Fun Activities for Seniors and Caregivers
As our loved ones get older, it’s important to spend quality time with them. Whether you’re visiting family or working in home care, it’s your duty to help seniors stay physically, mentally, and emotionally fit. Luckily, this is easily achievable by incorporating some fun activities into their daily routines.
Below are some creative and practical activities for seniors that help improve quality of life.
Enjoyable Physical Activities for Senior Citizens
According to the National Library of Medicine, when older people engage in physical activity, it serves as protective factor for noncommunicable diseases, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Stroke & diabetes
- Some types of cancer
- The onset of dementia
For caregivers in particular, working at home with seniors doesn’t mean you have to make their exercise sessions difficult or tedious. Before creating an exercise plan, ask their family members for physical activity ideas, as this helps create routines they’ll enjoy.
With that being said, the following physical activities are fun for seniors and caregivers alike:
- Bike riding
- Hobbies (golf, gardening, cooking, etc.)
- Going to a fitness center
- Taking leisurely nature walks
- Hiking, bird watching, observing local wildlife
- Visiting the dog park
- Sightseeing around town or someplace new
Out of the above activities for seniors, walking is one of the easiest exercises to perform. It’s a great activity because you can do it indoors or outside. Rain or shine, you can rest assured knowing your loved one will have an energizing outlet that keeps them fit. Consider playing an upbeat workout video for motivation while still keeping it lively and fun.
Getting fresh air on pleasant days helps boost feelings of well-being and engage in the joys that life has to offer. Consider taking senior citizens on scenic walks in nearby parks, around the neighborhood, or the town’s shopping districts.
Other fun walking places include visiting museums, walking through a shopping mall, and touring local historic landmarks.
Meaningful Activities for Seniors With Limited Mobility
The passage of time takes a toll on our bodies, and some seniors develop health issues that makes moving and walking difficult.
However, it’s still essential for caregivers to motivate older clients to be more active. Sitting or lying in one position for hours at a time can increase joint stiffness, body pain, and depressed feelings.
A sedentary lifestyle often leads to muscle decomposition and decreased flexibility. Luckily, by encouraging exercise, you help improve your client’s body strength, range of motion, balance, and most importantly—overall health.
For clients with limited mobility, modify their program with a few innovative chair exercises, such as:
- Yoga (focusing on upper body movements)
- Group games (tossing a beach ball, bean bags, etc.)
- Stretching to increase flexibility & reduce stiffness
- Follow an armchair exercise video while using small weights
If your client is reluctant to perform any physical exercises, try to figure out why. Ask them questions like:
- Are you in pain?
- Do you feel sad or melancholy?
- Does the thought of exercise make you anxious?
These are all common emotions, so it’s important to find out why they feel reluctant to engage in physical activity. Finding practical ways to resolve—or at least improve—these concerns goes a long way toward helping your client reach their personal fitness goals.
Encourage exercises that are safe for your senior, and add some fun, stress-relieving activities to alleviate any anxieties or inner turmoil that may exist.
Stress-Relieving and Cognitive Activities for Seniors
Keeping your brain healthy and stimulated also helps alleviate feelings of fear and frustration. By doing things to help maintain cognitive abilities, you can even help improve brain function. The following activities are bound to keep your client stimulated and happy:
- Games and puzzles
- Board games
- Art (drawing, painting & pottery)
- Crafts (sewing, crocheting, knitting & woodworking)
- Learning a new language or watch travel shows
- Reading books, magazines, newspapers
- Music (playing an instrument or listening to tunes)
- Creating scrapbooks, recipes & photo albums
- Adult coloring books
Individualizing these activities can put a personal touch on your client’s routine, and their families will deeply appreciate the emotional support you provide.
Social Activities for Seniors
Human beings are inherently social creatures. We live in families, work in teams, and find purpose through religious fellowship. The older you get, the harder it becomes to engage in group activities. However, it’s crucial for seniors to have socialization opportunities, as this directly affects their mental health.
Luckily, there are plenty of social groups perfect for the elderly, including:
- Book clubs
- Classes (dance, educational & art lessons)
- Senior community events
- Invite friends or neighbors over
- Shopping trips
- Senior trips & social gatherings
- Family game nights & movie nights
- Cards & board games
- Group trips to concert & other senior outings
- Video communications
Video communication ideas can include setting up Snapchat, Skype, and other social media platforms for your loved ones. These resources are an effective way to promote socialization, especially for family members who live out-of-state.
Internet communication technologies are revolutionizing how families stay in contact. However, your senior might not know how to set them up. As their caregiver, teaching your client how to use these platforms goes a long way to improving their interpersonal relationships and quality of life.
Looking to Improve Your Loved One’s Quality of Life? Partner with AVCC’s Community of Caregivers
American Veterans Care Connection has been connecting home care providers with senior citizens in need for years. If you’re struggling to care for a loved Veteran, don’t worry—you’re in the right spot.
At the AVCC, it’s our mission to get Veterans the help they deserve, get in touch to learn how we can help.