Finding fun indoor activities for seniors can be challenging. With limited mobility or other health issues, seniors may not have as many options as a younger person. But there is plenty to do! Check out this guide to learn about 10 fun activities for the elderly that will make your next time together memorable.
1. Play Card or Board Games
Games are a great way to pass the time and add a sense of focus to a social gathering at any age. Maybe there is a specific game that the senior in your life remembers fondly from childhood (eg. euchre or gin rummy) or a new one that you could learn together.
Stay away from games with tedious instructions. You want the game to be the backdrop for lots of good conversation.
2. Bring Friends For a Visit
One of the biggest problems that seniors face is loneliness. Roughly one-third of seniors feel isolated, which contributes to lagging mental health. This may be due to physical isolation from friends in their age group, the death of a spouse, or health issues that prevent more outdoor activity.
A great way to combat this issue is by simply spending time with seniors. Call them up and give them a visit to look forward to. Kick things up a notch and bring another familiar friend with you from time to time.
3. Listen to Music or a Podcast
If you’re visiting a senior with limited mobility or worsening vision, listening to something together is a great way to build conversation points. Choosing one of the top podcasts can help your senior feel connected to the outside world. If music’s their thing, stream a playlist in their favorite genre.
4. Try Some Low-Impact Exercises
A little low-impact exercise never hurt anyone, and it’s especially good for seniors who may be stuck inside. Chair exercises are easy to learn and only require, well, a chair. Sometimes just sitting and standing can be a helpful way to improve balance and mobility.
Tai chi is another great way to build muscle and improve balance. One study suggests that tai chi may minimize the chances of the senior in your life falling by about 50%.
You may be able to find organized classes, too, that are designed to accommodate seniors with limited mobility. Make sure to talk to the senior in your life to make sure that they are able to handle the activity.
5. Start a Book Club Together
Consider checking out the latest New York Times bestsellers or Oprah’s picks and start a book club with your senior. Maybe even invite another friend or two to join in!
If your senior struggles with impaired vision, audiobooks are a great substitution and easy to find on sites like Audible – or at your local library.
6. Watch a Movie Together
Another one of the best elderly activities is watching a movie. If you can’t make it to the theatre, you can still watch a movie together from the comfort of your (or their) home.
A movie can be a great way to relive a certain era or learn something new. Classics like Casablanca are always solid choices, but newer movies like Julie and Julia can also make for a great afternoon viewing.
7. Get Cooking
Cooking can be a wonderful shared experience. Whip together some eggs and toast or a fresh salad. If your senior lives alone, cooking together is the perfect way to learn new and simple recipes that they can make independently.
You can use this opportunity to help a senior build a meal plan or make meals ahead to freeze. You can also organize their fridge to keep everything within easy reach. Or, of course, you can just bake cookies and enjoy the process!
8. Crafty Indoor Activities for Seniors
Knitting, sewing, card-making, and painting are fun activities to fill an afternoon together. For most seniors, knitting is the preferred craft over crochet because it involves two needles rather than one.
If handling needles or other intricate materials is too challenging, some simple abstract paintings are a good alternative. Watercolor kits are inexpensive, and the vivid colors will add some cheer regardless of the subject matter.
9. Settle In For Some Stories
Seniors bring a level of wisdom that benefits anyone from a younger generation – take advantage of it! Many times seniors are eager to share stories from their childhood or pass on life lessons.
If you’re with a family member, write their stories or record them. These are irreplaceable memories that you can pass on to your children.
You can go one step further and investigate genealogy together. Several companies (eg. ancestry.com) can help you connect the dots on your family tree.
10. Build an Indoor Garden
Basil, mint, and tomatoes are easy (and edible) things to grow indoors. Even in the smallest spaces, as long as there is a patch of light and a little bit of space, there is an opportunity to grow beautiful herbs.
You can enjoy helping your senior plant the seeds, and maybe even decorate a cute pot together. Having some veggies and herbs at home opens the door to learning new recipes, too!
Choosing the Right Living Space for Your Loved One
The elderly person in your life deserves to spend their senior years in a community with opportunities to stay healthy and engaged. Whether cooking or crafting, there are plenty of indoor activities for seniors if you set aside the time for them. Contact us to learn more about the senior activities we offer our residents!