Flower Arranging with Alzheimer’s Patients January 20 2014


There are a variety of things that provide us with purpose and pleasure. For a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, the need for a good quality of life is not diminished. However, without some assistance from family and caregivers, their ability to achieve purpose and pleasure is much more difficult.

Flower arranging is an excellent activity for seniors with dementia. It can be done sitting or standing, at a table, at a bedside, or from a wheelchair. It is simple, provides cognitive and sensory stimulation, can help preserve motor skills, and instills a sense of ownership, independence, and accomplishment.

The innocuous nature of flower arranging can also provide socially-isolated individuals an opportunity for socialization. It can help to calm stressed or agitated individuals and, as with most things associated with the beauty of nature, it can supply a great deal of pleasure.

When conducting a flower arranging activity:

  • Select fresh flowers with sturdy stems that are durable enough to be arranged and rearranged (cosmos, calendulas, marigolds, zinnias, and chrysanthemums are good choices) or silk or other artificial flowers which can be arranged multiple times.
  •  Gather a selection of vases (preferably unbreakable) in a variety of shapes and sizes. Give the individual the opportunity to choose the flowers and the vase they would enjoy, and be comfortable, working with.
  • If safety permits, allow him or her to cut the stems to the correct length and arrange them in the selected vase.
  • Do not be overly concerned with the finished look of the arrangement—it’s the value of the process and the pleasant feelings generated that is important.
  • Lastly, display the arrangements around the house or facility and enjoy their beauty and fragrance.

Enjoyment doesn’t require memory. A person living with a memory-loss condition may enjoy activities even if they do not remember them. What is important is that the moment is enjoyed, even though the experience may be soon forgotten.

The Flowers book from Shadowbox Press can be used in conjunction with flower arranging or other horticulture-based programming. The book pairs floral photography with botanical proverbs, quotations, and facts. From a rose to a pansy, poppy, or orchid, this book allows the reader to rekindle cherished memories of nature walks and gardening. For more information or to place your order, call us toll-free at (888) 796-6333.