What are the Best Activities for Seniors? The “best” is in the eye of the beholder, but with a little help from dailycaring.com, here is a list of options for seniors to consider for fun activities to engage in on a daily basis:
Activities for Elderly that Build the Body
In all senior living communities, we find full on fitness centers, or at the very least, the space available to hold a fitness class of some short. For seniors who are less mobile, communities offer chair exercise and chair yoga as alternatives. I have seen balance machines in communities with detect for the senior in which direction they would fall if in fact, they were to lose balance. This tool helps the senior understand which direction their body would tend to fall, and then therapy team members can teach the resident “how” to fall properly. Nobody expects to fall, but often this is what we see happen to seniors all too often. If we are able to educate them on the safest way to break your fall, they may not experience fractures, which we certainly all want to avoid. Exercise is a great activity for the more mobile senior too, and can add Tai Chi as an option, a walking club, dance classes, and trainer supervised resistance training. After a hard workout, we are also seeing more massage stations brought into senior living communities to relax the senior, loosen tight muscle groups, and make the senior aware of any potential health concerns noticed.
This is so important, even in the cooler weather. We all need sunshine and fresh air on a daily basis. If a senior cannot get outside, open a window. Sit inside, but in the sunshine and close your eyes letting the sun hit your face. This is an enjoyable activity for anyone, especially seniors who are often more prone to being indoors. I was visiting a senior living community a week ago, and when I left, it was about 30 degrees outside. It was dark as well, as it’s only the beginning of March in Chicago. As I opened the door and walked out onto the front porch of the community, I see a son enjoying some time with his mom and both were all bundled up! I was so happy to see that the son realizes how important being outside is, and how important fresh air is to make us all feel alive! March in Chicago, 30 degrees, bundled all up… Do what you have to do to get your senior outside everyday!
Activities for Seniors that Promote Imagination and Creativity
Arts and crafts
As in hobbies, our lives are so busy, we often don’t get to be as creative as we would like to be in terms of drawing, painting, sculpting, putting together scrapbooks, and the newest craze being coloring books! Working on our “masterpieces” causes one to relax, reduces stress, and anxiety. We often lose ourselves in our artistic works not realizing how much time has gone by! Senior living communities consider creativity and art to be a very unique and celebrated activity for seniors as you see some of the residents’ works displayed around the community for all to enjoy.
Often our lives are so busy, we don’t get to partake in the hobbies that we love as much as we would like to. Being a senior is a great time to pick up the hobby that they used to like to do, but never had the time for. Now is the time! Whether it’s knitting, woodworking, gardening, playing an instrument, or baking, senior living communities support their residents by finding ways to bring these hobbies back to the seniors who are willing to try them again. More and more communities that are new are actually waiting for their seniors to move in to determine an activity calendar because they want resident input. If the residents want to garden, raised garden beds will be built, supplies purchased, and plots divvied up! If a resident always played a particular instrument, but no longer has it, there is an opportunity to rent one and allow the resident to try it again. Hobbies are a great activity for seniors to re-familiarize themselves with, and share their hobby with their new friends.
Activities for Elderly that Sharpen the Mind and Helps to Relax
This is a great way to exercise the brain, relax, and let yourself go into another world through a great story. Seniors can choose a great book, but also magazines, E-reading, and audio books are a great option as well. Reading an old favorite can help the senior recall the events of the story which is a great tool to exercise the brain by recalling the plot, sequence to the story, and conclusion. In senior living communities as a favorite activity for the seniors, book clubs are a popular and well attended activity slot for the day. This gives the seniors the ability to participate in discussion, relate the storyline to their own lives, and is an important tool in overall socialization for the seniors. If the senior was never a big reader, they may not be aware of audiobooks as another form of storytelling, as well as the E-reading phenomenon now, so we need to be sure to introduce those mediums as a way for seniors to engage in this activity.
Game rooms are a big part of senior living communities now. Rooms are often dedicated to Scrabble playing, card playing of all kind, Bingo, word searches and puzzles. This allows residents to form groups who would like to play, or simply going in the game room on their own and putting in a few pieces to the puzzle, is a great activity for seniors.
TV, Movies, and Music
We don’t want residents watching too much TV as there are so many other more enriching activities to take part in. However, with shows from the Food Network, for example, the recipes can be followed by the baking club at the community, and a delicious treat can be created by the residents! Demonstration kitchens are often seen in senior living communities now as a way to bring a favorite recipe back for all to try. Movie nights are a regular fun activity for seniors as they reminisce about their favorite actors, favorite lines in a movie, and favorite love stories or adventures. Finally, music is imperative as a favorite activity to be brought to seniors on a daily basis. We have seen studies on how playing music to non-verbal Alzheimer’s patients can trigger language, conversation, and old memories to surface. Entertainment is an escape, just like a favorite book.
Best Social Activities for Seniors
In working with seniors for 23 years this year, I have learned two things that the senior loves as an activity: anything to do with children and pets! They love both, and when children or animals walk through the doors of a community, faces brighten up! A lot of communities offer pet therapy as a favorite activity, as well as intergenerational activities such as seniors helping young children to read and write. It works both ways here, as the child is just as happy to be with the senior, as the senior is to be with the child.
Many seniors who live in senior living communities choose to volunteer at their nearest hospital or church. Volunteering gives seniors a sense of purpose, and this activity is as beneficial for the senior, as it is for the receiver. Knitting for the newborn preemies at the nearby hospital, stuffing envelopes for a not-for-profit organization, assembling care packages for the troops are just some ways a senior can help to give back. It’s a purposeful activity for the senior, that has a ripple effect in the good that it does for so many.
Many senior living communities are stepping up their activity programs by asking residents what they have always wanted to do, but never could. So, when something like “skydiving” is brought up, don’t be surprised if the community works to clear the resident for the potential of fulfilling a lifelong dream! Activities are important for all of us on a daily basis, but for seniors, it’s the lifestyle that they so deserve. If you are looking for the right senior living solution for your loved one, contact us at (773) 938-3772 and we’ll be happy to help you