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Spring-Related Activities for People with Alzheimer's and Dementia

Spring is a time of new beginnings for animals, plants, and more. The changes of this season offer many opportunities for activity. There are many activities that you can talk about and do related to springtime with people with Alzheimer's and other dementia. This includes:

Animals - Springtime is when most animals lay their eggs or have their babies. You might see a baby bunny or a robin's eggs. There are books at the library with photos of baby animals, which can be interesting and enjoyable for the person with dementia to look at and chat about.

Flowers - Flowers will start to shoot up and bud in the spring. Spring flowers include pansies, daffodils, lilac, peonies, and tulips. Many activities can involve flowers, including making dried lavender sachets, grass plantings, or decorating straw hats to make Easter bonnets for door decorations. (Check out A Calendar Year of Horticulture Therapy for more details and ideas.) The sensory experience of handling flowers, soil, and grass can be enjoyed by people at all stages of dementia.

"Flowerette" baking idea - Start with a can of cinnamon roll dough or biscuit dough. Separate the rolls. Take one of the rolls and make 5 small cuts that start on the outside of the roll and go part way towards the center, to make the flower 'petals'. You can brush the dough flowers with a mix of melted butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg to add more flavor. Cut a maraschino cherry in half and put in in the center of the 'petals' to complete the flower. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Or shape the dough into any flower design you like! Patients in the middle stage of dementia can help with stirring the butter mix and brushing it on. The scent of the cinnamon and taste of the roll can be enjoyed even by those in the late stage of dementia.

Coloring Easter eggs - The many steps of coloring Easter eggs the traditional way may be too difficult for people in the middle stages of dementia. Instead, try having them paint the eggs with the colored solution - and monitor the dyed solutions carefully, as they can look like juice to drink.

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