Finding mentally and physically fun and engaging activities for the elderly is important in helping them to maintain good health, fulfillment and happiness. While you may have to adapt some activities for the safety of the group, you can still choose well-known and challenging activities, as well as some more specifically suited to groups of senior citizens.
Residents of an assisted living program or in a nursing facility can start a community garden together for a productive chance to be outside, get fresh air and exercise each spring and summer for everyone involved. You will want to make sure the residents alternate activities, not staying in one position for too long, as in bending and pulling weeds, since gardening can be hard on even the most youthful garden tenders. You don't want your gardeners to put themselves out of commission. You will also want to ensure that the group stays well hydrated and shaded by wearing hats. Ask the residents what they, as a group, would like to plant. If planting a vegetable garden, the group can also enjoy wholesome meals together with their homegrown delights, or they can donate their harvests to their local church or community markets that work to help those in need.
Nursing Home Newsletter
Seniors-Site.com recommends creating a nursing home newsletter. Giving the residents a role in reporting and sharing current events within their facility or community can be empowering. Ask the residents to form their editorial staff and form of distribution. This activity allows elderly residents to keep their minds sharp by regularly using the computer, even designing the layout in addition to the keying, and writing. The newsletter also provides a social outlet to everyone involved, from the writers and editors to the readers. It is a chance for everyone to communicate, in word and print.
Setting up a games night in the form of a game show wherein anywhere from one to three contestants compete at a time in front of a "live studio audience" formed by the remaining residents who aren't playing. Make the game show a trivia game where they have to be the first to answer correctly. They can have additional help, as in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" where they can ask an audience member for help with the answer. These kinds of games help keep elderly residents mentally sharp and it is a chance for everyone to laugh and have fun.
For dance night, all you have to do is make enough room for a dance floor, provide good music and refreshments, and invite the guests, and your elderly residents should have a good time. Dancing is a joyous activity and can help spark fond memories and give the residents good exercise.
- Therapeutic Recreation Directory: Social Activities for Small Groups
- Seniors Site: Nursing Homes Activities
- Aging Home Health Care: Activities for Senior Citizens Hobbies and the Mind Body Connection
- City of Jacksonville Florida: Special Events for Senior Citizens
- Schaner Senior Citizen's Center: Events and Programs
- water your garden image by Josh Antanaitis from Fotolia.com