Cognitive and Memory Exercises for Seniors with Dementia

Cognitive and Memory Exercises for Seniors with Dementia

As young and healthy individuals, we can take our cognitive abilities for granted. Since we can do most of our daily tasks without much mental or physical effort it becomes a normal routine. However, as we age our cognitive abilities and memory naturally decline. Initially, we may experience small changes but over time the symptoms can worsen which can interfere with our daily routines.

According to the Alzheimer Society, there were 597,000 people living with dementia in Canada in 2020, with these numbers expected to rise to a million by the year 2030. Every 1 out of 10 Canadian seniors has dementia and the risk only increases with age. This makes seniors the most vulnerable age group among dementia-affected individuals. 

To help keep our minds active, let's take a look at some of the most beneficial brain training activities and games that can be done daily to help improve overall mental health

The Impact of Cognitive and Memory Exercises for Seniors with Dementia

When seniors keep their minds active, their cognitive abilities are less likely to decline. This is because mind-stimulating activities require individuals to focus and use their brains at an increased capacity.  

Games , puzzles, and other types of brain training exercises can help keep the mind active and focused which can help with memory and focus.

Seniors who are consistent with  brain-training sessions that focus on memory, reasoning, and speed of processing information, tend to show the most improvement and the results can last for years. 

Best Brain Exercises For Seniors with Dementia

Brain-Boosting Activities for Seniors with Dementia:

To stimulate cognitive function, the best brain-boosting exercises for seniors with dementia are puzzles, games, and creative projects.

Games such as Sudoku, Chess, Snakes, and Ladders are good stimulants for the brain. Similarly, word puzzles such as hangman, crosswords, and word search will not only help with brain stimulation but can also improve speech in seniors with dementia.

Arts and crafts can allow for creative thought and imagination. As a result, improving their brain activity and boosting their self-confidence. 

Memory Exercises for Seniors with Dementia

Since memory loss is the most common symptom of dementia, it is really important to engage in games and memory exercises to improve retention and memory.

The exercises that seniors can perform include: 

  • Stating the months of the year in alphabetical order
  • Using an alphabet and naming six or more things.
  • Observing the objects around you for two minutes, then try to find five red items that will fit in your pockets and five blue things that are too big to fit (choose suitable colors depending on your surroundings)
  • Saying two objects for every letter in your first or last name, stating different objects each time
  • Playing shopping lists and card-matching games can also help increase memory retention and slow memory loss among seniors with dementia.

Social Activities For Seniors with Dementia

Social engagement in seniors gets reduced with age because they tend to spend more time in their homes. Going out and meeting people is an important part of maintaining cognitive abilities.

Social activities such as get-togethers with friends and family or reunions with colleagues can boost emotional-wellbeing and improve brain function.

Planning a fun activity such as a garden party, story time with family, and dinner/lunch with friends can also go a long way in helping improve mood and social interaction

Seniors should also be encouraged to go out for groceries and other chores, which will allow them to interact with new people and make new friends.

Music and Art Activities for Seniors with Dementia

Seniors who enjoy music or arts can take part in such activities. Learning a new musical instrument or listening to your favorite songs can improve the emotional and mental state of a senior with dementia. Music is especially beneficial for recalling memories and good times. 

Similarly, art activities provide  the freedom to be creative. Art can be an outlet for them to express their emotions and stay active and engaged. 

Tips and Strategies For Caregivers To Incorporate Brain Exercises

  • Start with simple exercises that are easy to understand and then slowly increase the difficulty level.
  • Repeat and reinforce the exercise by going to the same games, puzzles, or activities that were done previously. Brain activities where you have to remember sequence and pattern are a good choice.
  • Make sure that the exercise requires the senior to use their senses because it will help improve memory retention.

As a caregiver for a senior with dementia, you can also take support from other resources such as support groups and organizations that provide access to cognitive and memory exercises. The Adult Day program at Northwood offers respite for caregivers and meaningful social engagement for the program participants.

You can also use reminders and alarms to help while you are away. One such device is an automatic pill dispenser. A pill dispenser helps with medication management and reminds them to take their medicines at the prescribed time and dosage.

Visit Northwood Intouch to learn more about what an automatic pill dispenser can do for seniors.

Medical Systems For Seniors With Dementia

Cognitive and memory exercises for seniors with dementia help slow down cognitive decline and improve the overall well-being of seniors. 

Activities such as arts, crafts, and music are enjoyable ways to boost cognitive functioning and keep seniors active and engaged. 

Assistive devices  such as automatic pill dispensers, fall detection devices, and more can also greatly assist in giving seniors the confidence they need to live a more active and independent lifestyle while providing  peace of mind for caregivers.
To learn more about our life-saving senior care medical systems contact us today at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email

Cognitive and Memory Exercises for Seniors with Dementia