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Beyond Bingo: Fun Activities for Seniors

Bingo is an activity that's popular among older adults. Nursing facilities, churches, and senior living communities all host bingo nights as a chance for older people to socialize and have fun. Although it is a fun and popular game, it's not the only option for elderly people that want to have fun, socialize and keep healthy. As with other groups, seniors have varied interests and what appeals to one person may not appeal to others. Whether in a care facility or the family home, providing a variety of senior entertainment and resources will improve the health and happiness of your loved ones.

Social Activities

There are many social activities that are ideal for people who enjoy meeting new people. Some older adults may enjoy the social interaction that comes from joining an organization, such as the Red Hat Club or a book club. Board, card, and even certain video games may appeal to others and are ideal for group game nights.

Planned daily or weekly meetings are a simple yet enjoyable way for seniors living in a nursing home or assisted living residence to interact with one another. This can be a great opportunity for them to suggest their own ideas for fun and enrichment. For those who still live at home, senior centers often have events and programs that can give seniors the opportunity to mingle and meet new people.

Spiritual Activities

Many people have spiritual needs that may be difficult to achieve when living in a nursing or care facility. Although one's spirituality is deeply personal, nursing facilities can still assist by providing activities that encourage spiritual wellness. To help residents reap the benefits of religion and spirituality, senior facilities can set up a time for religious services, bring in volunteer ministries, offer Bible study groups, or allow activities such as hymn singing. Seniors living at home can make their spiritual time a family affair or attend services with friends.

Physical Activities

Exercise is not only fun, but they're good for the physical and mental health of older adults. There are many options to meet the physical needs and limitations that affect the senior community. Tai chi, yoga, and water aerobics are popular with many seniors at various fitness levels. Hand weights and resistance bands are examples of strengthening activities that can help improve balance while strengthening muscles and bones. Classes that guide seniors through chair exercises can help chair-bound seniors stay in shape and reduces the risk of disease and accidental injury. Before engaging in any form of physical activity, one should speak with their doctor to ensure that it is safe to do so and discuss limitations.

Reminiscing

Some activities help people to reminisce or think about events of the past. Setting up a time for residents to gather and watch older movies is a way senior living facilities can help people reminisce about the past. Residents in the same age group can share memories about their first time seeing the film or about what was happening in their lives. Sharing photos and creating memory boxes with family or other residents are some enjoyable activities that can encourage reminiscing and sharing memories.

Tactile Activities

Some people, including those with dementia or Alzheimer's, enjoy doing things that are centered on touch. Some tactile activities involve being touched, like hand or foot massages. Hand painting, shaping clay and other crafts that use moldable materials are ideal for tactile seniors. Seniors with dementia also benefit from activities that involve sand, pine cones, and other textured items. Even petting and spending time with animals can be appealing to people who enjoy tactile engagement.

Educational Activities

Educational activities offer many benefits for seniors. It encourages new thoughts and ideas, and challenges their minds. Seniors living independently may enjoy attending continuing education classes or lectures. Because computers are such a normal part of most people's lives, older adults may want to take classes that will help them learn how to better use a computer and become more tech-savvy. Senior communities and nursing homes can arrange for speakers or offer classes to residents. Communities can also offer educational documentaries on history or other topics.

Cognitive Activities

Cognitive activities are ideal for older adults who struggle with their memory and seniors who prefer recreational activities that challenge them mentally. These types of activities help people remember information and details. Some cognitive activities, such as trivia and strategic board games, are both entertaining and beneficial. Examples of other fun cognitive games include puzzles and Sudoku. Another cognitive activity for some older adults is taking part in senior debates.

Community Activities

Community activities often give seniors a sense of purpose. Helping people and organizations in need may be more fulfilling and enjoyable for some than playing games. Seniors may help the community by setting up food or clothing drives. Senior living communities can also help kids by hosting a school supply drive and enlisting the help of residents.

Sensory Activities

Sensory activities are those that stimulate hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch. These types of activities are good for seniors with dementia. This includes visual games and activities that involve the use of textures and sounds. Sensory activities can also include scrapbooking or coloring.

Outings

Not all activities need to take place within a nursing facility or in someone's home. Many seniors appreciate exploring and doing things with a group or friends. When planning outings for older adults, there are many options available that can be tailored to a specific group's interests. Some ideas include shopping trips, dining out, watching a movie at the multiplex, or group trips to an art museum. Seniors can also enjoy the benefits of being outdoors. Outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, or a day at a local park are also options to consider.

Musical Entertainment

Music is not only fun but it can have therapeutic benefits as well. Plan music-related activities such as piano lessons or communities may consider forming seasonal choirs for the holidays. Music can help stimulate memory and improve mood. Individually, seniors may enjoy having private time to listen to their favorite songs from over the years or have playlists put together by loved ones. Dancing is another music-related activity that retirement communities should consider. This includes having formal dances for residents or holding weekly dance lessons. Independent seniors can also look for dance classes or attend senior dance events on their own.

Family-Related Activities

Keeping in touch with family is important for many seniors. Unfortunately, they may not spend as much time with them as they would like to. When planning activities for seniors in your life, consider involving children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. It can also be enjoyable to turn regular activities, such as craft-time into family-related activities by having interested seniors create something special for members of their families.


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