Engage Seniors With Dementia In Arts And Crafts

22 August 2018
 Categories: , Blog

It is estimated that around 5. 2 million seniors have some type of dementia in this country; dementia takes a toll on cognition, which makes it difficult to engage these individuals in meaningful activities. Many caregivers find that patients are able to focus and enjoy basic arts and crafts; it provides an outlet for anxiety and a tactile task to focus attention on.

If you provide senior care for someone with dementia, consider these three projects to engage and entertain:

Knotted Blanket

For seniors that seem to fidget, something to do with the hands can be helpful. A knotted blanket is easy enough for all skill levels, requiring basic skills that many seniors may find therapeutic.  

-          Choose two contrasting fleece fabrics, around 36" wide by 48" long is good for a lap-throw size.

-          Cut a one-inch wide 'fringe' around the border of the blankets; it helps to use a yard-stick or ruler for this. If using scissors is difficult for the senior, cut the strips ahead of time.

-          Tie and knot a pair of the strips together until the two pieces of fabric are bound together and the fringe is completely knotted.

Engage the senior by helping them choose their fleece or fabrics for their blanket. These items also make excellent handcrafted gifts for seniors to share with their friends and family.

Painted Ceramics

You can buy unfinished greenware from a local ceramics studio for seniors to paint or you can visit a local dollar-type store for terracotta pots and permanent markers or acrylic paints. Allow the senior to embellish and adorn their pot and then spray with a spritz of hairspray to seal the colorants. Participants can work at their own pace and enjoy using their piece later.


Cheese boards or cutting boards are a great project that appeals to both men and women, and that has some utility in the home when complete.

-          Buy pre-cut lengths of wood at a hardware store, about an inch-thick; don't buy pressure treated wood as it is not food safe.

-          Buy a variety of sandpaper grits to make the boards buttery soft.

-          After sanding, use linseed oil and soft chamois cloths to oil and treat the boards.

Simple projects that can be completed in one-sitting are best for folks with dementia; plus, these speedy crafts provide more immediate gratification for impatient participants.

Many seniors may have given up many hobbies and activities that they once enjoyed due to symptoms of dementia. Provide an outlet for them that will bring some joy with these three simple projects that can be adapted to suit personal preferences and varying symptoms.