13 Dementia Care Engagement Ideas While Practicing Social Distancing

13 Dementia Care Engagement Ideas While Practicing Social Distancing post page

By Stephanie LandmannMarch 19th, 2020

13 Dementia Care Engagement Ideas While Practicing Social Distancing


1. Music from a TV channel or radio in the room.

2. Sorting (by color or shapes) using plastic game pieces, or something similar, or colored construction paper into folders that are pre-labeled with the color.

3. Shredding old newspapers! People love this one because it’s like popping bubble wrap "rip it! rip it... rip it good."

4. Ask higher level folks to help by cleaning their room.

5. Share Words of Encouragement: Have each person offer a phrase or words of strength or support. Use a staff-controlled dry erase board on a rolling cart to share the message from one person to others down the hall.

6. Hallway Yoga: Folks sit or stand in their doorways and 1 or 2 staff members lead in easy stretches.

7. Sing along! Same idea as hall way yoga.

8. Name that _____ (fill in the blank with animal or food or plant) set up same as hallway yoga.

9. Resident Newsletter: get a story or something they want to share from residents. Put the stories into a quick word document to look like a newspaper and pass out individually.

10. Provide each person with 8- 12 pieces of sanitized PVC pipe and connectors. Ask them to put them together into some shape. Then either:

  • Gather the shapes and link them together into larger sculptures. Then take the display on the rolling cart down the hallway on a tour for visual regard.
  • Take picture of each sculpture (use dark background), then take all the pictures and make a display board – then go on tour to share who did what with the same amount of pieces.

11. Traveling Carnival or Olympic games. Examples: ring toss, pom poms or paper toss on to double sided sticky tape, etc. Travels on a rolling cart while staff keeps score and come back around to the winners!

12. Spider Game: Make sure you wear gloves to create the Spider Launchers. Each person gets their own launcher and spiders for this game. Get pompoms from a craft store or craft section. Cut round balloons across their middles. Cut pool noodles into a 4-6 inch length. Stretch the open end of the balloons around the end of the pool noodles. Put a pompom down into the pool noodle and you have a spider launcher when you pull out with the balloon.

  • Use a white board on a mobile cart propped up-right support. Place long strips of painter tape sticky side out. Tape them down with additional small pieces of tape. Be creative, make a spider’s web arrangement of strips. Go door to door to have each person try to get as close to the center of the web as possible
  • Use a set of open ended cans or plastic containers as targets on a mobile cart. Launch the spiders at the cans. The most “In the Can” hits wins. Take the target cart door to door.

13. Duck hunt (can use paper or plastic ducks and toy gun from dollar store with suction cup darts also pictured)

We are also creating videos as quickly as we can and are posting them on our homepage and social platforms to give you immediate help and support at this time of need. View our hompage here. Let us know what else you want to see or how we can help by completing our survey.

10 Comments on “13 Dementia Care Engagement Ideas While Practicing Social Distancing”

  1. Thank You so much for sharing, it definitely takes some creativeness to keep the Residents involved.

  2. Thank you

    I’m starting a Round Robin newsletter for our building. I’ll let you know how successful it is. May our good Lord shower you and yours with bounteous blessings, Teepa!!❣️❣️

  3. Just wanted to confirm if it would be okay for KAHCF to post the document 13 Engagement Ideas While Practicing Social Distancing” to our resources section of the KAHCF website (www.kahcfkcal.org) COVID-19 for the membership to use?

    1. Angela,
      Thank you so much for your interest in the article. I am happy to have you re-post the article on your website. The more we can help change the culture and care for folks living with brain change the better.

  4. Love this awesome list of specific ideas! Our participants on this month’s “Ask Teepa Anything” asked for specific activities and PAC delivered! Thank you!!

  5. Oh my goodness I love me some Teepa Could use her good humor right now for all of us.
    Be safe all of you.

  6. I wanted to ask about how to comfort our elders with dementia when we are wearing masks. Our lovely people read our facial expression and find great comfort in it so I’m worrying about how they will react when we start to cover our faces.

    1. Great question. First let me say thank you for your continued work to make life better for people living with dementia. The fact that you recognize the need for folk to see a smile is the fist step, which you have already taken. I would like to encourage you to smile with your mask on in front of a mirror. It sounds silly, I know. I’m guessing you will find that a true smile reaches your eyes. Check it out in the mirror, practice. The next step is to hold that smile as long as you can. Processing speed slows as we age and with dementia added in the mix. Give your folks extra time to see your smiling eyes. Thank you again for helping people living with dementia. That makes me smile.

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