How To Keep Hobbies Going When You Have Dementia

One of the big fears that people diagnosed with dementia face is the worry that they will lose their lifestyles; that once-loved pastimes and passions will become a thing of the past as dementia takes hold. In the past, this would have been a valid concern, but today, we are pleased to say, there is a huge variety of specialised and adapted activities that those living with dementia can access. At Dementia Network we are so thrilled every time we come across another one that we thought we’d gather together some of the best for you. Read on!

Starting in Teeside with a favourite of ours: Circus skills for people with dementia. This brilliant session is held every third Friday from 1pm to 2pm in Stockton-on-Tees and provides a comfortable, supportive environment in which to clown around! A collaborative effort between Teeside Dementia Link Services and DZ Circus School, the project has been running since November 2019 and is proving a big hit with local users. So if you’ve always wanted to spin plates or juggle clubs, now is your chance… Circus Skills

Staying with a circus theme, the group Spinsonic Circus hold regular workshops for events and parties, including hula hoop and circus workshops for people with additional needs or dementia. They hold their events over a range of venues around the Birmingham area, and also have a handy online shop where you can buy hula hoops to practise at home. Find out more here. 

Scottish Ballet is leading the way for dance lovers to re-engage with their passion, with its regular free drop-in classes in Glasgow for those living with dementia and their carers or other family. Called Time to Dance, the classes are suitable for everyone – no dance experience required. The sessions are designed for people living with dementia who would like to use their bodies through movement, and their families, friends, children, grandchildren, partners and carers. THe organisers say that although the classes are currently in Glasgow only, if they are successful they hope to roll out a nationwide scheme. One of their dance health coordinators, Miriam Early, says, ‘‘When people living with dementia feel isolated and lonely and depressed, it impacts on mobility and independence. Dance breaks that cycle, it makes your body bigger because it gives you tools to be able to use it, coming to class is also a social experience because it gives you a way to connect with people.’ Find out more here: Time To Dance

An American study in 2014 found that spending time with horses had a positive effect on dementia patients – and you can do just that at Hemlington near Middlesbrough, where the Unicorn Centre offers dementia-friendly equine experiences. Participants can have a go at taster sessions of riding, or take part in tactile horse grooming sessions. There is more information here.

Finally, for those living further south, The Centre, based at Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill, offers daytime community classes such as craft, painting, woodworking and horticulture. The staff are well versed in dementia care and offer a high level of understanding and facilitation for those living with dementia. The Centre Training Workshops

If you don’t live near any of these classes try your local council website to see what’s on in your area. Or you can access resources like this one from The British Gymnastics Association, which has a downloadable booklet full of ways to help dementia patients get moving. 

Do you know of any other great classes that offer a lifeline for dementia patients? Let us know in the comments!


Author: Alicia