Spending time with a family member or friend in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s can be meaningful and fun—especially if you take your cue from the person. What do they like to do? What are they able to do? What are they in the mood for today?
 
Here are a few ideas to get started!

Do something outside.

  • Take a walk
  • Plant flowers
  • Water plants
  • Feed the birds
  • Rake leaves
  • Go to the park
  • Sit on a bench or a swing
  • Watch dogs at a dog park
  • Play catch or toss a ball
  • Play horseshoes
  • Visit a beach or forest preserve
  • Sweep the porch or patio
  • Set up a picnic on the lawn or in the backyard
  • Sit on the porch and drink coffee, hot chocolate or lemonade

Do something inside.

  • Listen to the person’s favorite music
  • Look at family photo albums
  • Prepare afternoon tea
  • Watch a favorite sport on television
  • Model with play dough
  • Play checkers or dominos
  • Name the presidents
  • Look at photos in a photography book or magazine
  • Identify states on a U.S. map
  • Complete a puzzle together
  • Read from one of their favorite books
  • Watch a favorite movie or sitcom
  • Watch a sporting event
  • Ask the person about his or her childhood, siblings, school, pets or first car
  • Read the newspaper together or read it to them
  • Play a card game

Do something personal.

  • Give the person a hand massage with lotion
  • Brush his or her hair
  • Give the person a manicure
  • Take photos of the person and make a collage
  • Encourage the person to talk more about subjects they enjoy
  • Make a family tree posterboard 

Do something in the kitchen.

  • Bake cookies or bread
  • Set the table
  • Make the person's favorite lunch or snack
  • Wash and dry dishes
  • Put silverware away

Celebrate family holiday traditions.

  • Listen to favorite holiday music
  • Bake holiday desserts
  • Color eggs
  • Carve a pumpkin or make a pumpkin pie
  • Decorate a tree
  • Create holiday greeting cards
  • Watch a favorite holiday movie
  • Play a piano or guitar and sing holiday songs

It doesn’t matter if the activity needs to be done or if it is done well. If it doesn’t work, you can always try something else. Be patient and you will figure out what works.