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Reduce Anxiety and Build Cognitive Functioning with These Fun Activities for Seniors

Activities for Seniors

These activities for seniors help improve wellbeing in a variety of ways.

During the pandemic, as we’ve all had to find more at-home activities to enjoy, the benefits of crafts have become more apparent. In fact, activities for seniors such as crafting have been shown to improve social, cognitive, and motor skills, while reducing anxiety and stress. Not only that, but they bring enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment, meaning, and purpose, especially when created to share with someone else.

Our experts in home health in Phoenix and the surrounding areas have compiled some great activities to try:

Cookies in a Jar

Who doesn’t love homemade cookies? Get the whole family together and enjoy putting together these mason jar cookie mixes to share with friends and neighbors. Gather together a 1-quart canning jar for each mix, and then layer in the following ingredients, in the order they’re listed:

  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking soda, and ½ tsp. salt

Then create a label for each jar with the following instructions for the recipient to use in baking the cookies:

  • Empty cookie mix into large mixing bowl, blending together with your hands.
  • Soften 1 ½ sticks of butter and add to the bowl, along with 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls, and placed 2” apart on sprayed baking sheet.
  • Bake for 11 – 13 minutes at 350 degrees and enjoy!

Memory Quilts

For senior sewers, there’s nothing more precious than a memory quilt, created from pieces of clothing that tell a story. For instance, a quilt could be prepared for someone who has always loved sports, made with pieces of jerseys from their favorite teams, or from teams they played on themselves over the years. Wash, iron, cut, and stitch the fabric together according to the more detailed instructions provided here.

Tin Can Lanterns

These are a lovely way to repurpose all of those used cans that were destined for the recycle bin, and make fun and unique gifts for kids and adults alike. Here’s all you need to get started:

  • Empty cans of any size (coffee cans work great)
  • A permanent marker
  • Hammer and nails of varying sizes, OR, a cordless drill
  • Wire for hanging, and wire-cutter pliers
  • Tea light candles (battery-operated candles if desired for safety)

Then follow these instructions:

  • Determine the design you want to place on the can, and draw it in dots with the permanent marker.
  • Hammer nails one by one over the marker dots, or, use the cordless drill
  • Be sure to include two holes on opposite sides at the top of the can, and then hook a piece of wire through each hole to make a hanger.
  • Add a tea light candle to the finished can, turn off the lights, and enjoy!

At Nightingale Homecare, the experts in home health in Phoenix and the surrounding area, we love helping the older adults enjoy life to the fullest, and are always here with more creative ideas and activities for seniors. We’d be happy to spend an afternoon creating crafts such as these with a senior you love! Just give us a call any time at (602) 504-1555 to get started!

Senior Education: It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New!

Senior Education

Senior education and lifelong learning provide a wealth of benefits.

Remember how that first day back to school felt? Wearing a new outfit, cracking open a new textbook to Page 1, writing that first word with a perfectly sharpened new pencil? The anticipation of learning something new can – and should – resound with us for a lifetime. Maintaining a lifestyle of learning throughout aging can impact older adults in a variety of significant ways, making it worth exploring with the seniors in your life.

For one thing, finding meaning and purpose in life is crucial for us all, and especially vital in our senior years, when we need to reshape our identity after years of a fulfilling career, taking care of family, and engaging in hobbies and activities that may no longer be appealing or possible due to health conditions or the general effects of aging. It can be a helpful exercise to sit down with your senior loved ones and ask something like, “If there was one thing you wish you knew more about, what would it be?” or, “If you could have studied something different in school, what would you have wanted to learn?” With that information in hand, you can explore opportunities to make that dream a reality!

We also know that lifelong learning raises a senior’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth, while creating new opportunities for socialization – something that is imperative to overall health and wellbeing, and often a problem for older adults who feel isolated and lonely. Whether learning is in-person or online, seniors gain a sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people with a similar interest, fostering the chance for friendships to blossom.

And while seniors may at first balk at the idea of becoming a student once again, believing that all of the other students will be so much younger, research shows that 40% of students in a study of ten courses were actually over the age of 56.

Once a senior is on board with the idea of pursuing educational opportunities, a simple Google search will reveal classes that are available either in your local area or online. Then, let our team of aging care specialists help!

At Nightingale Homecare, the leaders in senior home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, we’re always available to help older adults set and achieve new goals in a variety of ways:

  • Transportation to in-person classes
  • Help with setting up and accessing online learning programs
  • Companionship to offer motivation and encouragement
  • Even taking care of housework and meals so seniors can study!

Contact our senior care team at (602) 504-1555 to get started on a brighter future for a senior you love!

Activities for Seniors to Pass the Time at Home

Activities for Seniors

Try these activities for seniors this summer.

Oh, the long, hot days of summer! In Arizona, it 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.

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:

  • 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!

Indoor activities:

  • 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, 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 experts in home care in Glendale, AZ and the surrounding area can help a senior you love.