Oh, the long, hot days of summer! In Arizona, summer starts early and goes late. Often, our elders remain indoors during most of the summer months, and more recently, with COVID-19 lurking, seniors with underlying conditions are stuck inside even more so than usual, making it seem harder to plan engaging activities for seniors.
It may be a nice time to discover a new activity, or reacquaint with an old hobby! Here are some ideas to either do on your own, with a friend or neighbor, or to encourage an elder loved one to consider to allay boredom and the same old thing every day.
When you add an activity to your day or to the day of a senior you love, you might consider this approach:
- Focus on enjoyment, not achievement.
- Determine what time of day is best for the activity.
- Be flexible and patient with yourself if it’s something new.
- Minimize distractions.
If you choose an outside activity, make sure it’s early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid extreme temperatures. Outdoor activities can be relaxing and fulfilling. It’s always great to get a change of scenery and enjoy fresh air.
The following are ideas for outside activities for seniors:
- Plant some flowers or herbs in small pots.
- Pull old plants and weeds from the garden.
- Take a walk and identify the flowers and plants with a book on plants along the way.
- Check on your garden daily for new sprouts or ripe vegetables. This can also lead to other activities such as picking and preparing what has grown in the garden.
- Put a birdbath and feeders out in the yard, so you can watch the birds out the window.
- Have your meal or snack outside.
- Read a book or poetry in the shade outside.
- Play a game of horseshoes.
- Sit on the porch noticing all the activity, colors, and scents. Wave to the neighbors!
- Sew something for a friend.
- Take up embroidery or knitting.
- Call an old friend who would be surprised to hear from you, and catch up.
- Learn how to Zoom or FaceTime, and suggest a family “gathering.”
- Read a new book indoors in a quiet spot, with a nice cup of tea.
- Find a poem or prayer you’d like to memorize and spend several minutes a day reciting it.
- Pull out old music and listen and reminisce.
- Find a new radio program or podcast you’d like to listen to.
- Pull out your old photo albums and just reminisce, or reorganize them.
- Gather together some paints or colored pencils and create some artwork.
- Write a letter to an old friend or family member.
- Make a memory book or a personal scrapbook.
- Organize drawers or cupboards.
- Find a new recipe and make something special.
- Make cookies.
- Get a handbook for dice games and play.
- Pull out a once-loved board or card game and play…or learn a new one!
- Watch an old musical.
- Make apple pie or cobbler from scratch. See who can peel the longest unbroken peel!
- Soak and massage your feet, or a friend’s. Paint your toenails if desired!
- Plan a happy hour for yourself with music and salsa and chips and margarita mix.
- Put up maps of the state, country and world and mark all the places you’ve been and where you’d like to go.
- Write down your family timeline and history….births, deaths, moves, marriages,
- Write down your favorite childhood memories, your memories as an adult and things you have learned about life.
- Polish and shine your shoes.
- Make birthday card collages for friends from old magazines and photos.
- Put on some favorite, irresistible music and MOVE! (You don’t have to call it dancing!)
- Sing favorite hymns and carols.
- Blow up an inflatable punch ball and use it as indoor balloon volleyball.
- Learn simple exercises you can do in a chair.
- Experiment with aromatherapy and essential oils. Try new ones and notice what they do to your mood. Remember, don’t apply them directly to your skin. Always use in lotions or diluted in infusers, and don’t use for extended periods. Here are some ideas on essential oils to influence mood.
- Invigorating: Peppermint, rosemary, lemon
- Relaxing: Chamomile, marjoram, ylang-ylang
- Sedating: Lavender, juniper, sandalwood
- Mentally clarifying: Clary sage, fennel, basil
- Depression-lifting: Grapefruit, rose
- Immunity-strengthening: Bergamot, tea tree, cajuput
- Anxiety-lifting: Orange, jasmine, frankincense
For more recommendations of fun activities for seniors, or if you need a live in caregiver in Phoenix, AZ or the nearby areas, call on the aging care pros at Nightingale Homecare! We’d love to provide the friendly companionship for older adults, along with plenty of creative and engaging ideas that make each day the best it can be. Call us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about how our home care experts can help a senior you love.