Life skill stations engage residents socially, encourage cognitive exercise, help sustain long-term memories, and improve residents' quality of life. As we look for ways to improve the quality of life for our residents, "life skill stations" have been designed to "spark memories". The goal of life skill stations is to create small vignettes that help dementia residents spark old memories and create activities that encourage interest, movement, and interaction.

"We know through experience and research that those who have dementia suffer memory loss with more recent events, as well as having difficulty finding the right words and phrases. Since long-term memory loss tends to be experienced later in the disease process, life skill stations are uniquely helpful in the retention of memories from years past," Hilde Bonesteel says. "I have witnessed firsthand the benefits and positive experiences life skill stations offer to those with dementia. I have observed the magnetic draw of the residents to these stations. This connection to their past creates enjoyment, fascination, pleasure, and curiosity - all in one."

  • Vanity Station - A vanity, antique mirror, and vintage jewelry conjure up memories of beauty and youthfulness for the female residents.
  • Doll Therapy - An antique cradle, rocking chair, and baby doll help residents recall memories of parenthood and revive feelings and habits of a caregiver and nurturer.
  • Kitchen Station - A hutch and vintage cooking utensils allow female residents to recall memories of being a loving homemaker.
  • Handyman Station - A tool box for the male residents helps to stimulate memories of hobbies such as woodworking.
  • Trips to the Ocean - The ocean can be a very serene and tranquil setting. Many of us have memories of visiting the beach. Residents can relive the sensory experience of nature through feeling the sand and listening to the sounds of the ocean.
  • Camping Out - Camping has been enjoyed by many and brings fond memories back.
  • Music to My Ears - Music appreciation often remains strong throughout our life.
  • On the Road Again - Vacations and travel hold special memories whether we took them as children with our parents or later in life. We attempt to recall some aspects of these vacations.
  • Here Comes the Bride - Most people have experience with weddings. They are a milestone and an important ritual for many persons with dementia.
  • Letter Writing and Postcard Collages - These evoke memories of past trips and old friends.
  • Woodworking / Tools of the Trade - Working with our hands brings old skills and familiar materials to mind.
  • In the Home - Washing Dishes - Laundry - Arranging Fresh Flowers - Time spent in the home is usually treasured. Home is the place where we rejuvenate and refresh ourselves. We provide reassurance as we create a setting to evoke happy moments remembered in the home.
  • Washing dishes - evokes old memories and helps to build a bond between the caregiver and dementia resident.
  • Arranging fresh flowers - is familiar and has many different levels of accomplishment.
  • Laundry - for those persons with dementia who have always enjoyed being a laundry expert, this can give a sense of accomplishment.
  • Gardening - This helps those with dementia feel productive and provides wonderful flowers or food.
  • Reading Together - Reading the morning newspaper, a good mystery novel, or an important new biography opens up a world of experiences.
  • Tea Time - This provides stimulating conversations, warm tea, and sweet treats. A soothing experience.
  • Listening to Nature - This is something we do not pay enough attention to. There are opportunities to hear sounds that help us reflect back to the days of sitting on the porch and listening to the sounds of nature.