Activities to Keep Elderly Loved Ones Engaged and Happy

As our loved one’s age, it becomes increasingly important to ensure they remain active, engaged, and happy.

 

At our inpatient residential care homes and nursing care facilities, we understand the unique needs of the elderly and provide enriching activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

 

Our approach to elder care encompasses six key areas: Physical, Cognitive, Social, Recreational, Creative, and Emotional and Spiritual activities.

 

By addressing these areas, we aim to create a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle for our residents, ensuring they enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

 

DISCLAIMER: The activities described in this article are intended to provide general ideas for engaging elderly loved ones and promoting their well-being. However, not all activities mentioned are necessarily carried out in Valorum Care Group clinics. The specific activities offered at our clinics are carefully tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of each individual resident. Our dedicated team assesses the capabilities and interests of our residents to ensure that the activities we provide are both suitable and beneficial. For more information about the specific activities available at our clinics, please contact Valorum Care Group directly.

 

Physical Activities

  1. Gentle Exercise Classes

Exercise is crucial for maintaining physical health and mobility. Gentle exercise classes, such as chair yoga, tai chi, and water aerobics, provide low-impact options that enhance flexibility, balance, and strength. These classes are designed to be accessible and enjoyable, encouraging participation regardless of fitness level.

  • Chair Yoga: This form of yoga adapts traditional yoga poses to be performed while seated or using a chair for support. It improves flexibility, joint health, and reduces stress. The movements are slow and controlled, making it ideal for those with limited mobility.
  • Tai Chi: A martial art known for its slow, deliberate movements, Tai Chi enhances balance, coordination, and mental focus. It’s particularly beneficial for preventing falls and improving overall physical stability.
  • Water Aerobics: Exercising in water reduces the strain on joints and muscles while providing resistance that builds strength and endurance. Water aerobics classes often include activities like water walking, gentle stretching, and low-impact cardio exercises.

 

  1. Walking Groups

Walking is a simple yet effective way to stay active. Organised walking groups offer a social aspect, allowing participants to enjoy the outdoors and engage in conversation. Whether it’s a stroll in the park or a nature trail, walking promotes cardiovascular health and mental well-being.

  • Park Walks: Regular walks in local parks provide fresh air and the beauty of nature, which can be very uplifting. These walks are an excellent opportunity for social interaction and gentle physical exercise.
  • Nature Trails: Exploring nature trails offers a bit more adventure and a deeper connection with nature. It’s a great way to observe wildlife, enjoy the changing seasons, and get some light exercise.

 

  1. Gardening

Gardening is a brilliant way to get elderly loved ones out into nature, enjoying the fresh air as well as some physical exercise. You can make the tasks as strenuous or as easy as you like, from raking to planting seeds, watering, or tending to fruit and vegetable patches.

 

It can be a real sensory experience that is fantastic for our mental health, particularly if the garden offers up the aromas of the likes of lavender as that can be incredibly soothing. What’s more, they’ll get their fix of vitamin D too, making it an all-round enjoyable and healthy experience.

 

  1. Dance Classes

Dance classes tailored for elders, such as ballroom, line dancing, or even Zumba Gold, offer a fun way to exercise. Dancing improves coordination, balance, and cardiovascular health while providing an enjoyable social outlet.

  • Ballroom Dancing: This involves partner dancing to various styles like waltz, tango, and foxtrot. It’s great for social interaction and learning new skills.
  • Line Dancing: Involves choreographed dances with a repeated sequence of steps, performed in lines or rows. It’s easy to learn and perfect for group participation.
  • Zumba Gold: A modified version of the popular Zumba fitness programme, designed to be lower impact while still offering a fun, energetic workout.

Cognitive Activities

  1. Art and Craft

One of the more common hobbies people take up in their elderly years is crafting. Of course, that’s quite a broad term, and it can involve the likes of painting, drawing, knitting, jewellery making, pottery or anything else. It’s all about understanding what they are or aren’t capable of with the mobility and skills they currently have.

 

Whatever the craft though, it allows people to express themselves as well as connect with others in a class setting. It’s ideal around wintertime when it is colder and darker outside, while many crafts can be perfect as Christmas presents.

 

It’s another hobby that is really good for our mental health and provides a sense of achievement and accomplishment when you get the finished product.

 

  1. Puzzles and Brain Games

Engaging in puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, and other brain games stimulates cognitive function and keeps the mind sharp. These activities can be enjoyed individually or as part of a group, fostering both mental engagement and social interaction.

  • Crosswords: Solving crossword puzzles enhances vocabulary and memory. It’s a great solo activity or can be enjoyed with friends for collaborative problem-solving.
  • Sudoku: This number puzzle game helps improve logical thinking and concentration. It’s a stimulating way to pass the time.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles: Completing jigsaw puzzles can be relaxing while also challenging the mind. They improve visual-spatial reasoning and short-term memory.

