I've got nothing against bingo; it has its place, and for some people with dementia, it's a great activity. But there are many other possibilities for engaging activities that sometimes get overlooked, whether you're caring for a loved one at home or a person in a facility.
One of the most important steps of choosing activities for those with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia is finding out what is meaningful for that person. If the person is your loved one, you likely already know the answer because you know what they did earlier in life- their hobbies, jobs, roles, and interests. If it's someone in a facility that you're caring for, spend a few minutes to learn this information about her; it will be well worth it, both for you and her.
Once you've identified the person's interests, offer activities that relate to those. It's important to note that activities don't always have to be structured, group events. They can also be individual, regular life tasks such as setting a table or folding clothes. The object is not necessarily to accomplish that task, though it's fine if that happens. The goal, instead, is to offer the person something to do that is familiar or of interest to her- something that is meaningful for her.
I've chosen thirteen groups of people (though there are many more) with specific interests in the article below, and identified some possible activities that might be engaging and meaningful for them.
I'd love it if you can comment below on other activity ideas, or what you've found to be specifically helpful or engaging for your loved one. Your idea or experience might be exactly what may benefit someone else. Any suggestions?