Fun Activities For People Living With Dementia

Having helped care for my Mum for 6 years, living at home with Vascular Dementia, I have lived experience of the challenges dementia can cause when people withdraw from activities, family and friends, and the devastating effect that that level of disengagement can have on a person’s wellbeing.

It’s so important to maintain peoples’ interests and relationships as it reduces the effects of their memory impairment, leading to them enjoying a better quality of life.
living-well-with-dementiaYou can pre-register here for our latest holistic guide ‘Living Well with Dementia’ coming soon, which is a FREE resource designed to help you understand some of the challenges and main symptoms of dementia with helpful hints and tips of how to overcome them and ideas for dementia enabling product solutions which will improve quality of life.

Fun Activities Help To Stimulate People Living With Dementia  to:

  • Encourage self-expression
  • Foster emotional connections with others
  • Lessen any anxiety and irritability which the disease may bring
  • Feel more engaged
  • Stir memories

Through my lived experience with my Mum I learnt the importance of getting to know and understand a person’s life history, what has been meaningful to them throughout their lives, what was ‘fun’, and what gave them joy. What are their needs, both past and present, their interests, strengths, habits, routines and abilities?

This can really help to point you to activities and products which will appeal to individuals which aid them to stay engaged and have some fun.

Here are just some of the activities we shared with Mum which gave us all much joy and we hope will also give you some inspiration.

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Engaging In Pet Therapy

Mum had been brought up with and loved dogs and had owned them for most of her life.  When the responsibility became too great as she got older to have her own, Mum was a great dog sitter for my German Shepherd, Sheba, and my sister’s golden Labrador, Sally. I will never forget arriving to collect Sheba one day, a fully grown 40kg hound, and finding him plonked firmly across Mum’s lap!!

So, when I moved in to care for Mum, our family’s Border Collie, Hollie – aka Hollie the Collie – moved with me and helped to provide hours of entertainment and fun. Hollie is obsessed with a ball and would be happy playing ‘fetch’ for hours with Mum. Mum would throw it from a seated position in her chair and Hollie would retrieve and drop it back at Mum’s feet for the next throw. The ball went in all directions and sometimes would be thrown to me, but how we laughed!!

Sadly, apart from when she was playing ball, Hollie didn’t engage with Mum – she was a little wary of her, I think… unless, of course, there were biscuits involved! So latterly, I bought Mum her own Companion Puppy, a robotic pet with built-in sensors which responded to motion and touch

Mum would hate to be left in a room on her own and would become very agitated and upset, however by leaving ‘Wuss’, as she called her puppy, sitting on Mum’s knee where Mum could stroke her authentic feeling fur, feel her heartbeat, and could talk to her and get a response back with its clever BARKBACK technology, it would take away all of her distress and agitation and she would smile and sit for long periods, quite happy with her

Companion Puppy.



Completing The Crossword

My Dad was always the crossword buff in our family, completing the Daily Telegraph cryptic puzzle as part of his daily routine. He would wait until he got stuck toward the end and then he would ‘toss’ a clue over to Mum to help him finish it.

Even towards the end of her life, when she wasn’t able to remember much at all, my sister and I would sit with her every Sunday afternoon and between us complete a quick crossword. Mum could be as sharp as a tack when she was on form and come out with some cracking answers which had evaded both of us! And you could see she amazed herself sometimes with her answers and it really boosted her self-esteem.


Taking Her Back To The Seaside

One of Mum’s very favourite places to be was by the seaside where there had been a holiday home in our family since she was a girl on the east coast in Lincolnshire.

Every year, as children, we would depart for the 6-week Summer holidays, complete with trunks, bicycles, tennis racquets, and friends in tow to enjoy the beach, swimming and surfing, and the sea air which created many happy memories.

When Mum wasn’t well enough to travel there anymore, on the occasions we went, she would say, ‘Send my love to the sea’. And because I knew how much it meant to her I wanted to find something to help evoke those memories for her.

I came across these beautifully crafted and thoughtfully put together themed memory boxes which are ideal to help people reminisce and participate in an activity they once enjoyed. This ‘At The Seaside’ Memory Box contains lots of interesting and diverse sea-side artefacts including shells, a boat, a bucket and spade, a windmill and more. The box and its contents which Mum enjoyed getting out and handling, helped her to remember happy times by the sea and prompted many conversations and laughter as we reminisced.


Mum had been an avid reader for all of her adult life and a member of the local library. When her eyesight failed so much that she could no longer enjoy even large print books, I would read to her from some of her favourite books, and invested in a good quality radio/cd player along with some audio books. This served a dual purpose as she loved music and singing, and would happily sit and listen to ‘Ol Blue Eyes’ – Frank Sinatra who was her, not so secret, crush!


The Pantomime

Mum had always loved the pantomime from a young age, taking us as children and then treating her grandchildren when she was well into her ‘80’s. She would end the venture with a trip to McDonalds on the way home! Sadly, Mum’s fear of heights and stairs later prevented her from continuing our annual trips, until I found a Dementia Friendly panto in 2018 at Nottingham Playhouse. I will always be so grateful that we made that trip to see Robin Hood, that Christmas. Just to see her light up again, joining in, singing along and booing at the baddie was priceless for me.

Mum always fancied herself playing the part of the Principle Boy, in the tights and the long boots – she has great legs – and doing the high kicks!!

Pampering Sessions

Mum has always taken great pride in her appearance, including weekly trips to the hairdresser and having a mobile beautician to do her nails at home.

So, when she became less mobile, we found a mobile hairdresser who would come to her house every Thursday and do Mum’s hair at home and the nail treatments continued. Mum loved her make up, too. Every Sunday we would take her out to lunch at the local golf club where she had been a member for many years. Mum would still put on her lippy perfectly, without a mirror and a little face powder, a hint of her favourite perfume and her beloved pearls, and always a smart outfit.

It was very important to her that she looked nice which also made her feel nice.


As a young girl my Mum had taken singing lessons as she had a great singing voice. My sister and I also shared this love with her and would take every opportunity to both serenade her to encourage her to join in with a song; anything from a rousing hymn to a wartime melody would help lift Mum’s spirits. I remember fondly taking her for a walk in her wheelchair whilst we sang at the tops of our voices, and then giggling like naughty school girls to songs such as ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’, much to the entertainment of other walkers!

I also found a local inclusive community choir called Singing for All which included people living with Dementia, Parkinson’s, depression and people who had recently been bereaved. Here was a safe place where people with a wide range of medical conditions could get together, in a positive atmosphere where everyone was made to feel valued as part of a group, and enjoy success.

Mum loved her time there, and when offered a tambourine she would happily tap it in time to the music whilst singing along and occasionally standing to sway to the music. You can find out more information about Sining for All here:

These are just a few of the ways we helped to keep Mum engaged which brought joy and meaning to all of our lives as we witnessed the palpable transformation in her mood and quality of life. Sadly, we lost Mum on Mother’s Day last year at the age of 99 – however, we will cherish these memories  for the rest of our lives and help to bring us peace, knowing we made a difference to the quality of her life during her twilight years.

If you would like any further information on any of the activities mentioned, we would be delighted to offer you advice or product information on some of the items mentioned in this article.

Or visit our website:

You can also pre-register here for our latest holistic guide ‘Living Well with Dementia’ coming soon, which helps you understand some of the challenges and main symptoms of dementia with helpful hints and tips of how to overcome them and ideas for product solutions which will improve quality of life.

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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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