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Home Activities for an Elderly Loved One

Home Activities for an Elderly Loved One

Home Activities for an Elderly Loved One

Elderly loved ones have always needed and deserved special attention, but in a world reshaped by the Coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to go the extra mile with them. The claustrophobia and loneliness of social distancing affect everyone, but that’s especially true for elders, essentially all of whom are high-risk and trapped at home. With a little thoughtfulness and creativity, you can see, do, and explore far more from home than you ever dreamed.

The first key to supporting elders’ mental health at home is stepping up variety and frequency of activities they already enjoy. Have a WWII documentary fan in the house? Lean into that passion. Buy model ships and planes to assemble and decorate as a team. Check out virtual tours of WWII vessels and museums. Simple activities can be the most impactful, like story time. Get family, friends, grandkids, etc. on a video call, have everyone prepare with snacks and drinks, then let Grandpa share some war stories.

Classic pastimes for the elderly, like gardening and regular exercise are more important than ever. Keep to your regular schedule as much as possible by watering potted plants in the morning, doing chair aerobics after lunch, etc. Fun activities will fit around this framework. Don’t toss normally-scheduled activities in the home to try to create an illusion of vacation-like freedom. That will exhaust everyone quickly, and routines are also a source of comfort all on their own.

Long periods of social isolation are great learning opportunities, and if your loved one has struggled a little with technology before, this may be the best time for reintroductions. Take virtual tours with them, keep tabs of animal live-cams open, and show your loved one how to navigate between open tabs and windows so they can keep a zoo in their living room. You may also help a keen Sudoku fan or card game champ to play their favorite games on the computer. No matter how skilled they may be, they’ll never run out of Sudoku puzzles online.

No matter how frustrating or sad the outside world may feel, a bit of color can make it feel much better. Crafting and art offer structured socialization ideal for couples and groups. Work with your grandmother to create a bouquet of felt flowers or repurpose recyclables or knick-knacks into wind chimes. If you’re in contact with other caregivers or elderly friends of your loved one, collaborate and share some love with handicrafts. Everyone could knit a blanket for someone else in the group over the winter, or a club can paint and trade sun catchers.

There are activities, virtual tours, games, and art projects suitable for any senior citizen, regardless of health restrictions and limitations. Maybe they can’t go out to visit the world, but that doesn’t mean adventure can’t find them, or that their own corner isn’t bright and stimulating on its own. No matter what, you can all have fun together.

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