If you know someone suffering from dementia, it’s not always easy to engage with them. But there are many types of dementia, as well as many stages. Sometimes some parts of their memory may still be intact, especially in early stages.

We also know that everything is more complicated now with COVID-19, and you may not be able to do some of these things in person just yet, if the person suffering from dementia is in an assisted-living environment. However, some of these ideas can be implemented from a distance, and sooner or later we will all be able to visit our friends and relatives more than we can now.

Here are some ideas.


There are loads of card games from simple–like Go Fish or War—to more sophisticated like Gin or Canasta. Also, large print cards make card games accessible to everyone. Sometimes those with dementia may have all their championship bridge skills intact even if other cognitive areas are affected. Card games can be a stimulating and fun way to pass the time.

Memory Box

Create and give or send to the person you care about a memory box filled with items that may job his or her memory. You could include anything that that person might remember including, for example, photos, or a wooden spoon if he or she used to be a great cook, magazines they used to like to read with lots of pictures, or whatever you can think of that is specific to that person’s past.


A person suffering from dementia who used to love music might still be able to play “Name That Tune” if you play some familiar music. And this is something you could do on the phone. Or make a CD of music that you know they used to play or like.

We all have to be creative to connect with those suffering from dementia. But it’s worth trying lots of different things because what works with one person may not work with someone else.

The Hamlets at Red Deer, located in Red Deer, Alberta, is at the forefront in the provision of services for those suffering from dementia in an assisted-living environment. The Hamlets at Red Deer has values based on tenets of Christianity and is committed to helping residents attain the highest physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our Red Deer dementia care services, please call us at (403) 986-1250.