Seniors can do all of these engaging activities at home or in a senior center with friends.
Taking part in a variety of activities helps seniors stay mentally and physically healthy. From gentle exercise to crafts, these ideas will keep them learning as well as using their body. Plus, since they work well for groups, they’re also great for socializing!
Chair yoga helps seniors safely increase their flexibility, adapting many classic yoga poses for those who may have limited mobility. Other chair exercises can also build strength, coordination, and cardiovascular health while increasing range of motion. Here are just a few examples:
- Single-leg calf raises. While seated, seniors take turns raising each leg until just the toes are touching the ground.
- Torso twists. While placing the hands behind the head, seniors twist from one side and then to the other.
- Band pull-aparts. Holding a small resistance band in front of them, seniors draw their arms out while squeezing their shoulder blades together, which helps correct posture.
Starting a garden gives seniors a sense of ongoing purpose. As they tend to their plants every day, they’ll witness continuous growth that makes this hobby dynamic and engaging. They can grow just about anything in a container garden, from flowers to vegetables. Make sure the containers can be placed in a sunny window so they’ll thrive—unless they’re shade-tolerant plants.
Family Tree Research
Learning more about their family history can allow seniors to share valuable knowledge with their children and grandchildren. Find a good database for family research (the AARP lists many options) and provide guidance on how to use it. Seniors could outline their family tree on a big sheet of paper and then discuss their findings together if they’re in a group.
A Story Circle
Telling stories helps seniors retain memory and brings a sense of fulfillment as they reflect back on their rich life experiences. Ask the group a question and let everyone take turns sharing their stories. They’ll enjoy learning more about one another. Here are a few examples of prompts:
- Can you tell us about a place that meant a lot to you as a child?
- What are some family traditions you’ve celebrated?
- Can you think of a song that brings back strong memories for you?
Memoir writing might be another great activity for seniors who love sharing stories.
Games and Puzzles
A trivia game, bingo, or a board game can enhance mental acuity while also promoting socializing. Hold a trivia night with a decade-specific theme and questions from that era. Play scrabble, do a puzzle, or play a card game everyone knows.
Art activities can be highly therapeutic, allowing people to express themselves on the canvas. Lead a painting exercise that teaches a new technique, like painting watercolor flowers, or invite an art therapist to come and guide a painting session.
Introduce these six fun and engaging ideas, and you’ll help seniors to thrive. Whether you’re caring for an elderly parent living at home or creating programming for a senior center, these activities are bound to be a hit!
AARP, “Top Genealogy and Family Tree Websites”
The National Archives, “Online Research Tools and Aids”
Radiant Senior Living Blog, “Benefits of Art Engagement and Art Therapy for Seniors”
Very Well Fit, “10 Chair Yoga Poses for Home Practice”
Very Well Fit, “11 Chair Exercises for Seniors”