Being cooped up inside for long periods of time can make anyone feel uneasy, and for seniors who live in senior living facilities, boredom can set in pretty quickly. That’s why it’s so important for residents in senior living facilities to participate in activities that engage them on physical, mental, and social levels.
But being indoors doesn’t have to be boring. Below are some ideas for boredom-busting indoor activities to try. Some of these activities are targeted toward larger groups of people, so you should check with your facility’s activities director to see if they can be integrated into the facility’s schedule.
Seniors should have at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. You don’t need a gym membership to work some physical activity into your day. Workout DVDs and YouTube videos offer lots of options for exercise routines, or you could have someone lead yoga classes. If mobility is a concern, there are plenty of chair exercises that are excellent options for seniors to use to strengthen their muscles, increase their stamina, and stay fit.
Arts & Crafts
Arts and Crafts projects can be great activities to do indoors. These activities could include:
- Sewing, knitting, & crocheting
- Making ornaments
- Painting ceramics
- Jewelry making
- Nature crafts & flower arranging
Those who have experience in a particular type of activity could even teach that skill to other residents. You could also consider having a volunteer come in and lead an activity or teach a new skill.
Cognitive Stimulation Activities
Cognitive stimulation is crucial for seniors to help them maintain mental dexterity. A study by the Mayo Clinic, which was published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), found that seniors who engage in activities that are mentally stimulating have a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Cognitive stimulation activities could include reading, memorization games, logic puzzles, crossword puzzles, word searches, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, or any other activities that promote sharpness of mind, encourage logic and problem solving, or stimulate memory recall. Many of these activities can be done alone or as a group.
Playing games can be a great way to pass the time, stave away boredom, and encourage social interaction with other residents, and there are so many options to choose from. Some suggestions include:
- Card games – bridge, rummy, pinochle, canasta, or Uno.
- Board games and games for groups – checkers, chess, backgammon, Scrabble, Sorry, Bingo, or dominoes.
Special events provide seniors with a level of variety that they do not have every day, and they encourage social interaction among residents. These events could include seasonal holiday activities. Other event ideas include ice cream socials, afternoon tea, or Karaoke night. If you have the opportunity to pair up with volunteer groups, there are even more potential options for activities. Adult community choirs or children’s choirs can come and share their songs, scouts can help out with projects or play games, and students can pair up with seniors to read or do fun projects together.
Indoor Flower Garden
Spending time inside doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden. You could grow flowers or houseplants in small pots, vertical planter boxes, or even mason jars, or start a hydroponic garden, which doesn’t require soil and instead relies on a nutrient solution and other materials, such as on perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, or clay.
Virtual Arts & Culture Experiences
There are thousands of museums from all over the world that offer virtual tours through Google Arts & Culture. You can travel to other countries and see rare and beautiful art collections without leaving home. Go to Amsterdam and see works by Van Gogh. Travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to see art that chronicles the history of fashion, as well as works by Vermeer, Gauguin, and Cezanne. You can also virtually visit and take in a 360-degree view of exotic locales, such as Mount Everest, the Dead Sea, or the South Pole.
There are so many great options for fun ways to enjoy social interaction (even at a distance), have fun, and beat boredom. While many of these activities are fun to do independently, others can create great opportunities for building social connections. For more ideas, check out this guide, Indoor Activities for Seniors.
About the Author
Joseph Jones has been writing senior care and aging-related articles for years. He got his start while writing for a personal blog before he was offered to work at California Mobility in 2018 as the Content Marketing Manager, creating highly informative guides and health awareness articles for aging adults.
He’s currently contributing to a variety of blogs in the senior health industry in hopes to spread information about taking care of seniors and what to expect in the aging process.