How Activities Such As Gardening, Music And Cooking Help People With Dementia

Guest Post by Sarah Anderson.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia then you’re not alone – there are currently around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. While the condition may cause certain limitations, there is no reason for a diagnosis to reduce quality of life. Activities and hobbies are a fantastic way to get people with dementia involved with local communities, build social connections, and keep their minds active. Silver Sunday is a national day that celebrates older people, hosting many local events around the UK that will benefit those with dementia. It has been reported that people are 64% more likely to suffer with dementia if they are lonely, thus this celebrated day will be offering a huge variety of fun activities to connect the elderly with companions across the nation. With this in mind, here are some top activities that can help those living with dementia.

Cooking & Healthy Meals

Cooking can be a highly enjoyable activity for people living with dementia and many people get a great sense of pride from tasting their home-cooked creations. Cooking is also a sensory activity that activates all of the senses including touch, smell, sight, and taste. It can trigger happy memories, enhance creativity, and encourage social bonding. According to Helping Hands, a specialist dementia home care services provider – “A high protein, high calorie diet is often recommended for people with dementia as food intake can be poor resulting in significant weight loss, frailty, and loss of mobility.” Cooking has been shown to increase appetite and also provides people living with dementia with the skills needed to prepare their own healthy meals. This will help people with dementia feel more involved and comfortable, which should encourage and motivate them to eat regular nutritious meals. Food events can offer the perfect opportunity for people with dementia to bond and form social connections. There are numerous Silver Sunday pub lunch get-togethers available for foodies to attend and enjoy across the UK as well as a Dementia Cafe on the Isle of Sheppey.

Music

Music is a fantastic therapeutic activity that encourages creativity and self-expression. Many people also find music an effective way to relax and alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. Silver Sunday held a number of dementia-friendly concerts at last year’s national event which proved hugely successful with our older community. There are many ways for people with dementia to enjoy music – they can sing in a choir, play an instrument, or simply listen to their favourite music at home. Silver Sunday offers a wide variety of musical events a dementia-friendly concert for 150 in St. Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge.  A fabulous free lunchtime concert by the London Mozart Players will also be held at this year’s Silver Sunday event taking place on 2nd October in Smith Square, London.

Gardening

Many people get a great sense of pride and enjoyment from maintaining their garden and watching their plants grow and flourish. Gardening also keeps people with dementia active and gives them the opportunity to spend some quality time outdoors enjoying nature. According to happiful.com – “Exposure to daylight and fresh air has been proven to lift our mood and help to reduce stress. A change of scenery and a boost of vitamin D can be especially beneficial for someone living with dementia.” Spending time outdoors has been shown to effectively boost both our mental and physical wellbeing, making it a fantastic activity for people with dementia. Some fun gardening activities include, planting seeds and watching them grow, flower arranging, and harvesting your own vegetables. It is possible to create raised garden area to make it easier for people with physical limitation to participate and get involved in gardening outdoors. There’s a Silver Sunday gardening event in Queen’s Park Gardens inviting all ages and abilities and the wonderful Friendly Bench, Bottesford inviting their local community to celebrate Silver Sunday amongst the beautiful herbs and flowers.

Exercise

Remaining active is extremely important for people with dementia or other conditions. Exercise releases ‘feel good’ endorphins that instantly boost mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Regular physical activity is therefore an effective way to improve both our physical and mental wellbeing. What’s more, exercise also provides a great opportunity for people with dementia to socialise and make connections with local organisations like sporting clubs. Silver Sunday is proud to host the ‘Silver Sunday Cup’ run by the Worcester Community Trust. This annual event involves walking football and walking netball tournaments which is enjoyed by the over 50 community. This fun activity provides the perfect environment for social interaction and bonding. Silver Sunday also offers many ballet and other dance classes for seniors welcoming people of all skills and ability.

For more information on what events and activities are happening around the country, visit the Silver Sunday national event map where you can search by keyword (e.g. ‘dementia’) or location.

Sarah Anderson is a freelance writer and carer based in London passionate about informing on the latest developments in the entertainment industry. When she isn’t researching or writing, she can be found looking after her grandmother who has recently been diagnosed with early stages of dementia, gardening and taking her for coastal walks with her lurcher, Archie.