The new year promises a fresh start, some hope, and likely the continuation of quarantine and stay-six-feet-apart signs. By now, it might seem like you’ve done every activity idea in the book – but worry not, we’ve compiled a list of ten unique and safe activity ideas for your senior residents to engage in.
1. Take Out Tuesday
We’ve all heard of Taco Tuesday, but why not try “Take Out Tuesday”? If there’s one thing that everyone loves, it’s food. Choose a local restaurant, curate a limited menu that doesn’t break the budget, and order in!
Bonus Tip: Make the activity a travel experience. Ordering from a French restaurant? Don your cart with red, white and blue and wear your favorite beret. Perhaps you can try your hand at a few French words when you greet your resident. The possibilities here are endless.
Spice up the daily trivia with a classic game of Jeopardy! This site offers millions of ready-made Jeopardy games as well as blank templates to make your own, and all for free. Play it 1 on 1 with your resident, or in a socially distanced group setting using your community channel.
Bonus Tip: Play Jeopardy! on any Amazon Alexa-enabled devices! With the Emmy®-nominated Jeopardy! skill, play the “extra” clue of the six Round 1 categories from the day’s broadcast FOR FREE. Using only their voice, residents can respond just like the contestants on the show!
3. Wine & Bingo
Bingo is a common activity in many communities, and residents may find comfort in the routine during this time. To make it a little more fun, add another loved staple amongst seniors to the mix: wine.
If your residents can’t have alcohol, use alcohol-free wine – brands such as these: Best Reasonably Priced California Wines offer a great variety at a reasonable price for your community. So set bingo up in the hallway, and serve the beverage door-to-door – you can’t go wrong!
4. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Communities including Bryn Celyn Care Home have innovated the popular Hungry Hungry Hippos board game as a real-life activity. All you need are some colored objects (ex. balls, beanies, etc.) and some boxes which you can attach to the end of a broom. Residents will then compete to catch the most colored objects while being pushed in a wheelchair by staff members.
5. Bike Around The World
Maintaining fitness for older adults is not only important to strengthen muscles and stamina, but also to boost mood and mental health. If your community has bicycles or pedal machines, a creative way to put them in use is to simulate a real-life biking adventure indoors. Imagine: wind in their face (provided by fans), the smell of lavender (thanks to essential oils) and a first-person view of waterfalls in Thailand (playing on the resident’s In-Room Channel from YouTube). Your residents will be transported to another country from their room, all while moving their joints!
6. Succulent in a Mug
Photo from Crafty Chica
Several studies have demonstrated that nurturing houseplants are great for sensory therapy amongst the elderly, and can also help to provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction. An easy craft you can organize is a ‘Succulent-In-A-Mug’. Place some pebbles, potting soil and your succulent in a spare mug, and then get out your craft supplies so that your residents can personalize their mugs – and voila, you have a succulent-in-a-mug!
7. Laughter Therapy
Laughter is known for its physiological health benefits that release endorphins to the brain, making residents feel less anxious and more relaxed. This can be put into practice in ways as simple as scheduling time to make seniors laugh through jokes, funny YouTube videos and live skits performed by employees. Another way is to combine laughter therapy with yoga – and you pretty much got the recipe for a positive attitude! YouTube channels such as LaughActive have guided videos for laughter therapy that can be streamed on your community channel.
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Activity Director's Guide to InRoom Activities
8. Wheel of Treats
Photo from Somerset Assisted Living
Who doesn’t love the anticipation of spinning a wheel? Make a wheel of treats ranging from “Riddle of the Day” to a candy or a nice room décor. This can be an ongoing activity that the resident can look forward to, and whatever they get will be sure to brighten up their day!
Bonus Tip: If you want to stream a wheel digitally, try Random Picker Wheel. It’s free, and you can easily share it remotely.
9. Have a Photoshoot
Photo from Euro-American Homecare
Plan a photoshoot with a lively theme, such as a Roaring 20s photoshoot or characters from their favorite movie! Layout props and costumes, and have the residents do fun poses while you take photos. Get their family members involved by posting the pictures on your community’s Facebook or by sharing them on your web channel to have them vote for their favorite photo!
10. I Spy Coloring Sheets
I Spy has been shown to help with cognitive health and memory in elderly residents. Take out those coloring crayons and pencils from the cabinets and print out these sheets for your residents to tackle. It’s a quick and easy activity that can be used again and again! You can access I Spy sheets here and here.
Coming up with engaging and different activity ideas for your residents can be difficult, so we hope that this list made it a tiny bit easier! To make sure that your seniors are participating in these activities, be sure to check out our activity tracker. If you need more activity ideas to fuel your brain, sign up for our Newsletter here.