Engaging with a resident living with dementia can sometimes be difficult. Residents they can be restless, easily distracted, or even agitated. It’s therefore important to identify their needs when engaging with them, and adjust any activities to their capabilities.

Here are a few activities that can you do with memory care residents on your next shift:

By Marie-Anne Bazerghi 

Original article by Teepa Snow, MS, ORT/L, FAOTA, with minor updates by Marie-Anne Bazerghi

A great way to approach this is to consider activities that are linked to their interests and preferences. In other words, this can ensure that the individual enjoys the activity. In addition, it will help prevent any feelings of frustration or rejection.

1. Validating memories

By inviting your resident to revisit past events or experiences. This allows them to explore their own sense of reality. In addition, this validates in order to build trust and reduce anxiety. Ask his/her family members to prepare a photo album or box of souvenirs that might trigger their interest. In return, this can stimulate more memories. In this way you can engage in socializing and connect with him or her by listening to their stories.

2. Listening to music, singing and dancing

Music can be a very beneficial activity for people with dementia. It stimulates cognitive function. Increases positive emotions, and improves quality of life. Therefore, these effects can be enhanced if the songs are emotionally linked to personal memories and experiences. By putting together, a selection of meaningful songs that the resident listened to or danced to when he or she was young, you can create positive associations to happy moments in their life. Ask their family members for recommendations.

3. Playing with the Tovertafel

The Tovertafel, which means Magic Table in Dutch, is an interactive serious games system created for dementia care. Through interactive light projections, the games are scientifically proven to stimulate physical activity, social interaction, and cognition. Which results in overall improved well-being and happiness of clients at the memory care community.

The games also employ a no-fail, layered design which means that participants can play according to their ability. This instills confidence and makes the games easy to enjoy at any level. The Tovertafel makes it possible for you to choose a game that matches the resident’s cognitive capacities, personal interests, needs, and emotions.

If they’re feeling down or sad, then you can choose a game with bright colors or music, such as Flowers or Sheet Music. If they’re a bit restless, then Beach Ball or Soccer can help to increase positive emotions and reduce this behavior. It’s also possible to play with a bigger group, meaning you can involve other residents in the care community or even the resident’s family members when visiting.


Activities can be a great way to connect with people living with dementia, as well as to help reduce challenging behaviors. It all comes down to making sure they’re the right activities for the resident in question. Tools such as the Tovertafel give you an opportunity to engage in purposeful activities that create meaningful moments for both you and residents in the community. Stimulating joy and facilitating connection – because what’s more important than that when it comes to those in your care?

For more information about the Tovertafel, visit www.tover.care.


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