The Secret Benefits of Sorting

October 10, 2020

Finding easy and engaging activities for residents and loved ones living with dementia doesn’t have to be complicated.

Just like many of us enjoy mindful colouring and gardening, sorting items can be a relaxing way to unwind and gather your thoughts.

Anna August 2020 Low Res

Anna spends time in the dining room, enjoying herself while sorting popsicle sticks by colour, and the look on her face says it all.

For many people living with dementia, sorting items by colour or function can provide mental stimulation, reduce boredom, relieve stress and even help maintain fine motor skills.

Having a few of these activities ready to go, can prove helpful if your loved one is looking for something to do, or is feeling restless.

Mayflower keeps a range of sorting activities on hand, and we’re always on the look-out for new ideas to meet the needs of the many different people living in our community.

Resident Anna likes to sort paddle-pop sticks by colour while she enjoys some quiet time. We love seeing her smiling face as she relaxes.

Sorting can also help with:

  • Building self-esteem - we all enjoy a job well-done, and successfully sorting items can give you a real sense of accomplishment
  • Brain training - categorising and decision making are great ways to exercise your brain
  • Boosting your mood - focusing on a task that delivers results can be a welcome distraction, providing relief from stress and anxiety
  • Strengthening connections - spending time together sorting objects such as old tools or kitchen utensils can be a great conversation starter, evoking memories from your youth

Some more ideas for sorting activities include:

If you have a loved one who might enjoy sorting, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas for inspiration.

But remember, it is always a good idea to try to choose a theme based on your loved one’s interests and hobbies, and taking into account what they are most passionate about.

  • A jar of nuts, screws and bolts – sort by size or function
  • A tub filled with a few decks of cards – sort by house, deck, colour.
  • A jewellery box full of costume jewellery – sort by jewellery type, detangle necklaces
  • A sectioned cutlery drawer inserts filled with assorted cutlery and utensils – sort by function
  • A sewing box full of different threads, bobbins and ribbons that need light detangling and rewinding
  • A washing basket filled with unfolded clothes, for example babies clothing is a great one for loved ones who adore children
  • A tub of mismatched colourful socks – sorting, folding and pairing items

Any tub or jar will work, however, to add interest to the activity we suggest using themed containers to store the items together. A sewing box or jewellery box are great examples of storage boxes, with the addition of smaller coloured tubs for sorting the items more easily.

Happy sorting!