With older people being told to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has recently become much more difficult for our more senior relatives and loved ones to continue living their day to day life.
Despite being thought of as the “keep calm and carry on” generation, elderly people living at home are at the greatest risk of becoming socially isolated and/or experiencing a decrease in physical and mental ability.
To help older friends and relatives stay motivated, we’ve created a list of enjoyable activities for seniors that can be enjoyed whether they’re living alone or with family.
Discovering new board games
We all have our favourite board games, but maybe now is the time to invest in a few modern games that are great fun and will help your senior relatives stay mentally stimulated. With specialist board game retailers such as Zatu able to deliver to your door, there has never been a better time to flex those board game muscles!
We would recommend games such as:
- Dobble (2+ players) – an update on the classic card game “snap” that requires quick thinking and is often trickier than it first appears.
- Bananagrams (2+ players) – for Scrabble enthusiasts, this word making game will be a welcome addition to any collection. Bananagrams has been described as “speed Scrabble” and requires very quick thinking as you rearrange words to help you place all of the tiles.
- Boggle (1+ players) – Although most people think of Boggle as being a two-player game, it can just as easily be played by a single player. Set your senior loved ones the challenge of finding a certain number of words before the timer runs out and then encourage them to increase their target slightly each day.
Joining an exercise class
When stuck at home, joining an exercise class probably seems like an impossible task. However, the nation’s favourite PE teacher, Joe Wicks, has filmed a series of exercise videos specifically for seniors living at home, no matter how mobile they are.
Daily exercise is a fantastic way to improve both physical and mental health, and also provides a great excuse for sitting down and reading a book afterwards!
If your elderly relatives are already fairly mobile, why not encourage them to try Joe Wicks’ 10 Minute Full Body Seniors Workout every day? Alternatively, if they prefer chair-based exercises, we highly recommend trying out his 10 Minute Chair-Based Workout everyday instead.
Finally, if you’re pretty sure that your senior relatives can still give youngsters a run for their money, why not go all out and encourage them to join Joe’s daily, live “PE With Joe” session? That way, they can still feel like they’re taking part in group activities.
Getting them out in the garden
If your older loved ones are more mobile and are lucky enough to have a garden, encouraging them to get outdoors in the fresh air is a great activity to spend time on, especially as the weather starts to improve.
Just getting out in the sunshine allows the body to produce more Vitamin D, which not only allows for the absorption of calcium more effectively (which is great for bone density), but it’s also thought to help reduce cholesterol (which is great for the heart). Fresh air has been shown to help reduce blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.
If they’re not keen on just sitting around, why not motivate them to test hand eye coordination and treat themselves to a few traditional lawn games, such as quoits, boules, lawn darts or even croquet?
Embracing arts and crafts
No matter whether they’re a complete novice or a seasoned pro, we’re betting that there is a particular activity that your elderly relatives have always wanted to try or improve upon. With so many resources available online, you can easily help them find something artistically stimulating, no matter what level of experience they have.
You can even order arts and crafts materials, tools and guides online to be delivered straight to their door, though it’s worth remembering that delivery times may be longer than usual.
We’ve scoured the internet (and the opinions of a few of our team and residents) and can highly recommend the following online resources:
- Lumixen Art – this YouTube channel includes easy to follow projects using acrylic paints and fairly basic tools. A great resource for those wanting to start producing art almost immediately.
- RapidFireArt – this YouTube channel offers practical tips to improve drawing skills. Whether a beginner or an old hand, there is something to help everyone improve.
- FlyingFlowers – this website offers practical advice on creating a beautiful flower arrangement to add a pop of colour to any room.
Trying out new recipes
If your older relatives are a dab hand in the kitchen and fancy a bit of a challenge (with the added benefit of being able to enjoy new flavours from around the world), a number of well-known restaurants are now offering guides detailing how to cook home versions of their most famous dishes.
- Wok from home – if you like (or have always wanted to try) Japanese food, this is a really great place to start. Wagamama are adding a well-known recipe to their YouTube channel every week, so that people can follow along at home.
- Tasty – this article includes links to 25 well-known fast food recipes that you can easily recreate in your own kitchen (and make a little healthier at the same time).
- BBC Good Food – packed full of hundreds of recipes, you should be able to find anything you want to cook. We’ve opted for the curry recipes, because we believe there is no better treat on a Friday evening than a night in with a curry!
We hope that our list of activity ideas has given you at least one idea of something that you could encourage your older family members or friends to do during their time at home. However, there are a wide range of activities out there that are just waiting to be discovered, whether you find them in a magazine, book or on the internet.
Finally, for those finding day to day life in lockdown more difficult than expected, making the move to a care home might be a consideration. Please feel free to contact your nearest Hallmark care home to discuss options. We offer a range of activities at all our care homes, so your loved ones won’t need to leave any of their newfound hobbies behind.