Technology Can Help Make Activities Easy
Busy caregivers can use smartphone apps or websites to find activities for their loved ones.
We know that it can be hard to come up with new activities for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Sometimes technology can help.
We have compiled a list of smartphone apps and websites you can use to help engage your loved one. Many of them are also great for caregivers. The apps can be downloaded from the app/play store on your phone or tablet.
If you don’t have good computer access or would prefer activities over the phone, check out the free programs available through Senior Center without Walls. You can call (877) 797-7299 for more information.
Art or music-based activities
Researchers are learning more about the benefits of art and music for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Introducing activities with art or music can brighten your loved one’s day.
If your loved one has a hard time getting up in the morning, try playing one of their favorite upbeat songs to help them get out of bed. When selecting music, try the music they enjoyed (or that was popular) from their teens through their twenties.
If it’s hard to get your loved one out to a musical performance or art exhibit, you can bring the art and music to them. Engaging with music or art may help the person with dementia (and the caregiver):
- be distracted from anxiety and pain
- be calm while waiting (e.g., at doctor’s office)
- engage across generations.
- Google Arts and Culture – a great place to view images of art, museum collections, famous places, historical events, etc.
- Getty Images – a huge library of images, searchable by word (such as “sunset”)
- Fingerpaint Magic (app) – lets the user paint with a rainbow of colors
- Beautiful Scenery (Android) or 4K World (iPhone) – look at photos from all over the world
- Singfit Digital (12 free songs, additional songs with subscription) – incorporate singing into your daily routine
- Pandora Radio – personalize music song-lists (free and premium versions)
- Spotify – personalize music song-lists (free and premium versions)
Mindfulness and relaxation
We can all benefit from activities that help us to relax. Mindfulness apps have a variety of exercises, such as meditation, guided imagery or breathing exercises. Sometimes, enjoying the sounds of nature or chimes might be helpful.
Mindfulness and meditation sites
Most of these apps have some free exercises and offer additional exercises for purchase.
- Headspace (app)
- Insight Timer (app) – free guided meditations, music tracks and talks
- 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (app)
- Guided Meditations in English and Spanish – meditation, body scans and breathing exercises
- Relaxation exercises – deep breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness and more
- Online Gratitude Journal or Attitudes of Gratitude (Android app) – Take time to capture what you are thankful for each day
- YouTube also has many mindfulness and meditation videos
- White Noise (app) – selection of white noise sounds to help you fall asleep (e.g., rain, ocean, music)
- Wind Chimes Lite (Android app) or Ultra Windchimes (iphone app) – listen to the wind chimes
- Relaxing Sounds of Nature (app) – choose your favorites; automatic shut-off timer
- Calmsound – choose from a variety of natural sounds
If you’re looking for an activity to engage your loved one, these might be fun.
- Zen Koi (app) – enjoy feeding the koi
- Let’s Create Pottery Lite (app) – create your own virtual pottery pieces of art
- Mindmate (app) – has games, links to music from different eras, along with health tips
Webcams and virtual visits
If your loved one likes animals, art, museums, travel or scenery, they might enjoy a virtual visit.
- Webcams – Earthcam is a great source for live webcams around the world
- Museums with online tours – Search for “virtual museum” or “virtual field trip” online for options (here is a place to start)
- Pocket Penguins – streaming live video from California Academy of Sciences’ penguin exhibit
- YouTube – Hours of entertainment; just search for a favorite subject (puppies or kittens are always a good choice)
There are many other apps and web-based activities available. You can also search on topics such as exercise, nutrition or your loved one’s favorite hobbies (such as gardening, cooking or sports). If you have a favorite app, please share it in the comments!