Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Foundation of America

Therapeutic Activities for 3 Main Stages of Alzheimer’s disease

Stage Symptoms Activities
Early (Mild) In this stage, people may forget words or misplacing objects; forget something they just read; ask the same question over and over; have increased trouble making plans or organizing; cannot remember names when meeting new people.
  • Trivia games, word puzzles and memory games
  • Passing a balloon in the air with a group
  • Reminiscing with family picture albums
  • Listening to favorite music
  • Storytelling
  • Flower arranging
  • Conversations with friends


Early (Mild) In this stage, people forget details about themselves; forget details about time, seasons, dates, and locations; have trouble cooking meals or ordering from a menu; get confused about what kind of clothes to wear; have a strong emotional need to have a purpose or care for something; sleep disorders become a problem; hygiene issues and incontinence can become a problem; will need help starting or continuing activities.
  • Aromatherapy and /or light therapy to help with sleep
  • Small tasks like folding towels, or putting socks together
  • Family pictures, stories and conversations
  • Stuffed animal therapy (adult-appropriate, like dogs and cats) to help with tactile stimulation, comfort, and play
  • Baby doll therapy also as nurturing can become beneficial


Late (Severe) In this stage, there is almost total memory loss; The person might recognize faces but forget names; may also mistake a person for someone else, delusions may set in, such as thinking they need to go to work even though they no longer have a job; a strong need for holding something close for tactile stimulation, nurturing, companionship and comfort; basic abilities such as eating, walking, and sitting up fade during this period; can no longer identify thirst and hunger; will need help with all basic activities of daily living.
  • Listening to familiar songs from the person’s past
  • Aromatherapy
  • Stuffed animals continue for comfort and companionship
  • Use of doll therapy to help with the need to nurture
  • Empathy, human touch and love