Dear Donna,

My children had a great relationship with their grandfather until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

After he moved to assisted living, their relationship began to deteriorate. Every time my kids visit him, they complain that they are bored and constantly ask when they can go home.

I want my children to spend time with their grandfather, but I am struggling to make their time together enjoyable.

What are some fun activities that kids can do with a grandparent who has Alzheimer’s disease?


Yolanda in Holland, MI


Activities for Kids to Do with a Grandparent Who Has Alzheimer’s


Dear Yolanda,

It can be difficult for grandchildren to connect with loved ones after a move to assisted living. Alzheimer’s makes finding activities that both kids and their grandparents can enjoy even more complicated. But the relationship between children and their grandparents is important.

For children, spending time with their grandparents exposes them to new wisdom and knowledge, as well as a different perspective.

Relationships also become more important for adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Spending time with grandchildren can make them feel important and bring them the sense of connectedness that they often lose as their disease progresses.

Here are a few activities that can be fun for both children and older loved ones with Alzheimer’s.


Activities Kids and Grandparents Can Do Together



Gardening is a common past time for older adults, and it can be highly beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Many older adults lose their sense of purpose after they are diagnosed with the disease. Gardening can help bring it back by giving them something to take care of.

Gardening is an activity that adults with Alzheimer’s and kids can do together. Your senior loved one will enjoy being able to pass their knowledge about gardening to their grandkids. In turn, your kids will learn a new skill. Kids and grandparents can even decorate the pots they are going to use.


Bird Watching

Bird watching is another great activity that kids and their grandparents can both enjoy. Purchase some birdhouses—you can even purchase plain houses and decorate them together.

Put birdfeed in the houses and set them up around the yard. You will all have a great time watching the birds eat. You can even purchase a bird reference guide and watch as your loved ones try to identify the birds in the yard.


Create a Family Tree

A family tree can be an excellent opportunity for children to create memories with their grandparents. It can also be a learning experience for your children to see where they came from.

For adults with Alzheimer’s, it can be a great way for them to reminisce. This can be therapeutic and stimulate their memory.

Get a poster board and have them draw out their family tree. Gather family photos and place them on the tree. Include names and birthdays.


Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities


Many memory care programs—like the one at Appledorn’s Heritage Senior Communities location—offer a variety of opportunities for kids to do activities with grandparents.

Contact us to learn more about specialized dementia care at Appledorn Assisted Living Center South.

I hope this helps you come up with fun activities for your kids to enjoy with their grandfather. You won’t regret encouraging a relationship between your kids and their grandfather. Your kids will be thankful you did as well.