As some people say, staying physically and mentally active keeps you young. Studies back up this claim as they’ve found that physical activity and mental stimulation positively affect older adults by reducing morbidity and mortality, postponing disability and prolonging independent living.
We say this not to suggest that we should encourage our elderly family members to train for a marathon or Ironman competition (unless they want to). However, there are many ways to support the physical and mental well-being of your elderly family members, based on their abilities and passions, at home.
Why it’s important
Seniors often feel increased levels of isolation when home and bored. They may miss the activities they used to do in “the good ‘ol days” when they were young. Sometimes we need to reintroduce them to games and activities they can do at home to create a routine with social, physical, emotional, and cognitive stimulation.
Retirement and aging can be quite a change for many, especially if they’ve spent most of their adult lives in routines with their kids, at work, and in their active social lives. Even those with large families and grandchildren nearby struggle as they have their own lives and may not be able to visit as often.
This is why we suggest helping your elderly family members find new hobbies and activities they can do independently (or with neighbours) at home.
Here are a few suggestions for fun activities seniors can do at home to stay happy and healthy.
Does your loved one enjoy gardening? If they have a yard at home, help them set up a garden of fruits/vegetables and flowers they can tend to. If kneeling is too much for them, consider getting them some raised garden beds, so they don’t have to kneel as far.
If they don’t have a yard, consider buying them a small plot in a nearby community garden. They could also ask a local community center or association volunteer at a local community center or non-profit.
Watching birds can be a great hobby for someone less mobile. There are many local bird-watching associations they could contact for pointers and guidebooks about which birds are in their area.
Walking is a great, low-effort activity you can do anywhere. Whether they walk around the block or to a nearby park or nature trail, they get physical activity, fresh air, and some natural Vitamin D to boost their mood.
This is a great low-impact activity. Get some tennis or badminton rackets and blow up a balloon or beach ball. They use the beachball like a tennis ball and can toss it back and forth without requiring the fast movements a regular tennis game requires.
Is your loved one crafty?They might love learning a new craft or hobby. Sewing and knitting are good options and they can give them as gifts or donations to local NICU units or community associations to help the less fortunate who need hats, scarves, and blankets. They may want to try card making or making models from kits. There are so many ideas, so follow their lead to see what they enjoy doing.
Don’t forget that quiet time is just as important as active time for a senior. If they love reading, ensure they have a good collection of books they enjoy. You can also get them a library card and go with them once a week to get new books. Going to the library together can be a great activity they look forward to doing with you every week.
If your loved one enjoys baking or cooking, this can be a great activity for them to do at home. Go to the bookstore with them to grab a few new recipe books or help them find some recipes online and print them out. If they enjoy baking a lot, they could bake treats and goodies for local senior’s centres or community associations as a donation (be sure to ask if they accept home-baked foods).
Puzzles have always been a popular activity for all ages. They’re easy to buy new, borrow from a library, or find at a thrift store. Ensure they have a good table they can dedicate to their puzzles.
Games are a wonderful way to keep their fine motor skills active (by holding cards and game pieces) and provide an excellent workout for their cognitive skills. Some games can be done independently, with a partner, or in larger groups.
- Bingo: Look to local community centres or senior’s associations for local BINGO nights. This gets them out of the house, and they can socialize with others.
- Card Games: They can play many card games on their own or with friends. If your elderly loved one is good with technology, you can set them up with a tablet or computer where they can play card (and other) games online against a computer or their friends and family.
- Trivia games: They can play many card-based trivia games solo or with friends. There are also online trivia games you can teach them to play too.
It can get lonely when a senior lives alone or with a partner or roommate. Having someone check in on them regularly can be helpful. With Companionship Care from Hero Home Care, they can get daily or weekly visits. We help them stay mentally and physically engaged in doing the things they love.
- Engaging conversations
- Physical activity
- Community outings
- Keeping up with current events
- Connecting with loved ones
- Fun outings
Learn more about how we can help support your elderly family member’s social, physical, emotional, and cognitive health and well-being. Call us now for a free care consult to get started.