11 Manageable Activities to Keep Seniors at Home Connected
When familiar activities become difficult for seniors at home, it’s not the time to give up. It’s simply a time to recalibrate.
After all, the activities themselves are not the only goal for participants of any age. The socialization that results from working together on a common project— organizing a photo album, playing a hand of cards or cooking a meal together—delivers just as much if not more of the joy involved in the experience. This is true whether you’re a senior, baby boomer or two little kids in the bathtub.
The best senior companions work with the client to determine the most engaging pursuits. Consider putting each one of the following socially focused activities below on an index card in a file or small recipe box you can constantly add to. When you’re out of ideas, you always have the file to thumb through.
- Gather information on local high schools, churches, libraries and community centers. These venues usually have lots of local activities such as plays, football games, and music events at a low cost or for free. Add your name to their newsletter lists. Stress to the reluctant senior that it’s important to support the local youth and performances. Suggest bringing a friend or neighbor.
- Record the senior’s memories of historical events, crazy trends or even lifestyle posts (What was your family’s first car? What happened to it? What kinds of dances did you go to? Ask questions about where they lived, who their best friends were. You can create an amazing keepsake with a simple microphone and headphones plugged into your computer. Free software from Audacity can be downloaded. Headphones with a microphone or a microphone alone start at around $10. Make sure to start out asking the senior what event THEY want to talk about. Play this for more family members later with the senior present.
- Playing cards and games. Have a drawer with cards and games near a table in a frequented area. Entice the senior by betting with pennies to “make the game interesting.” Keep a radio nearby or play a CD to set some tunes to the fun.
- Create a space outside on a patio or balcony where you and the senior can sit to get away from the routine environment, see nature and enjoy the sunshine. Have the senior help you create the space, if possible.
- Ask the senior if they want to help you create a bird garden in the back yard. Ask which kinds of birds he or she would like to attract and get the appropriate feeders and food. Or just pot some plants that you both can care for. Consider getting a book on birds for your locality. You could even connect with the amazing Cornell University Lab of Ornithology or the National Audubon Society which puts on the Great Backyard Bird Count every February.
- Organize and orchestrate a lunch or dinner with friends or neighbors.
- Seniors love to work on their beloved homes. Ask what project needs to be done. Write a list of items to buy at the hardware, craft or paint store. Take senior with you to pick out things if possible. Work on the project together, even if the senior is just overseeing.
- Organize photos and go through photo books together. Take a moment to jot down captions for each photo.
- Create a family cookbook with the senior’s favorite recipes. Make sure to create a notebook or loose leaf binder, even if you do type all recipes up on a computer. Ask which recipe was a favorite and invite family or friends over to share it.
- Explore the library: Have your senior pick out free CDs and movies. Consider a walk nearby afterwards as libraries are often close to city parks.
- Outings: Bring a friend or another senior from the neighborhood. This way they can talk with each other and the burden of entertaining them isn’t all on you
Love 2 Live Senior Caregivers Can Keep Your Loved One Engaged
Minds of all ages crave novelty. Keep yourself or your senior loved one mentally, physically and creatively flexible with new options. Research has shown that frequent, simple interactions with those closest to them improve a senior’s mood (and health) the most. The activities above are just excuses to get together, spur conversation and enjoy each other’s company. Our caregivers find the most meaning in their job when they lift a client’s mood by listening, interacting, and engaging with them. If you have any questions about how hiring senior companions works, do not hesitate to call us at 619-291-4663 or send an email here. We will keep you posted on all our great ideas for senior caregiving and activities on our Facebook page as well.