While routine and consistency can be very helpful for older adults, doing the same few activities over and over can get boring. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when your senior loved one spends most of their time at home, so you should try to introduce new indoor activities for seniors on occasion.
Participating in a variety of activities is a good way for seniors to stay healthy and avoid boredom. Here are 10 fun indoor activities for seniors:
Puzzles are one of the best indoor activities for seniors to challenge themselves cognitively. Research suggests that jigsaw puzzles help older adults maintain their cognitive health and psychological well-being as they age. A jigsaw puzzle is often a long-term project that provides a strong sense of accomplishment when it’s completed. It also provides an opportunity to collaborate with friends or family.
If your senior loved one doesn’t like jigsaw puzzles, they could try written puzzles like crosswords or sudoku. These activities also help older adults maintain their cognitive skills, and completing a tough puzzle can be very rewarding.
There are a number of mobile apps and online resources for all types of puzzles. If your senior relative has a tablet, you can download puzzles so that they can participate in the activity simply by tapping and swiping. This can be much easier than physically completing a puzzle for seniors with arthritis or dexterity problems.
A healthy diet is important at all ages, but older adults often struggle to meet their nutritional needs. As you age, you can experience a decrease in appetite and changes in your sense of smell or taste, so seniors may lose interest in food. Mobility limitations, dexterity problems, and difficulty swallowing can also prevent seniors from getting proper nutrition.
If your senior loved one is facing challenges that severely impact their ability to eat, you should consult their doctor. However, if they’re showing just a slight loss of interest in food, cooking together could be a great way to introduce more variety into their diet.
You can cook simple or advanced meals with your family member depending on your comfort or experience in the kitchen. If your aging loved one is an experienced cook, ask them to teach you how to make their favorite dishes. If cooking is new to both of you, you can use cookbooks or watch cooking shows together to get inspiration. Cooking or baking together is a fun opportunity to bond while establishing healthy eating habits.
3. Indoor Gardening
If you get enough sunlight in your home, indoor gardening may be a relaxing, enriching hobby. Many seniors enjoy growing herbs on their windowsill. Some fruits and vegetables grow well indoors, too, like green beans, peas, strawberries, and peppers.
Growing your own food is a rewarding experience, and it can help seniors maintain or build hand strength.
4. Reminisce With Home Movies
Many seniors find reminiscing to be very enjoyable and meaningful. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to draw up old memories without help. Home movies are powerful reminders of moments your senior loved one may have forgotten. Old photos and scrapbooks can have a similar effect.
Reminiscing is a valuable way to spark conversation and strengthen family bonds. When you look back at home movies or photos, ask your family member what they remember from that day or how watching the footage makes them feel.
5. Genealogy Research
Genealogy research is one of the best indoor activities for seniors who are interested in history. Recording your family tree is a complex but rewarding activity. Your relatives will appreciate having a record of the family history, and your research can lead to interesting discoveries about the past.
This is also a good chance to collaborate with your family on a project. If everyone pools their knowledge and resources, you can end up with a thorough and elaborate record of your family tree.
There are several online tools you can use to build your family tree from home. The National Archives has several free databases dedicated to genealogy research. Sites like MyHeritage.com offer free genealogy searches as well. If you’re interested in learning about your distant family history and ethnicity, you could look into DNA test kit services like AncestryDNA.
6. Learn a Skill
You’re never too old to learn something new, and learning is easier than ever in this day and age. The internet is an excellent resource for tutorials on a wide range of subjects. You and your senior loved one can learn something new together from home. You can even enroll in an online class if you prefer more structured or guided learning experiences.
Here are some of the most enjoyable skills for seniors to learn:
- Musical instrument
- Computer skills
- Foreign language
Board games and card games are classic indoor activities for seniors. A family game night is a fun group activity that encourages friendly competition and can challenge your senior loved one cognitively.
There are so many different styles of games that everyone can find at least one that they like. You and your senior relative can play a two-person game like checkers, or you can get the whole family involved with group games like Scrabble or Monopoly.
Home workouts are a productive and enjoyable way for seniors to stay healthy. Chair exercises tend to be safe and low-impact, so they’re an ideal option for older adults. Yoga is another gentle exercise option that provides a number of benefits. You can find hundreds of exercise videos on YouTube that were created specifically for seniors.
However, before you start a new exercise regimen, you should speak to your doctor. Make sure the program is a safe and healthy option for you, especially if you have existing health issues.
9. Video Chat
If your senior relative has a phone, tablet, or computer with a webcam and microphone, they can use it to video chat with friends or family members. Platforms like Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts are fairly easy to operate.
Video chatting is a great way to stay connected with loved ones who live far away. Unfortunately, many adults become isolated as they age, and lack of communication with others can have emotional and cognitive consequences. Video chatting makes interaction with friends and family much more accessible, which can have a direct impact on quality of life.
10. Volunteer or Give Back
You don’t have to go outside or into the community to make a difference. You can help your senior loved one find ways to use their hobbies or skills to brighten someone’s day. For example, you and your family member could knit items for a shelter or make baked goods to contribute to a bake sale. Not only does this encourage your relative to engage in activities they enjoy, but they also can make an impact on their community.
It’s important for seniors to stay busy to maintain their physical, cognitive, and psychological health. There are plenty of indoor activities for seniors that are fun, rewarding, and enriching, especially when done alongside friends or family members. If you have an aging family member, try out some new activities with them to create more excitement and variety in their day.
Sometimes, mental health challenges can prevent seniors from engaging in fun activities. If your aging relative seems unmotivated, anxious, or sad for an extended amount of time, they may benefit from counseling. Blue Moon Senior Counseling provides in-home and Tele-therapy services for seniors so they can work on their mental and cognitive health from the comfort of home. Contact us today to learn more.