The #1 EASY Dementia Care Activity Tip!


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Hey everybody, Rachel Wonderland here, coming to you with another car video! I’m actually in a community or outside of a community right now, actually English Meadows, senior living, who is a lovely client of mine. And one of the things I want to talk about that comes up a lot is of course programming. How do you create a great program or a great activity for people living with dementia? One of the things I think happens a lot of times is that the person planning programming will totally overthink it. They’ll get in their heads about it and they’ll think, “Well, I gotta come up with something really clever. I gotta come up with something really cool because all the stuff we’ve been doing, hasn’t been exciting enough.” I’ve got news for you. Great dementia care programming does not have to be exciting. It doesn’t have to be super revolutionary.

Please don’t just be doing bingo with everybody all day, every day, but you can have some excellent programming and it all starts with one thing. What’s that one thing you ask? Get everybody in a circle, get your residents in a circle – you’re thinking what, like, what do you mean get ’em in a circle? Yes, get everybody in a circle. One of the things I just did was I rearranged a bunch of furniture in this community and I just got all of the chairs ready. They had a couple of couches lined up, and everybody was just like facing a TV. What if we just turned this space around a little bit and made the chairs in a circle, putting your chairs in a circle, putting your high back chairs in a circle seems obvious or silly, but it’s so great because then you can just bring your residents in, and get ’em seated.

And there are so many activities you can do in a circle. You can toss a ball back and forth. You can toss a beanbag and do finishing lyrics and finishing lines. You can sit in the middle and read the start of something and they can fill in the blank so much you can do in a circle. You can do exercise in the morning and your residents can follow along. Get everybody in the circle. I know, again, it seems silly and trivial, to get everybody in the circle. But you’re going to have a way better time.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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