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Creative Activities for Family Caregivers –Weekly Themes

Posted on: May 05, 2021

One of the great challenges of providing dementia care at home is filling the day with meaningful activity. No single family member can replace a talented activity team in a day center or memory care community, but a creative caregiver can get some inspiration and ideas from something your family member’s life story to fill in an interesting home activity calendar. Here is how it works.

Grab your laptop, paper and pencil, paper calendar or phone and look at the next three months. Create a weekly theme for discussion or activity that might interest your family member with dementia. For example, if your mother is a nurse who loved gardening, was devoted to animals and loved to travel, write out weekly themes that could include:

With your themes developed (post the list), use the Internet to develop your “class content” for the week which can include history from Wikipedia, videos, “streaming” programs or documentaries, and trivia questions. Use your own creativity (or make it a great, intergenerational, family project) to develop some other theme related activities.

For example, in a week dedicated to roses, read about the many varieties of roses on the internet, enjoy stunning photographs, watch a video of a famous rose garden, enjoy some watercolor painting of roses, smell some different perfumes and vote on your favorite, or do some gardening as the weather allows. You’ve just created a theme week that will be interesting and fun for the person with dementia and for the entire family. 

As part of its Pathway Memory Support program, Christian Horizons has embraced 52 weekly themes to serve as a springboard for creative activity. If you want a copy of the list, contact, or visit your local community.

Meanwhile, enjoy creating your own home-based activity calendar.

David Troxel, MPH, co-author of The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care and Consultant to Christian Horizons Pathway Memory Support Program

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