How Busy Boards Slow Down Dementia

There are different items and products that are utilized to slow down dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other types of diseases that affect the brain of the elderly, but one of the most popular is arguably the busy board. What is a busy board? And how can it help slow down dementia? Let us find out as we take a look at the details of busy boards and their benefits.

What is a Busy Board?

an adult and a child playing with a busy board

A busy board is made from a simple slab of wood or plastic and is decorated with various materials and contraptions on top. These decorations include door hinges, zippers, blocks, puzzles, mazes, bells, wheels, and other items that can act like activities that a person can play or interact with.

Busy boards can come in a variety of sizes, but the most popular size is the table-top size that you can just prop to a table with ease. There are also busy boards that have a stand that allow them to stand on a floor, while there are also small busy boards that can be placed on the lap of a person. 

Although busy boards are readily available in toy stores and online shops, there are some people that make their own busy boards, which is relatively easy to do since all you need to make a busy board is a slab of wood and different items that you can attach to it. You can make the busy board like a fidget quilt or activity apron, where decorations and activities are sewn onto a large piece of fabric. On the busy board, you would need to screw in or nail the decorations or items on the slab of wood to prevent them from detaching from the board.

However, for the safety of the kids and seniors that will play with or use the busy board, we recommend that you give them a ready-made busy board that is guaranteed to be more durable and longer-lasting compared to DIY busy boards. [1] 

In addition to busy boards, there are also other fidget toys that may help with dementia. Learn more about these in our Guide to Selecting Fidget Toys for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

What are the Benefits of a Busy Board?

simple busy board

The busy board has plenty of benefits not only for kids but also for the elderly. Below is some helpful guidance on what you need to know about the major benefits of busy boards for seniors.

It Can Help Slow Down Dementia and Alzheimer’s

One of the biggest benefits of busy boards is that they can help slow down dementia and Alzheimer’s, as they would have activities that seniors can do to stimulate their brain, which is important to do in order to stop the said diseases from progressing. Brain stimulation can be done when elderly people are busy doing certain activities like playing games and moving objects, and these activities could be accomplished using just one busy board.

Improves Focus

Another benefit of playing with busy boards is that they can improve an elderly person’s focus, another important factor in slowing down the symptoms of dementia. A lot of seniors would often lose focus on certain moments, and this is often caused by the deteriorating receptors and neurons in their nervous system. Busy boards can help in slowing down the deterioration of those neurons and receptors by allowing seniors to focus on certain tasks that they need to accomplish on the busy board, like putting a lock on a door hinge or solving a puzzle on the board.

Strengthens Memory

a large busy board

Besides focus, the memory of seniors can also be strengthened through the use of busy boards. There are puzzles and mazes that are included in a lot of busy boards that can help retain and strengthen memory, as seniors would need to memorize different corners and pathways of those activities in order to reach the finish line or complete the puzzle. Interacting with different textures of the objects on the busy board can also help in rebuilding and improving motor and cognitive memories. [2]

Retains Hand-Eye Coordination

Hand-eye coordination is another skill that often deteriorates whenever we age. In case you don’t know, hand-eye coordination occurs when our eyes see something that we should move or touch with our hands. Our eyes would then send signals to our brain, and the brain would send signals to the arms and hands in order for them to move or touch the object our eyes see. 

The said process takes only microseconds to be done for kids and adults, but for the elderly, the process could take much longer since the nerves in their eyes, brain, and hands are deteriorating. However, in order to slow down the process of deterioration of the nerves, a person should continue using their eyes and hands simultaneously to promote hand-eye coordination.

Can Help Ease Stress and Anxiety

The busy board is helpful in easing the stress and anxiety of seniors. By being distracted by a busy board, seniors won’t think about negative thoughts, which can eventually lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. Through busy boards, the seniors will feel much calmer or more relaxed, and these feelings are important in order to prevent their dementia and Alzheimer’s from worsening, as stress and anxiety can often overload the nervous system and cause it to deteriorate much faster.

These are the details and pieces of information about busy boards that you should know about if you are considering buying one for your elderly loved ones. As we have mentioned before, it would be better if you give them ready-made busy boards, as these are a lot more durable and are actually more affordable compared to building one with different items and accessories. 

There are also many other fidget and sensory toys that may help people with dementia. If you need more tips and recommendations, check out our Guide to Selecting Fidget and Sensory Toys.


[1] Bumblebee Smart Blog. What is a description of a busy board? What are the benefits of a business board? Bumblebee Smart. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from 

[2] Promo Supply Blog. (2019, November 28). 5 Reasons Why Montessori Busy Boards are the Best Toy for Toddlers. Primo Supply. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from