Memory and Mental Stimulation Practices for Alzheimer’s Patients

Of the nearly 7 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease in the U.S. in 2024, Florida has one of the largest populations (along with California and Texas) of those suffering from the disease. Probably the most common and recognizable symptom of Alzheimer’s is dementia, which, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, includes loss of memory, language, and problem-solving skills to a level that interferes with daily life. 

As a caregiver, you can implement some simple things to help your loved one living with Alzheimer’s to remember things and provide mental stimulation that may slow cognitive decline. Here are some examples:

Use Memory Aids

  • Calendar – Have a weekly or monthly calendar in a prominent location (near the fridge or their bedside table) where daily activities, appointments, and events are written down. Encourage them to check the calendar throughout the day, crossing off or erasing activities – and days – as they occur. This will help remind them what day it is and what has already been completed.
  • Daily Phone Reminders – If they use a cell phone, set recurring reminders on their phone to alert them to the day and time. If they have to take medications on a schedule, set reminders or alarms on a task list that can be checked off when they take them. This allows them to look back at their list if they have trouble remembering whether or not they took something.
  • Shopping List – Encourage your loved one to write down or make a voice recording as they run out of items they need from the store. If they do their own shopping, help them organize their list according to the store layout so they can find things easily. If you take them to the store, have them refer to the list and cross items off as you shop.
  • Phone List – Create a list of important phone numbers (health care providers, emergency services, family members, etc.) and leave it near all phones in the home. If they use a cell phone, mark them as “Favorites” in their contacts so they are easier to find.

Encourage Mental Stimulation

  • Exercise – Even brief exercises a few times a week can increase blood flow to the brain, encouraging brain cell growth and function. Go on a short walk together or do some light gardening to get them moving.
  • Puzzles – All kinds of puzzles can help stimulate brain function. They don’t call them “brain teasers” for nothing! Doing a couple of crosswords, word searches, jigsaw puzzles, or other favorites every day can stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Card games like “Go Fish” allow for socializing and encourage memory function.
  • Listen to Music – Music stimulates the parts of the brain connected to emotion and long-term memory. Playing their favorite songs or a record by their favorite artist can bring them joy and stimulate their minds to remember the words or trigger memories associated with them.
  • Practical Home Activities – Let your loved one help with things like simple meal preparation, table setting, or unloading the dishwasher. This not only gets them moving and socializing, but it also helps them remember where things go in the home.


All of these simple, daily practices can help stimulate brain function and slow memory loss, and they can help you stay connected to your loved one through shared experiences that don’t feel so much like caregiving.

Recognize When You Need Help

Taking care of a loved one with dementia can take a significant toll emotionally, physically, and financially, and sometimes all the tips and tricks you use just aren’t enough. When you need a helping hand, there are resources available. Granny Nannies of Miami & Granny NANNIES of The Florida Keys offers several services specifically for Alzheimer’s Care including memory stimulation, meal preparation, mobility assistance, and more. And, not only do they offer in-home care from certified care professionals, they actively work to fund research and support for the Alzheimer’s community through their annual participation in the Alzheimer’s Association’s “The Longest Day” event. “Mangoes for Memory,” is a local Miami fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association that is put on by Granny NANNIES of South Florida every year. To learn more about the event and how you can get some delicious baked goods this month, visit their “Mangoes for Memory” page.