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Examples of Similes | Cognitive Activity for Dementia & Recreation Therapy Groups

Using similes for cognitive stimulation is a great activity since a lot of seniors are familiar with similes. This activity can be used for all ages for a group activity and can also be used for people with mild dementia and occasionally moderate dementia, depending on the person.

What is a simile? A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things using 'like' or 'as'. The object of a simile is to make a description more vivid (example: Rather than saying, "She is working hard", you might say, "She is working as hard as a bee").

If you plan to do this activity with someone with mild to moderate dementia, pick out the ones that are most common. Try a few and provide more of the answer, such as just leaving the last word for them to solve ("She is working as hard as a ___"). Try some more. If it's too easy, you can leave more of the sentence for them to solve in order to provide more of a challenge (and brain action!) but not too difficult that it frustrates the person. You want the activity to be fun and you want the person to feel success.

There are a couple of ways to facilitate this activity as a group. You can call out part of the sentence and allow participants to call out the answers. You could also encourage discussion by talking about what the simile means, whether they've used the simile and so on (with higher functioning groups). In the attachment, I have included the meaning of the simile. I find at times there are some participants who are much quicker at answering, which leaves others at a disadvantage. It means the others are not getting the opportunity to use memory recall and challenge their brains. Depending on the participants, I might say in the beginning, "Please put up your hand if you know the answer" and then you can choose someone to answer. Or, "If you find you are the one to always answer, please let others answer at times so everyone gets a chance". I find the participants who are quicker to answer are also very aware that others would benefit from answering, too. At times, a person might call out the answer regardless; in this case I would use the tactic of having people raise their hand (not arm) when they know the answer.

Another way to play would be to provide participants with a sheet of the questions and have them fill in the answers. The sheet option will allow participants to work at their own pace and therefore have the opportunity to use memory recall and challenge themselves at their own pace. You could also have two different sheets, one easier than the other, and hand them out according to their abilities. The participants won't know if you discretely hand out the two different levels. Alternatively, you can also ask if they would like the easier or harder version. This also works well, too.

You'll find the Word document attached below. Enjoy!

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