this image shows a red bag with black straps

Calming activity for someone with dementia


this image shows a red bag with black straps

Calming activity for someone with dementia

I read about this idea and thought I would share it with you. It is a cheap and easy idea to try and may bring welcome benefits to someone with dementia.

The idea is to simply have a specific bag a handbag for a woman and a washbag for a man, containing items such as a small soft animal, a photograph, a large button etc. An assortment of different shapes and sizes, with a different feel. This may seem strange, but for someone with dementia this bag and its collection of treasures may reduce agitation and provide a relaxing activity.

Many people with mid to late stage dementia like to rummage and it is part of a coping mechanism when language starts to falter. When speech and language fail, people with dementia work to find other ways to communicate

For example, when people with dementia are hungry but they can no longer say that they rummage. Sometimes, people accustomed to being busy are looking for something to do, so they rummage.

The best way to handle agitation is to reassure the person and provide a tool to redirect them away from what is causing their agitation. The items in the bag do need to be relevant to the person so for example, the soft animal should remind them of a former pet and the fabric could be from an item of their clothing or that of a loved one. Magazines and old photos can bring back memories and various buttons can be sorted by shape and style.

A word of warning: rummage bags — while they can ease anxiety for people with dementia and their carers— should be used under supervision only.


Award-winning blogger and former care columnist for Devon Life magazine. I am passionate about helping elderly people and people with dementia live purposeful and independent lives.
Designer of the Dementia Assistance Card and Points Of Light award recipient, Caron hopes to help carers when resources are limited and demand is ever-increasing. I am here to support you.

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