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Older adults with dementia can easily become bored because they aren’t able to do the things they once did, like engage in a conversation or read a magazine. In addition, they may also be confused by unfamiliar surroundings, making them anxious or agitated. That can make sitting in a waiting room or traveling difficult. One way to make these kinds of things less challenging is to bring an activity bag along for the senior.

To prevent boredom, try activities with no right or wrong. They’re a wonderful way to engage and entertain older adults. And they can reduce the need for medications to manage agitation, challenging behavior, and depression.

We found fun, portable, inexpensive DIY activities from Powerful Mothering. They’re called “busy bags” because the entire activity fits neatly into a zippered bag.

 What Kinds of Things Go in an Activity Bag?

The items you put in your older family member’s activity bag should be things that appeal to them. For that reason, what is in their bag might be very different from the things in another senior’s bag. They might also change depending on where you are taking the older adult and how long you expect them to have to sit quietly.

In general, look for activities that don’t have a wrong way to do them. This will prevent frustration, which could make agitation worse. Comfort items are also a good idea, such as a stuffed animal they like the feel of or a photo album filled with pictures of familiar people and places.

Snacks are also a good idea since they can sometimes work to keep seniors busy when nothing else does. Choose easy to eat foods that don’t require utensils. Also, look for things that aren’t messy, so they won’t get all over the senior’s face or hands and don’t leave crumbs or stains in the waiting room or car.

A senior care provider can assist with putting together an activity bag. Senior care providers can help family members to identify items the older adult particularly enjoys. A senior care provider can also prepare a snack to put in the bag, so a busy family caregiver doesn’t have to take the time to do it. If the person has an especially hard time leaving the house, it may also be helpful for a senior care provider to go along with the older adult and their family caregiver to keep the older adult busy while the family caregiver receives instructions and information from the doctor.

We share the 4 busy bag activity kits that seniors with dementia would enjoy most.

  1. Velcro dot craft sticks

Sticking velcro dots to jumbo popsicle sticks is a fantastic creative activity. Seniors can make shapes, lines, stacks, or anything they like! The colorful sticks are eye-catching and easy to hold while the velcro dots are easy to attach and remove.

  1. Easy shapes and patterns

Cutting large foam shapes into smaller pieces makes a fun and easy shape and color game. Seniors can put the shapes back together, make creative new shapes, or group colors together.

You might like these colorful foam sheets.

  1. Foam lacing shapes

These brightly colored shapes have holes punched around the edges so seniors can enjoy lacing string through them. They can follow the dots around the edge or make fun patterns with the string.

Use colorful foam sheets and plastic-tipped laces. If you’d like to buy a ready-made set, try this foam lacing shapes kit.

  1. Fun with crazy straws

Cut out brightly colored felt circles and have your older adult push them onto a crazy straw. It’s a colorful and engaging activity.

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