4 Effective Memory Exercises to Practice with Dementia Patients

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If you work in healthcare and have patients with dementia, you know how debilitating this condition can be. Not only is it difficult for those with dementia to remember their names and their doctor’s name, but sometimes they cannot remember even simple things like how to get out of the treatment room or how to turn on the light switch.

It can be frustrating when they ask you a question, not just once, but multiple times a day.  They may also appear disoriented and confused about what is happening – and this applies to time as well as place.  This article will include effective memory exercises that you can use with your patients to test their memory skills and practice new ones as needed.

How to Practice Memory Exercises

Practicing memory exercises with patients should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Healthcare professionals can then teach others how to help the patients themselves. Anyone from family members to staff at the signature care home in Wandsworth can learn to help patients with dementia.

Here are a few memory exercises you can try.

Doing a Puzzle

Although simple, a puzzle is a great way to stimulate the mind, and help patients to use their reasoning skills. You will need a few puzzle pieces, something to draw on, and perhaps even a little prize for the person who completes the puzzle first. You should also make sure the patient has plenty of time to complete this exercise as it can become frustrating if they are unable to figure it out in a short period.

If necessary, you can also do puzzles with them during your visits, especially in long-term care facilities.

Finding Objects You Have Hidden Around the Room

This is an easy game to do, and you only need one or two objects to hide around the room within their view. If you are working with a patient who has dementia, you may want to hide their medications differently, so they do not get confused about why an object is missing or where it is. You can also try hiding items needed for the person’s daily care such as a toothbrush. If done correctly, not only will this test the patient’s memory skills and keep them engaged, but it will also improve their overall health.

Practicing Remembering the Names of People Close to Them

This exercise may be challenging because some dementia patients struggle to remember the names of people, no matter how much they try.  However, this exercise is essential if you want to practice memory exercises with them. You should also encourage the patient to use their imagination to remember some of the names and the roles they play in their life. If they are unable to do so, you may want to move on to another exercise.

Practicing Remembering the Order of a List of Items in a Line-Up

Here again, you only need one or two items to remember as a way of practicing memory exercises with patients with dementia. If you are working with a group of patients, this is a good game to play as well because you can build on their memory skills.