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Engaging Activities to Try with Your Parent with Memory Impairment

Finding activities for a parent with a memory impairment can be an overwhelming task. Their skill level may be declining, and finding pastimes mom or dad can succeed in may require considerable thought and effort. However, creating meaningful activities for your parent, not just ones to pass the time, is essential to their health and well-being.

Keeping an active and engaged mind will help hinder the effects of cognitive impairment. As the first non-profit assisted living community in Georgia, our mission is excellence in care for seniors in our community and to help engage and encourage those dealing with memory impairments.

Reminisce with Mom or Dad

Take some time to go through old photo albums with your loved one, pointing out old neighbors or friends that they may remember.  Encourage mom to remember key life events, like her wedding day, or your college graduation. Inspire the conversation by telling “remember when” stories or ask your loved one open-ended questions. Remember, a senior (specifically a parent) with memory impairment may get frustrated easily so be careful not to put your loved one on the spot.

Go on a Nature Walk

A visit to a botanical garden or stroll through our Georgia assisted living community has a myriad of benefits for your memory-impaired parent or loved one. An outdoor walk can stimulate many of the senses; invite them to listen to the bird’s chirping, encourage the feeling of the wet leaves on their hand.

Turn this sensory experience into an opportunity for conversation. Test your parent or loved one’s recall by asking about their favorite outdoor activity from their childhood. People with memory impairment often wander because they aren’t getting enough exercise, so a walk together will help get your parent the physical activity they need.

Prepare Their Favorite Recipes

Make a simpler version of mom’s favorite meal – perhaps even something you used to cook together. Encourage them to help with more manageable tasks. If you’re baking, suggest they stir the batter. Talk with dad about times you have cooked this meal in the past, recalling any special events that may have occurred.

Read the Newspaper

Sit down with the senior in your life and discuss the day’s news events. If they are able, take turns reading different articles out loud and enjoy the moment together. Ask your parent to weigh in on the topics, asking open-ended questions to help prompt an answer.

Get into the Garden

For an older adult with memory impairment, gardening provides so many benefits. It gives a sense of purpose and if done with family and friends, a sense of community. Repetitive activities, like raking, may be soothing to your mom or dad. Use colorful or fragrant flowers to arouse multiple senses. Gardening can boost your parent’s energy and help them experience the feeling of success.

While performing these actions with mom or dad, be sure to focus on the process, not the result.  If your parent gets frustrated with an activity, take a little break. Unlike a typical nursing home, our assisted living and memory care community understands the importance of keeping an active mind and body. Check out our memory care options here at Woodland Ridge and contact us with any questions!

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