Everyone needs their daily dose of fun. I know I do! It naturally uplifts the mood and eases the tension, physically and mentally. For the younger ones, having fun is as effortless as drinking water. For the not so young, the struggle is real. When one gets to a certain age in their life, there is this tendency to lie low and finally embrace that inner peace that have so much eluded one’s grasp through the years. That’s fine as long as one doesn’t get stuck in the calmness and serenity that the elderly are so prone to succumb to. Being in this state can easily turn a positive experience into a deadly one-depression. It’s a perilous cycle that we need to be aware of since most, if not all of us, will have some kind of contact with an elderly. Be it our own parents or grandparents, or the elderly we sit beside with on the train, we must have the knowledge to equip ourselves when interacting with our aged loved ones. Thankfully, most of Orange County’s senior care providers cook up lots of activities for the elderly, so definitely no shortage of fun in this area!
Below is a list of activities we compiled to get our elderly grooving! These are “elderly safe” activities that will nourish the body, mind, and spirit to attain a healthier lifestyle, whether in a home care or residential care.
- Walking – This may seem unexciting for some, but for the elderly this can be a fun alternative to being cooped up in the home for days on end. Make it more interesting by exchanging stories. Seniors have a treasure trove of stories just waiting to be opened-think war stories, hippie stories, etc! Here’s a great walking program from the Office on Aging website.
- Outings – A simple stroll in the mall, the beach, or the movie house (whatever their interests are) can be a fun activity for the elderly. Identify their interests and plan the outings on a special occasion to make it extra meaningful for them.
- Board Games – I’m sure all home care facilities have the classic board games like Scrabble, Chess, and Monopoly. These classics can bring so much fun and joy to anyone, and a little competition can amp up the fun meter so be ready with prizes for the winners.
- Arts and Crafts – Making something out of nothing is a fun activity for the elderly. There are so many crafting ideas online for the elderly like collages, jewelry making, play dough crafts, paper mache, etc.
- Dancing – In whatever form, is simply a joyous activity. Whether it’s a zumba class, a dance night out, or even a dance competition, it’s a good way to get the body moving. Even in simple occasions, inject some dancing in the party planning for an instant pick-me-upper. Incidentally, Age Well Senior Services has an upcoming Senior’s Prom that will really be an interesting social event for the elderly.
- Wii – Introduce the elderly to the gaming world with an added exercise benefit. Gone are days when game consoles promoted laziness. Choose games that require low-impact opportunities for movement to keep them on the move while enjoying the game.
- Bowling – Bowling is actually a great alternative to energize a senior. It requires minimal movement and is a very low-risk sport that is just perfect for the elderly.
- Gardening – This is more of a hobby for some. Either one likes it or hates it. Since the elderly tend to have more patience, they usually find this hobby calming and enjoyable. To make it less lonely, schedule a gardening time for 3-5 seniors so they can also interact with each other. Alternatively, residential care aides can also opt for vertical gardens or terrariums for their elderly at home.
- Volunteering – A lot of the elderly still want to be part of society and make civic contributions to the community. Introduce ways of how the elderly can help out like teaching to read, and if they have the skill, teach children how to play instruments, etc. OneOC has several volunteering opportunities specifically designed for seniors, check out the list here!
- Tai Chi– The benefits of practicing Tai Chi are endless. Introduce Tai Chi and practice in the park or in the yard. There are so many videos one can view online it’s just a matter of picking the right one.
Like everything else, dealing with the elderly is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of effort, never-ending patience, and endless empathy to even get a minute understanding of the inner workings of a senior’s mind. And to top it all off-it’s never the same for each person. Everyone has their own story, experience, and struggles that made them the person they are today. We always have to remember that their disposition is the result of years and years of walking this earth, living each day with the normalcy of an average Joe or otherwise. For us, we can only give them the NOW, and if we give them something short of mediocrity, then we have simply failed them.