Sensory Activities to Calm Seniors with Dementia

Sensory activities to calm seniors with dementia

Dementia can be a difficult condition because you want to take care of your loved one and keep them as comfortable as possible, but symptoms can become increasingly difficult to manage as the condition progresses. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, sensory therapy might be something you want to consider for them.

Sensory therapy is a helpful way to help calm and soothe people with dementia, without the use of medication. It’s common for people with dementia to feel agitated and restless, and this is where sensory therapy comes in. Here are some of our favorite sensory activities you can do with your loved ones to help them feel calmer. 

Scented sensory cards

Certain smells can trigger powerful and pleasant memories, like the smell of your favorite flower, the smell of your mother’s cooking, or the smell of your favorite food. Making scented sensory cards is a great seasonal activity, and as we’re in the middle of enjoying a beautiful summer, you and your loved one can create a handful of cards that reflect their favorite summer scents: the beach, fresh flowers, lemonade, and many more. 

Allow your loved one to keep these scented cards nearby so they can smell them when the mood strikes. 

Homemade non-toxic finger paint

Seniors with dementia often enjoy arts and crafts projects, and painting is a great way for them to express themselves. Rather than messing with an array of paint brushes, which can be difficult to hold and can easily frustrate your loved one if it’s not the right brush stroke, we recommend using non-toxic finger paints. Buy some large white poster boards or blank canvases and let the freestyle painting begin!

Coin sorting

You know those stacks of coins you’ve had sitting around your house forever? The ones you keep saying you’ll sort and take to the bank soon? While it may seem like an annoying task to you, seniors with dementia often find comfort in manual, repetitive tasks like coin sorting. Give your loved one several small glass bowls and ask them to help you sort your loose change. They’ll also feel a sense of purpose from helping you, which is especially important to the self esteem and self worth of those with dementia.

The best part of sensory activities is that your whole family can participate in them together. People with dementia often feel isolated and alone, especially as their symptoms progress, and having the whole family join in certainly helps alleviate the feelings of isolation. Not to mention, it’s a great way for your family to spend quality time together and bond. 

Sensory therapy and other memory care techniques at UMC

At UMC, our dedicated Tapestries Memory Care neighborhoods are designed specifically for people with dementia. We employ a range of therapies, including sensory therapy, to help our memory care residents feel calm, safe, and secure at all times. If your loved one is still living at home under your care, we recommend incorporating sensory activities into their daily routine, and we recommend participating in these activities alongside them. 

If you have any questions about sensory activities that can help calm seniors with dementia, or if you have any other questions regarding our senior care services in general, please contact our team at UMC today:

Come and Visit Us

There is no better way to experience our communities than a personal tour. See for yourself what compassionate care and abundant living looks like. Fill out this form and we will contact you by email or phone.


    205 Jumping Brook Road
    Neptune, NJ 07753
    Phone: 732-922-9800