23 Activities for the Elderly
As we get older it can often be difficult to do the activities we once enjoyed.
Whether due to illness or immobility, this can impact on our quality of life.
Luckily there are many other alternative options to remain engaged in daily life.
Whether you’re someone affected by health issues or care for someone who is, the following list should provide ideas for individual and group activities for the elderly.
1. Drawing and painting
Unleashing your inner da Vinci is a great way to express yourself and can be performed solo or in a group context. Art is a mentally stimulating pursuit, which can result in creative gifts for your friends and family.
2. Sewing and knitting
Sewing and knitting remain extremely popular activities, both for their meditative qualities and also hand and finger dexterity.
Scrapbooking is the perfect way to document a rich life, arranging personal souvenirs, memorabilia and family history in a book format.
4. Making cards
Everyone loves receiving post. Making your own cards to send takes this a step further and allows you to put your own mark on a special gift.
With the affordability of smartphones and digital cameras, photography has never been easier to learn. If you have a good eye, you can take creative snaps of landscapes, animals and people to record your memories and share with friends and family.
Making handcrafted objects from wood is an intrinsically satisfying endeavour, both creative and function in its final product. Men in Sheds runs a very popular woodworking club that’s a good option to socialise and practice woodworking skills.
7. Flower arranging
Nothing brightens up a room and lifts spirits like a colourful bunch of flowers. Whats more, this is an activity that can easily be enjoyed while sitting, which is perfect for those less mobile.
8. Playing games
Many of us are motivated by good-natured competition. Playing games is a wonderful group activity, which can be intellectually stimulating while not physically demanding.
Puzzles are great for mental stimulation and come in many forms, from crosswords and sudoku to jigsaws. You can either play the old-fashioned way or utilise technology via phone apps to track and share your progress.
Many older adults may easily recall the steps to their favourite dances, and although perhaps not as light on their feet as in their younger years, a slow waltz is a great way of getting up and moving.
Similar to dancing, we all remember songs that were popular when we were young. Music has a magical ability to transport us back to specific times and places, proving a wonderful memory tool and dose of nostalgia. Why not plan a group sing along to your favourite hits?
12. Group reading
Reading is a wonderful cognitive activity. Perhaps you could create a book club to discuss your favourite novels or if you’re feeling confident, read your own poetry and prose. Another option might be to write memoirs that you can share with your friends.
13. Film night
Much like Christmas films that never seem to get old, a film club is always a crowd pleaser. Either enjoy some classics or go for a more contemporary selection. You can even rate and discuss the films afterwards if to highlight particular motifs or themes.
Cooking is a tactile activity which is perfect for stimulating the senses. Furthermore, you get a tasty treat at the end! Some elderly individuals may struggle with aspects of food preparation such as opening jars or chopping, but whether you’re creating a delicious salad or baking a sweet dessert, with assistance, there are plenty of new recipes to discover.
15. Folding clothes
For older adults who’ve worked hard their entire lives, adjusting to mobility problems can be challenging. Folding laundry is a purposeful activity that can be done while sitting.
16. Exercise classes
Movement remains the best way to maintain mobility, which is essential as we age. Even if you struggle to get up from the chair, gentle exercises can help move your joints, strengthen your muscles and improve your function.
17. Garden and floor games
Many older adults can’t run around like they used to, meaning that games played from a seated position can be far more inclusive. Consider skittles, bouille or horseshoe.
18. Educational lectures and talks
Even as we age and gain life experience, our curiosity doesn’t diminish. Attending lectures can be a great way of uncovering new interests and meeting like-minded enthusiasts.
19. Nature trips
Studies show that humans respond positively to nature, lowering stress and increasing feelings of well-being. A walk in the countryside with a friend is perfect, but if you live in the city or suffer mobility problems, even sitting in the park can prove restorative.
20. Nursery visits
Continuing with the nature theme, why not visit a nursery? In addition to browsing colourful plants, you can follow up with a coffee and cake!
21. Hand massages and nail service
If you work in a care home, hand massages can be a great way of relaxing residents. Some service users might also enjoy the services of a nail technician.
Our muscles and joints tend to tighten up as we age, often in response to arthritis and pain. Gentle yoga can be a wonderful way to maintain mobility and help with activities of daily living.
There are numerous mental and physical benefits of meditation, from stress reduction, mood elevation and even improved heart health. Furthermore, it can help to put thoughts and emotions in context, an important skill for those facing health issues.
Even though you may no longer be able to perform activities you used to enjoy, as you can see from the list above, there are plenty of engaging options to try alone or with friends.
Alternatively, if you’re a care worker helping clients in a care setting, this article may provide some useful ideas for functional and interactive pursuits.