8 Ways to Keep Your Loved One’s Mind Active

Posted on: 19/10/2021

Keeping our minds active is important – just like we do physical activity to keep our bodies healthy, we also need to do mental activity to keep our brains healthy.

This is even more important for those living with dementia because, as your loved one’s dementia progresses, their brain health and cognitive function will decline.

Encouraging them to keep their mind active can not only help to boost their cognitive function, but it can also boost their mood, confidence and help to improve their memory.

Here are 8 things you can encourage them to try, to help keep their mind active.

  1. Exercising

Physical exercise that increases the heart rate is beneficial because it means that more blood is pumped to the brain, and research from the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation has shown that physical exercise may help support brain health as a result of this.

Exercise could include walking, chair exercises, water aerobics, Pilates, yoga or working on strength and balance.

Find physical activities that your loved one can comfortably do and that they enjoy, and perhaps make it a regular activity that you do together.

  1. Breathing

Not only is mindful breathing good for reducing stress and anxiety, which can be useful if your loved one is having a more difficult day, but it is also a great way to stimulate brain activity.

Get your loved one to sit quietly, clear their mind and focus on their breathing. This will help them with focusing, whilst also being an incredibly calming exercise.

  1. Socialising

Encourage your loved one to remain socially active, meeting up and/or speaking with friends and family as often as possible.

Frequent socialisation can help to keep their brain engaged and even improve their self-esteem, which in turn can positively impact other areas of their life, such as their sleep and eating habits.

You could also try incorporating some of the activities below with social interactions, such as encouraging your loved one to play games or do arts and crafts with friends and family.

  1. Playing games

Whether it’s a board game, a puzzle or something more interactive, playing games can help to keep your loved one’s mind active and boost cognitive function.

Playing games can help with their memory, reduce stress, improve dexterity, and much more.

As we mentioned in point 3, it’s also a great way to encourage socialisation – perhaps your loved one would enjoy a trip to bingo with their friends!

  1. Doing arts & crafts

Encouraging your loved one to get into arts and crafts will help to inspire creativity, as well as reducing stress and improving their dexterity.

It’s a chance for them to express themselves and boost their confidence, as they can be provided with a sense of achievement by creating something that is uniquely theirs.

  1. Learning a new (or maintaining a current) skill

Learning a new skill early on in their dementia journey can be a great way to keep your loved one’s mind active. This may be more difficult further along their journey, as their short-term memory will be mostly affected.

Alternatively, if there is a skill that they already have such as playing a musical instrument, encourage them to keep practising that skill.

Not only will this help with their memory, but it will also be an enjoyable activity that boosts their confidence and their mood. 

  1. Reading

Reading can encourage brain activity in your loved one – from creating mental images from the story they are reading, to remembering what they have previously read.

As your loved one’s dementia progresses, they may find it harder to read. If they used to read longer content, such as novels, perhaps look at shorter pieces of writing that they are more easily able to read and enjoy.

  1. Listening to music

Listening to music can evoke memories, emotions and feelings, which can be really useful for boosting cognitive function.

Music can also help to reduce stress, anxiety, and agitation, as well as boosting your loved one’s mood.  It’s also a free and simple activity that you can do easily at home.


The dementia journey can be scary but taking part in activities like these can help both you and your loved one connect and provide you with enjoyment.

We would love to see what activities you get up to with your loved one – drop an email to us on contact@progresslifeline.org.uk.