Creative Ways to Connect with a Loved One Living with Dementia

Creative Ways to Connect with a Loved One Living with Dementia

By Kellie Maloney

Have you caught the feels during an episode of ABC’s Old People’s Home For 4-Year-Olds? Watching adorable kids and seniors forming heartwarming connections with one another can do that! Or perhaps you’ve stopped your scroll on the viral feel-good videos from the Restaurant of Mistaken Orders in Japan—an eatery where all the servers are people living with dementia. These initiatives share a common theme: the power of reconnection!

Connecting with a loved one living with dementia is a beautiful and rewarding experience. In fact, research from the National Library of Medicine links social connectivity to having a positive impact on cognitive health and reduced risks in dementia patients. 

Sounds amazing, right? Here’s how you can take the first step…

Be present with tactile crafts

mosaic lamp class

Not sure what to say? Engaging in tactile crafts can help bridge the gap between you and your loved one when you run out of words and has been shown to promote positive feelings and relaxation. Choose activities you know they’ll love or things you used to enjoy together—a cosy blanket to crochet, a colourful mosaic to assemble or squishy clay creations. As your hands work together you’re not only crafting objects but also your connection; one stitch or piece at a time. 

Keep the activity simple and stick to what you know they’re capable of. After all, it’s the process itself that matters—the feel of the materials, the conversation shared, and the memories created.

Check out these handy hints for communicating with a person living with dementia.

Express love through your senses

woman smiling at pasta making class

Engaging the senses can be a powerful tool for connecting – with studies showing that sensory and memory stimulation therapies have the potential to improve many dementia-specific issues for people in long-term care. Bring them a bunch of their favourite flowers, spend some time in the sun or simply have a cosy afternoon indoors with soothing music and their favourite treats. Sensory experiences can evoke memories and emotions which can help to facilitate meaningful connections with your loved one.

Feeling inspired by our tactile craft idea? Enrich your senses and make something with your hands at perfume making workshops or baking classes.

Warm their heart with personalised gifts

making a dried flower arrangement

If you can’t see your loved one as often as you’d like or just want them to have more reminders of you, then personalised gifts will surely touch their heart. Studies have shown that a person-centred approach can improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people living with dementia. Think about what makes them feel comforted and get them a gift that’ll make them feel warm, fuzzy and more like themselves—even when you’re not around. 

To make your present even more meaningful, consider DIYing it together. Whether they’re a gardener, an artist or a photographer, connecting can be made easier when you know what brings them the most joy. 

Monday 18 September to Sunday 24 September marks Dementia Action Week in Australia. During this week you’re encouraged to learn more about the needs of people living with dementia, their families and carers. To support this cause, ClassBento donates to Dementia Australia with every booking.

Gift a unique experience

Pick a fun experience for them, or let them choose from our thousands of creative classes and kits.

Valid for 3 years.

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