Finish the Drawing
This drawing project can be adapted for many ability levels. The idea is to draw the missing half of a picture.
Note: Some of the drawings are more challenging than others. To adapt, fill in more of the drawing, leaving just a little to be completed.
You will need:
- Copies of the unfinished drawings (four different designs)
- Markers, colored pencils, or crayons to add color
To finish the drawings:
- Select one of the drawings.
- Participants use a pencil to fill in the missing parts of the drawing. If needed, use this drawing guide as a reference.
- After the drawing is complete, add color. Use the colored examples for reference.
Junk Drawer Detective EZ
These are easier versions of our regular Junk Drawer Detective. The pictures are not as cluttered, and participants are asked to look for a list of items rather than solve a puzzle poem.
Preparations and Tips
- Click on the images and print copies to pass out. (There is a large picture on the first page of the printout and a list of items to find on the second page.) Distribute only the pictures.
- Read one item at a time from the list on the second page of the handout and ask participants to find it in the picture. If you want, ask them to circle the items.
- It is not necessary to find all of the items on the list. Pause and discuss each item, if appropriate. Ask such questions as "What is it used for?"
- Ask the group what other items they see in the picture.
- Try making up a story about the picture.
Show the images on your widescreen TV instead of printing them out. If you haven't done this before, check out this handy guide that explains the common ways of connecting a computer to a TV or projector. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can do, and there may be some wires or cables you will need to acquire. If you run into any problems, you may need to have someone at your facility take a look.
For people with dementia, a successful activity helps add meaning and purpose and creates a feeling of accomplishment and self-satisfaction. This particular activity might seem simple, but it has been shown to be very engaging and successful.
Click on the image for the complete activity instructions.
Sorting Out Jewelry
This activity involves sorting objects into categories. In this case, we are sorting jewelry into earrings, necklaces, and brooches.
- Print a set of the cards on heavy paper and cut them out. There are 24 different pieces of jewelry featured on the cards.
- Set up three boxes on the table¬—one labeled earrings, one necklaces, and one brooches.
- Give each participant a set of cards and ask them to place the cards in the proper boxes. Use fewer cards for shorter activities.
- Discuss the jewelry you have owned (include cuff links, tie tacks, watches, etc. for the men).
- Is there a piece of jewelry most important to you?
- Did you ever lose a valuable piece of jewelry? What was it and how did you lose it?
- Do you recall the most expensive piece of jewelry you ever received or gave as a gift?
Instead of cards, bring in a supply of costume jewelry and have participants sort them into categories or like items.
Second Chance Cruise (Short Story)
A Short Story and Discussion by Sheri Barile
In this story, we join Jean Chancellor for one of her fondest memories and forms of recreation. She is about to take a cruise along the coast of Lake Michigan from the quaint western Michigan town of Saugatuck north to Holland. It’s something she used to do with her husband each weekend years ago, and she misses the summer cruises very much. Today, her son and his family have invited her to join them on just such a cruise aboard a boat his friend has lent him for the weekend. Will the experience be just as she remembers?
There are three different options for presenting the story.
- Read the short story aloud to the group. In this case:
- Print a copy of the story with tips and discussion questions for the group leader.
- Print large-print copies of just the story and distribute them to participants. Individuals can follow along or even read aloud parts of the story. (Many people with Alzheimer's can still read, especially if the font is very large. Check out this interesting article from The New York Times.)
- Encourage people to close their eyes and see the story in their mind like a movie.
- Use the discussion starters at the end to get a conversation going.
- To make the activity more interactive and sensory, bring in some items related to the story.
In this case, download this PDF slide presentation and read along as you scroll from slide to slide. There is less text and more emphasis on pictures, which can keep participants engaged. Discussion starters are included on the last slide. Show it on your widescreen TV.
In this case, turn on the video and listen to the story being read as the slideshow automatically advances. Some added sound effects make the story come alive! If you want to play the video offline, download and save.
Reminiscing with the Senses – The Fair
Remembering the Fair
Combining reminiscing with a sensory experience just makes sense. For this activity, let’s reminisce about attending the county fair.
Click on the image for the complete activity, which includes a list of possible sensory props, a reminiscing discussion, pictures, and links to possible music videos to play during the sing-along portion of the activity.
Easy Does It Random Trivia
by Dawn Doran, ACC, CDP
How-To and Tips
- Print a copy of the 30 trivia questions and answers.
- Or, download our slide presentation and show it on your widescreen TV.
- Play like regular trivia—as a group or in teams. The "host" reads the clue, and the group/team tries to come up with the answer. Keep score and award points.
- Pause to discuss a particular question or ask a follow-up question. (Some examples are included.) You might find that the activity goes in another direction.
- If people are having trouble answering the questions, give clues or offer a couple of possible answers.
- To make the activity even more interactive and sensory, bring in a few items mentioned in the trivia.
You Can Puzzle Too
by Dawn Doran, ACC, CDP
Many types of puzzles can be simplified so that people with dementia can still enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of solving them. This month our puzzles include:
- Searching for Music – All of the words in this puzzle can be found in a horizontal orientation. None are backward, diagonal, or vertical.
- Mixed Up Barbecue – Unlike our traditional mixed-up puzzles, the first letter in the group of letters to unscramble is the first letter of the answer.
- Searching for Summer – Just like regular Sudoku but with fewer rows and columns.
- Spelling August – A spelling puzzle with fewer clues and shorter words.
Can You Picture This?
Pictures can make great discussion activities, and you don't need a lot of pictures—just one will do.
Print a copy of the picture and show it to the person. If you have a group of people, make a copy for everyone. If possible, print in color.
Show the images on your widescreen TV instead of printing them out. If you haven't done this before, check out this handy guide that explains the common ways to connect a computer to a TV or projector. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can do, and there may be some wires or cables you will need to acquire. If you run into any problems, you may need to have someone at your facility take a look.
Print a copy of some discussion starters to get the conversation going.
Many of our subscribers have written to ask if we could provide a monthly article on dementia that they could put in their newsletters or in flyers to staff and families. This year we will be presenting articles written by a number of contributing authors.
This month's article:
The article is provided in MS Word so that it is convenient to copy and paste into your newsletter, flyers, etc.
Don't forget to visit our Cranium Crunches page every month for Dr. Rob's special mental exercises. Also, check out how you can become a Certified Cognitive Stimulation Instructor under the tutelage of Dr. Rob Winningham.
More EZ Does It Programming
Many of the ideas on Activity Connection are appropriate for people suffering from dementia. Below are just a few examples from around the site this month. Be sure to check out all of the pages
- Crafts – Wrapped Bangles are very easy to make.
- Food for Thought – Enjoy a discussion about Curry: The Spice of India.
In addition, check out the following every month:
- Art – Select the easier options for paint-by-numbers and adult painting pages.
- Free Printable Bingo Cards – Select the "Easiest" cards. The numbers are in consecutive order down each column (i.e., B 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), making playing bingo easy for players who are cognitively impaired.
- Puzzles – There is a wide variety of puzzles for different challenges.
- Foods & Cooking – Try one of the no-bake recipes.
- Sensory/One-on-One – Use the sensory kits and ideas for one-on-one visits for people with Alzheimer’s.
Be sure to check out all of the features of Activity Connection every month. There are many possibilities!