chores, like sorting laundry, watering house plants, clipping coupons, or organizing a sock drawer.

#8 Watch

Sit together by a window and watch the snowfall or the birds in the trees, or the cars passing by … and talk about what you see.

#9 Create

Create a collage of old photos together. Go through photo albums and reminisce a bit. Then use a poster board and paste the photos with captions and hang your masterpiece on the wall.

#10 Remember

Reflect on the great times you had during past holidays and share favorite holiday memories.

Remember to focus on the process of an activity and not on the results. It doesn’t matter if you never get the puzzle put together. What matters is that your loved one enjoyed the time spent on it and felt useful.

Although activities won’t necessarily slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, activities like these improve the quality of life for those afflicted. They can lessen agitation and depression and help maintain motor skills that aid daily tasks. Projects that match an individual’s skill level can give a sense of ownership and independence and when completed, a feeling of accomplishment.

Let Us Help

If you have questions regarding these or other concerns for the Aurum Network, contact us or call 978-282-9551. To locate a community within the Aurum Network, use our facility locator tool.

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