Activities for People Living with Dementia

Activities for People Living with Dementia 

The purpose of this course is to discuss the importance of maintaining activities for people living with dementia. Strategies for creating and implementing activities are discussed. Different activity ideas are explored along with choices as they relate to the stage of disease a resident maybe in. The correlation between activities and agitation is discussed along with tips for managing escalating behavior during activities.


Hours: 1.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (3 Match)

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (ALL Direct Care Workers)


Relias Learning, LLC is approved as a Curriculum Developer by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours for all WA State Direct Care Workers. Training Provider Code: WA0624. CE Approval Code: CO1933559

National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NHA)


This educational offering has been reviewed by the National Continuing Education Review Service (NCERS) of the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) and approved for 1.00 clock hours. If you have any feedback regarding the NAB approved continuing education programs, send your email to the following address: [email protected]
Hours type -

Oregon Department of Human Services


This course is approved as continuing education by the Oregon Department of Human Services in accordance with state regulation 411-057-0140 for Assisted Living Administrators, Residential Care facility Administrators and Memory Care Communities within the State of Oregon. This activity is approved by Oregon Department of Human Services for 1.00 contact hours.

Course Details

Course Code: REL-PAC-0-DEME220
Hours: 1
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 7/31/2020
Learning Objectives:
State the importance of activities in the lives of people living with dementia.
Discuss the six principles for creating activities.
Identify the different types of activities and explain how to implement them with a person
who is living with dementia.
Discuss strategies for implementing activities with residents who may feel agitated or
become agitated.


1. Activities for residents with Alzheimer’s disease

a. Reasons to maintain activities for people living with dementia

i. Illness prevention

ii. Sense of importance and value

iii. Control and independence

iv. Something to look forward to

v. Productive and useful

vi. Sense of meaning

b. Know your residents well (person-centered care)

i. Evaluate their preferences

ii. Daily needs

iii. Capabilities

iv. How a they like to be engaged

v. What kind of stimulation or soothing to they need

c. Checkpoint 1: Question (multiple choice)

d. Six principles for creating activities

i. Enjoy the activity

ii. Relate the activities to lifelong interests and abilities

iii. Caregivers should initiate activities

iv. Focus on the senses (sign, sound, smell, taste, and touch)

v. Focus on past times that were meaningful

vi. Keep activities short

vii. Checkpoint 2: Match the principle with the activity

e. Activity-based care

i. Personal encounter

ii. From the environment

iii. Daily routines

iv. Self-care

v. Planned and scheduled events

vi. Spontaneous

f. Individual activity

i. Helps residents maintain attention span

ii. Provides intimate private time to build relationships

g. Group activity

i. Promotes socialization and sense of belonging

h. Examples of individual and group activities

i. Fiddle box

ii. Deck of cards

iii. Fabric box

iv. Beach ball

v. Untying knots

vi. Rolling yarn

vii. Matching shapes and pictures

viii. Cupcake decorations

2. Cutting pictures out of calendars and magazines

3. Household tasks

4. Music

5. Choosing activities using A person-centered care approach

a. Consider the individual

b. Skills and abilities

c. What the person enjoys

d. Initiation of the activity

e. Awareness of physical skills and problems

f. Spiritual or religious traditions

g. Relate activities to life, work history, relationships

h. Consider time of day

i. Adjust activities to the stage of dementia

6. Checkpoint 3: Question (true/false) and drag & drop activities

7. Approach to activities


b. Start the activity

c. Offer support and supervision

d. Concentrate on the process, NOT the result

e. Be flexible

f. Use simple easy-to-follow steps

g. Provide assistance

h. Create personal importance

i. Make a connection with each resident

j. Don’t criticize or correct the person

k. Encourage self-expression

l. Engage with conversation

m. Substitute activity for behavior

n. Reschedule

8. Provide opportunities for activities

a. Focus on the activity not the result

b. Break into simple steps

c. Connect with the person

d. Observe for distress

9. Checkpoint 4: (multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false question)

10. Activity ideas by stage

a. Early stage

i. Checkpoint 5: (multiple choice question)

b. Middle stage

i. Checkpoint 6: (multiple choice question)

c. Late stage

i. Checkpoint 7: (multiple choice question)

11. Engaging agitated and aggressive residents

a. Matching activities with abilities

i. Be observant

ii. Be flexible

iii. Be creative

b. Balance of engagement and safety

c. Considerations for approach and timing

i. Direct observation for:

1. Hand ringing

2. Pacing

3. Isolation

4. Verbalizations

5. Ability to communicate

ii. Environmental factors

1. Daily routine

2. Interactions with other residents

12. Sleep Assess for pain

i. iv.  Flexibility – consider changing activity

13. Tips for managing agitation and aggression

a. Stop the activity

b. Actively listen

c. Show kindness

d. Simple solutions

e. Minimize communication

f. Preserve dignity

14. Case study – Frances & Jason

15. Advanced tactics for managing behavior

a. Remain calm

b. Ensure safety of self and other residents

c. Validate feelings

d. Decrease stimulation

e. Call 911 if situation is unsafe

16. Summary and conclusion

17. Link to the Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

Instructor: Catherine Zimmerman, LICSW, ACHP-SW, CSW-G
Catherine Zimmerman is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has a private practice providing counseling services to people of all ages and all stages of their lives. She is a freelance healthcare writer and speaker specializing in mental health, ethics, hospice and palliative care, gerontological topics, substance misuse, caregiving, stress and trauma.  Zimmerman received her master's degree from Portland State University thirty years ago and is certified in clinical social work-Gerontology. Zimmerman supervises and mentors therapists seeking licensure in Oregon or Washington states. She is the current President of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and has provided public presentations on over twenty topics and has numerous published works. Disclosure: Catherine Zimmerman, LICSW, ACHP-SW, CSW-G has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Instructor: Cynthia McDaniel, MSN, RN
Cynthia McDaniel MSN RN, is a nurse and administrative consultant in long term care. She is the CEO of ElderWise Inc, a senior living consulting and education group. Cynthia has worked as a nurse consultant for the States of Oregon and Washington,  a geriatric care manager, a regional director of clinical operations for a senior living company, and an assistant professor at Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. Her research in assisted living focused on the characteristics of residents in assisted living communities and the role of the nurse in assisted living. Cynthia holds a Master's of Science in Nursing from Gonzaga University in nursing education. She is a Fellow of the Sigma Theta Tau/John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy.  Disclosure: Cynthia McDaniel, MSN, RN has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Administrators; in the following settings: Post-Acute Care.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
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All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
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All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.