Elderly Health Services
Department of Health
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Government Information Centre image Search
Brand Hong Kong
Search Site Map Contact Us
How to enlarge font size How to tell a friend
Carers' Corner

Activity Program for Persons with Dementia

Activities are essential for living. Well-planned daily activities that help to provide structure, meaning and achievement have positive effects for the person with dementia.

Benefits of activities for the person with dementia

  1. Enhance physical, mental, social and emotional health;
  2. Develop competence, achieve mastery that promote self esteem and self worth;
  3. To help the person with dementia to realize his/her fullest potential and to help them to rediscover themselves;
  4. Enhance attention and adaptive skills that maximize independence;
  5. Provide opportunities for social interaction, emotional release that helps to delay negative symptoms and promote positive aging;
  6. Experience pleasure, life satisfaction and enhance the quality of life.

Essential elements for appropriate activities

  1. Have specific goal and meaning to the person with dementia;
  2. Able to motivate patient for participation;
  3. Fit the physical and mental capabilities of the person with dementia;
  4. Suitable to the need, interest, age, social & educational background and former life styles of the person with dementia;
  5. Provide opportunities for enjoyment during the process of participation;
  6. Provide opportunities for the sense of control and satisfaction;
  7. Does not pose threat or sense of failure;
  8. The process and content should be flexible and easily adapted to meet various needs of the person with dementia.

Choice of activity programs

1. Self-care activities

A safe and relaxing environment, simplified workflow, and the use of tools or adaptations could help the person with dementia to develop sense of control, competence and maximize independence in self-care activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming and dining etc.

2. Household activities

Participation in familiar household activities encourages continuous life experience. When meal planning, cooking and money management become too demanding for the persons with dementia, simple tasks like folding serviettes, table-setting and sweeping the floor in a safe environment could be considered.

3. Leisure activities

Leisure activities that encourage active participation and social interaction are valuable for the person with dementia. Sing-a-long, listening to radio, playing chess, physical exercise, keeping pets and craft work are common examples of leisure activities that provide opportunity for pleasure and enjoyment.

4. Reminiscence activities

Through a process of recollection of the past and life reviews for the unresolved conflicts, persons with dementia could achieve more consistent and positive evaluations of their past, accept personal losses and preserve a sense of usefulness and satisfaction with their lives. Caregiver(s) could simply use a photo of the past event or a familiar song to encourage the person with dementia to relive his/her past experience. If several persons with dementia are grouped together to do the reminiscence activities, social interaction and emotional release could be further facilitated.

5. Reality orientation activities

Reality orientation is the strategy to orientate the person with dementia to the "time", "place" and "person" of their immediate environment. The use of large face clocks and calendars in different rooms, maps and signs to indicate places of their living environment, frequent greetings etc. are common strategies to help persons with dementia to cope with their daily living. This can also be organized with specific themes such as food, body parts, festival events or community facilities etc.

6. Memory training activities

Recent memories are commonly lost first but older memories are better preserved for the person with dementia. Memory games such as cards matching, reviewing TV drama plots and news discussion are good opportunities for them to realize their memory potential and for social interaction and enjoyment.

7. Sensory stimulation activities

Through focusing on a specific sense, the person with dementia could be assisted to explore familiar smells, movements, textures, sights, sounds and tastes that relate to his/her previous life experiences. Sensory stimulation could be used to improve level of alertness and awareness to the environment and arouse appropriate responses from the person with dementia. The taste of fruit, the sound of birds, the smell of flowers and texture of toys are day-to-day stimuli that could provide comfort, encourage social interaction and minimize challenging behavior.


There are endless examples of activities that are suitable for persons with dementia. Caregiver(s) should ensure a safe environment, match the activity carefully with the need and ability of the person with dementia, so as to encourage and support continuous life experience and enhance the quality of life and dignity of the person with dementia.

Related topics


Dementia - Communication skills

Dementia- Daily Living

Behavioral Management in Persons with Dementia

Reference :

Resource Book on Psychosocial Health Promotion in the Elderly (Traditional Chinese Only)



Back to the topBack to the top   Print this pagePrint this page
2006 copyright logo | Important notices Last Revision Date : 1 October 2006