What are Fidget Toys for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Fidget toys are items that are used as stress relievers for adults and as simple toys to enjoy for kids. But there are some fidget toys that are designed to be enjoyed not only by adults and kids but also by the elderly. 

You may also read our Guide to Selecting Fidget Toys for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia for recommendations.

These fidget toys are beneficial in a variety of ways, including helping seniors combat or prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, which are diseases that affect the brain, particularly the brain’s function to recognize and remember people, places, events, and memories. To know more about these fidget toys, here are some of them that are helpful in preventing and slowing down Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Fidget Spinner

man holding a fidget spinner

The simplest fidget toy for seniors is the fidget spinner, which is an item that has three ball bearings that surround the holder at the center. The thumb and the pointer finger of a person’s hand hold onto the holder at the center, and the ball bearings surrounding the holder would spin continuously along its axis (the holder) once you push or pull them with force. [1]

It is a really simple fidget toy that has fascinating mechanics on how it moves, so seniors will definitely be curious and fascinated by how the fidget spinner is able to spin for a very long time. Fidget spinners can help seniors improve their focus while also helping them calm down to reduce stress and anxiety. These fidget toys can also be beneficial in preventing severe arthritis since the spinning, pulling, pushing, and holding of the fidget spinners can serve as exercises for the hands.

Fidget Cubes

a small fidget cube

A fidget toy that is more complex than the fidget spinner is the fidget cube. The fidget cube would usually be made from different pieces that can act like separate parts to fidget or play with. These pieces could include screws that can be rotated, buttons that can be pressed, and cylinders that can be pushed or pulled. So, unlike the fidget spinners that can only be played one way, fidget cubes have many interaction points that allow the elderly to play with the cubes in different ways.

But, much like fidget spinners, fidget cubes are also effective in improving the focus of the elderly while also giving their hands a little bit of exercise due to the many ways they can play and interact with the cubes. [2] However, it can be argued that fidget cubes can be played for longer, as it would take a long time for the elderly to grow tired of the cubes, unlike the fidget spinners that lose their novelty after a few hours or days.

Snap-and-Click Toys

snap-and-click toys

Snap-and-click toys are made of small plastic pieces that are connected using a simple mechanism that allows each piece to move upwards, downwards, to the left, and to the right. So, these snap-and-click toys have pieces that can be moved in almost any position to create different shapes and figures.

These fidget toys are designed to improve or retain the hand-eye coordination of seniors, which is important to combat Alzheimer’s and dementia. Snap-and-click toys are also helpful in improving problem-solving skills, as the elderly would need to arrange certain pieces on the toys in order to create the shape that they want.

Tangle Fidget Toys

Tangle fidget toys work similarly to snap-and-click toys, as they are also composed of different parts or pieces that are connected. However, the difference is that snap-and-click toys usually have square or rectangular pieces, while tangle fidget toys have cylindrical pieces that are slightly curved. These cylindrical pieces can then be rotated so that their curves also move in different directions to form different shapes.

The tangle fidget toys can be played with to force a bracelet or necklace, and they also can be rotated multiple times to make the cylindrical pieces go on top of each other to form a bigger cylinder. These tangle toys have the same benefits as snap-and-click toys because they can improve focus and hand-eye coordination. Moreover, seniors would need to apply a little bit of force to rotate each cylindrical piece, so their hands can also get exercise from the tangle toy.

Pop Fidget Toys

elderly woman playing with a pop fidget toy

Pop fidget toys are products that come in different shapes and sizes, from simple circles to the shape of strawberries, pineapples, popsicles, and more. What makes these pop fidget toys different from other types of fidget toys is the small circles that are present on their surface, and these small circles can be pushed to create their iconic popping sound.

The color pop fidget toys are popular among children, but they are also suitable for the elderly that want to pass the time and want a simple toy to play with. Pop fidget toys are very simple, which makes them similar to fidget spinners, and they are also very affordable. These toys can help retain focus while also slowing down cognitive degeneration caused by brain inactivity. With how colorful and fun the pop fidget toys are, the brains of the elderly will surely be stimulated to slow down the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Fidget Quilts

fidget quilt

Fidget quilts are a type of quilt or blanket that have different decorations sewn onto them, and these decorations can act like activities that kids and seniors can play or interact with. So, fidget quilts are basically the softest and least harmful fidget toys suitable for the elderly, as they are primarily made of fabric and different kinds of soft materials.

These fidget quilts have activities that can improve hand-eye coordination, and they will also be able to relieve stress and anxiety because of how calming they are to play. [3] Because they are also technically a blanket, the elderly can also use the fidget quilts to get warmth and comfort during colder weather.

These are six great fidget toys for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. You can give them a try and see how they might help and provide a positive impact.

If you are looking for more recommendations, you may also read our Guide to Selecting Fidget and Sensory Toys.

In addition to fidget quilts, you may also want to learn about twiddle muffs. To find out more about them, read our article about the Benefits of Twiddle Muffs to People with Dementia and Autism.


[1] Pappas, S. (2017, August 15). Fidget Spinners: What They Are, How They Work and Why the Controversy. Live Science. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://www.livescience.com/58916-fidget-spinner-faq.html 

[2] Froymovich, E. (2020, May 8). Could Fidget Toys Be the Answer for Your Senior? HSU Cares. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://www.hsucares.com/elder-care-westfield-in-could-fidget-toys-be-the-answer-for-your-senior/ 

[3] Davis, A. (2022, July 30). Meridian library volunteers help seniors by making fidget quilts. KTVB7. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/meridian-library-volunteers-make-fidget-quilts-for-seniors/277-4fc427c9-6238-4c08-9f79-cc694d889cf5