Summer quiz: brain jogging for people with dementia

A summer quiz is a way to catch up on the summer at the care center and nursing home, as it were. Elderly people with dementia, many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, can get that summer holiday feeling even without a real holiday. This is desperately needed because during this season many family members of these clients have traveled abroad or in any case often been away from home for weeks. The questions about the summer can bring back pleasant memories of past trips, city trips or camping holidays from better times. It is also an accessible activity for healthcare staff, who are often working extra hard now, that is easy and quick to organize. A quiz about summer: you don’t need much: questions and answers, if possible, a cheerful flower on the table, wearing summer clothes and preferably a summer treat with coffee or tea.

A summer quiz for elderly people with dementia: a good theme

A quiz about the summer is a good choice for this target group. After all: all elderly people with dementia have experienced summers. So they can all participate. Summers were also those in their younger years that they have the most memories of. Summer and holidays are generally positive experiences: pleasant to talk and muse about together.
If you have people from other countries in the group, you should pay some extra attention to them. Were their summers warmer? For example, in really hot countries a siesta was often taken. It can make it extra interesting if there are people from other cultures: they have different experiences, other stories, which you can discuss with each other.

Evoke a summer feeling

Before you start the real quiz, it is a good idea to first draw the attention of seniors with memory problems to the subject. You can do this by talking about it, but better yet by supporting the theme with something that draws attention to the topic of the question and answer game in a different way. For example, think of a bunch of flowers on the table. Or a CD with a summer song on it, such as; ‘On to the paths, into the avenues, forward with a brisk pace…’. Or ‘Through the woods, through the heath, through the summer-drunk land…’. You will mainly find such songs on the Duo Karst series of CDs via An alternative is to read a poem or short story about the summer to people.


Questions about the summer for people with Alzheimer’s, for example

  1. What is the shortest night of the year? June 21 is the shortest night of the year.
  2. What does the term ‘Construction Workers Holiday’ mean? The period in which all construction workers in the Netherlands are required to have a holiday at the same time
  3. Can you name another word for swimsuit? Another word for swimsuit is bathing suit.
  4. What do you think a two-piece swimsuit is called? A bikini.
  5. What is another word for summer vacation? The big vacation.
  6. Can you name a cold delicacy? Ice cream is a cold, summer treat.
  7. What are the symptoms associated with thunder? Thunder, lightning and possibly a heavy rain shower and lightning strike.
  8. What does the word ‘accommodation’ mean in bed and breakfast? Logies is related to the word lodging and means to spend the night.
  9. What do you need to set up a tent? A tent, guy ropes, pegs, a tent hammer, a groundsheet.
  10. What is usually cheaper: a guest house or a hotel? A guest house.
  11. How many months does summer last? Summer lasts three months.
  12. What do you think are the ‘dog days’? Sweltering, warm weather (between July 19 and August 18).
  13. Can you name some cheap ways to go on holiday? Camping, staying over, caravanning, cycling, walking, boarding.
  14. What does ‘paw bathing’ mean? Going into the water with bare feet, usually said when going into the sea with bare feet.
  15. What ingredients can ice cream contain? Milk, water, cream, sugar.


Quiz questions and reminders

Playing this quiz is of course not just about asking questions and giving the (correct) answer.
The intention is of course for the quiz to lead to small conversations about the summer. When asking about the materials needed to pitch a tent, you might ask about camping trips and (often hilarious) attempts at pitching a tent. If you ask about the symptoms associated with thunder, you can, for example, ask whether people were or are afraid of thunder. The advantage of this approach is that the activity is suitable for more people and is less one-sided.

Taking a break with people with dementia during an activity

The break during an activity with a group of people with, for example, Alzheimer’s or fronto-temporal dementia, has several functions, each of which is valuable in itself. Think of: taking a break, having a drink, an opportunity for mutual contact, one-on-one contact and going to the toilet. Try adapting the break to the activity.

Summer break in the quiz

To prevent a summer quiz from becoming mainly a cerebral activity, it is a good idea to take a summer break.
‘Drunk’ has to be said! Please pay attention to people who have swallowing problems or are on a diet. An ice cream is of course delicious, preferably in a bowl with a spoon. This makes it easy to eat and prevents spills and messes that people might feel uncomfortable about. A good alternative is strawberries with or without sugar.

A sunny ending

It is a good idea to complete and conclude an activity for elderly people with dementia. Just summarize what you have done and, for example, briefly mention any nice comments you received. And sing a song again so that people who could not handle the questions very well can also be discussed again. Sing along or listen: both are possible. Many elderly people with dementia will remember the song ‘Sleep with open windows’.

read more

  • Read summer stories and summer poems to people with dementia
  • Reminisce about the summer with the elderly with dementia
  • Summer songs for the elderly with dementia
  • Autumn quiz or fall quiz for dementia: practice memory!
  • Winter quiz for children & dementia, brain exercise for both!
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