playing cards is a great activity for the elderly to keep their mind active

6 engaging activities to do with elderly people

Keeping active in both body and mind is so important as you get older. Combine this with a healthy diet, supplemented by senior multivitamins, and you can continue to enjoy life to the full well into older age.

Sometimes circumstances don’t allow you to get out and about. However, this does not have to limit you. There are plenty of engaging activities to do for older adults in and around the home. Below are six of our favourite suggestions.

Activities for older people to do at home

Seated exercises

Mobility problems due to chronic diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis, impaired strength or balance, obesity or low physical activity may mean that some forms of exercise aren’t accessible for older people and could put you at risk of a fall1. However, there are many resources available online with professionally recognised organisations for seated exercise, which you can do while sitting on a comfortable, stable chair. These are very useful for helping to retain strength and flexibility for completing essential everyday tasks2.

Painting and drawing

Painting, drawing, and any other form of creative activity not only offer a lot of enjoyment and fulfilment, but they also provide many health benefits. Using a paintbrush or pencil

improves fine-motor skills, which is vital for older people, and the concentration required to create your artwork offers an excellent workout for the brain too.

Furthermore, getting creative is good for boosting happiness and confidence, and is often used as a tool for improving mental wellbeing3. There are plenty of beginners’ art resources available online and no prior skill is needed; just ignite your imagination and have fun.

Cards, puzzles, and board games

Playing games and doing puzzles keep the mind active, helping to prevent a decline in memory function and thinking speed. Therefore, these activities provide valuable benefits for older people4.

If you haven’t got any games hiding in the back of your cupboard, there are hundreds of varieties widely available to buy. If you aren’t able to get out and about, choose your favourite and enjoy the opportunity to interact and have fun with your family or household members.

Cooking and baking

Spending time in the kitchen keeps you active and mobile, and is another activity that is good for mental wellbeing5. The mindfulness of the cooking or baking process helps you to destress and relax, and, once complete, the results provide fantastic feelings of accomplishment. You don’t have to be a fine-dining chef to experience these benefits. Just choose simple recipes that you enjoy and get creative from there. Involve other family members and get them cooking in the kitchen with you too. It’s a rewarding way to spend time together, connecting over a shared goal.

Activities for older people to enjoy in the garden

Gardening

Gardening offers multiple physical and mental benefits for older adults. The activity is low impact, so it is not stressful to joints, and the variety of movement involved is ideal for improving strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Gardening can also reduce the risk of a range of chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and obesity6. Its productivity, combined with the effects of being outside, reduces stress and can lead to improved sleep patterns, better relaxation, and enhanced mental wellbeing.

All you need to start is any small patch of land, some simple tools and some seeds. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still enjoy many of the benefits by using plant pots on the window sills.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching can be extremely engaging and is a great way to practice mindfulness. Even in the most urban of areas, if you have a garden, you’ll be surprised at the variety of birds you can spot. Develop your knowledge straight away using resources online to help you identify the birds that visit.

Last updated: 21 April 2020