 

  1. Book Clubs

Book clubs provide intellectual stimulation and a sense of community. Reading and discussing books encourage critical thinking and communication skills. Virtual book clubs are also an option, allowing participation from the comfort of home.

  • Discussion Groups: These groups meet regularly to discuss books, share insights, and explore different perspectives. It’s an excellent way to encourage reading and social interaction.

 

  1. Learning a new skill

Following a similar theme, as learning a new skill can certainly involve crafting, but it can also involve many other things. You’re never too old to learn something new, and this can be brilliant for cognitive functioning as well as self-satisfaction.

 

Engaging with something new, whether it be a new language, craft, topic of history, anything will keep elderly loved ones engaged and passionate about stretching their brain. It can increase mental alertness and be a fantastic way of getting people involved with others too. Whether that’s learning in a care home with experts coming in weekly, or even visiting nearby community colleges, learning can really relight a fire in people.

Social Activities

  1. Social Clubs and Groups

Joining social clubs or groups based on common interests, such as bridge clubs, sewing circles, or gardening groups, can help elderly stay connected and build friendships. Regular social interaction is vital for emotional health and can prevent feelings of isolation.

  • Bridge Clubs: Playing bridge or other card games is a fun way to socialise and challenge the mind. It’s a great way to meet new people and enjoy friendly competition.
  • Sewing Circles: These groups gather to sew, quilt, or engage in other needlework. They provide a social outlet and a chance to share skills and techniques.
  • Gardening Groups: Joining a community garden or gardening club offers a social aspect to the therapeutic activity of gardening. It’s a great way to share tips and enjoy nature together.

 

  1. Volunteering

It’s something many retirees get involved in, and for good reason too. Volunteering can be such a fulfilling experience, giving something back when you have the opportunity too. Often when people retire, there’s a real void in their life, but you can use your skills to help others.

 

There are so many volunteering options out there, from working in a charity shop to getting out in local community gardens, coaching at a local sports club, or doing anything that can lend a hand and suit your skills and time available. It provides a real sense of purpose and satisfaction which can often be lost as we enter our older years.

 

  1. Family Gatherings

Regular family gatherings and activities strengthen bonds and provide emotional support. Plan activities that involve multiple generations, such as game nights, picnics, or cooking together. These interactions create cherished memories and promote a sense of belonging.

  • Game Nights: Board games and card games are a fun way to bring the family together. They offer a relaxed atmosphere for socialising and bonding.
  • Picnics: Outdoor picnics can be a delightful way to enjoy nature and family time. It’s a relaxed setting for everyone to connect and share a meal.
  • Cooking Together: Preparing meals together can be a fun and educational activity. It’s a chance to share recipes, learn new skills, and enjoy the results as a family.

 

  1. Technology and Social Media

Teach your loved ones how to use technology and social media to stay connected with family and friends. Video calls, social networking, and online groups can help bridge the gap when in-person visits are not possible, ensuring they remain socially active.

  • Video Calls: Tools like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime allow for face-to-face conversations with loved ones, regardless of distance.
  • Social Media: Platforms like Facebook or Instagram help elderly loved ones stay updated on family events and connect with friends.
  • Online Groups: Joining online communities based on interests can provide social interaction and a sense of belonging.

 

Emotional and Spiritual Activities

  1. Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness practices can significantly reduce stress and promote emotional well-being. Guided meditation sessions, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques help loved ones relax and focus on the present moment, enhancing their overall quality of life.

 

  • Guided Meditation: Following a guided meditation can help loved ones achieve relaxation and mental clarity. It’s a gentle way to reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises: These exercises promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. They can be done anywhere and are easy to learn.
  • Mindfulness Techniques: Practices such as mindful walking, eating, or listening help elderly loved ones.

 

  1. Music and dancing

Finally, continuing down an exercise route, music and dancing can be hugely impactful on loved one’s life. Studies have shown that music can have hugely positive impacts on elders, triggering memories and supporting feelings of happiness.

 

It could be listening to music, watching live concerts or even learning to play an instrument. After all, we’ve already discussed it’s never too late to learn.

 

Dancing is naturally a great form of exercise, while it will also provide social engagement and create firmer bonds with friends. There are many dance classes out there specifically for those in their older years, and it can be one of the hour’s of the week that people most look forward to.

 

Of course, there are many other pastimes and activities that are perfectly suited to elderly loved ones, keeping them happy, engaged and healthy, and for any caregivers it’s all about finding what will be most enjoyable and beneficial to them. So, reach out to them if you don’t know them well, see what they love, and see how you can adapt it into their day-to-day life.