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Winter Activities for Seniors With Dementia

Winter Activities for Seniors With Dementia

Posted on
February 15, 2024

During winter, the days feel shorter, and nights feel longer, sometimes making it challenging to stay motivated or productive. However, sundowning presents real concerns for many seniors with dementia, but finding creative ways to encourage engagement can help. Sundowning refers to a state of confusion occurring around late afternoon or early evening, causing symptoms including anxiety, irritation, and wandering. Focusing on meaningful activities can alleviate these symptoms, boosting confidence and mood. 

At The Village at Woods Edge, our Memory Care community, Asa's Neighborhood, provides engaging activities to help residents foster emotional connections and maintain well-being. Explore these winter activities to enjoy with your loved one and keep them safe throughout the season. 

Arts and Crafts

Art therapy is a common memory care program due to its ability to provide stimulation, increase attention, and reduce anxiety. Working on crafts or art projects can help foster a sense of accomplishment and establish new hobbies, enabling comfort, creativity, and peace. There are plenty of indoor crafts seniors with dementia can participate in, including knitting, quilting, and wreath decorating.

You can also supply paper and colored pencils or markers to provide a way to make cards or artwork to send to family members or display in their homes. Additionally, painting serves as a creative outlet seniors can enjoy solo or with peers. Encourage them to create soothing wintery landscapes to stimulate positive thoughts and feelings about the season. 

Mind-Stimulating Games

Brain games can boost cognitive stimulation and social interaction, helping seniors connect with peers, improve memory, and have fun. Consider planning a game night with activities including bingo, cards, or trivia. These games can trigger fond memories, encouraging seniors to share personal stories and recall important knowledge, skills, or experiences. 

Strategy games, such as sudoku, word searches, or crossword puzzles, can also improve cognitive functions by encouraging use of problem-solving, reasoning, and language skills. Additionally, puzzles with large pieces and vibrant images or board games with simple instructions help foster a sense of achievement and are easy to perform at most cognitive levels. 

Reminiscing With Old Photos or Videos

There's no better way to trigger warm memories during winter than pulling out old family photo albums or home videos. Focus on pictures and videos your loved one is in to see what memories or thoughts they spark. However, avoid asking if they remember specific places, people, or events too much. This can cause them to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, which can be counterproductive. 

You can also transform a trip down memory lane into an art project through scrapbooking. Let your loved one choose their favorite photos, and suggest creating themed pages surrounding holidays, birthdays, seasons, or other special circumstances. Participating in a hands-on activity may stimulate more memories than simply looking through photos and keeps them engaged with a meaningful task. 

Indoor Exercise

Research suggests exercise benefits the brain by reducing cognitive decline and symptoms or risks associated with dementia. Engaging in indoor physical activity during winter can improve health and well-being for seniors. At The Village at Woods Edge, we help residents access a variety of exercise classes, both on-campus in our Wellness Center or just beyond campus at the local YMCA to encourage active lifestyles. 

We also accommodate residents in later stages of dementia who have difficulty traveling to other locations. For example, chair exercises and regular stretching boost flexibility, balance, and strength while promoting low-impact movements for those with limited mobility. They also improve coordination to prevent falls or accidents, increasing safety and comfort. 


Recreating favorite meals or treasured family recipes can help you stay warm and full during winter and evoke nostalgia. Our Memory Care neighborhood features a family-style kitchen, encouraging residents to foster cooking or baking skills and try out new recipes and techniques. They can also bond with others who enjoy cooking or share their creations with the community to celebrate their efforts. 

If you're concerned about kitchen safety, assign non-cooking tasks, including gathering ingredients, frosting cakes, cleaning utensils, or preparing cold dishes. This enables your loved one's involvement without worrying about them getting burned or forgetting to turn off appliances. 

Explore Our Memory Care Community for a Safe, Engaging Winter

The Village at Woods Edge's Memory Care community, Asa's Neighborhood, improves quality of life for seniors with dementia through stimulating recreational or social activities and amenities, including common rooms, project areas, and a family room with a TV and fireplace. These features promote a comforting, homelike environment where residents can forge connections, engage in hobbies (old or new), and partake in favorite pastimes, even when the weather's cold.

Discover if The Village at Woods Edge is right for yourself or a loved one by visiting us in person. Schedule a tour today or call us at 757-517-2791 and see how our amenities and services align with your needs.

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