Are you the primary caregiver or care partner for your loved one living at home? Perhaps you spend a few hours with a special older individual each week? If so, you may be trying to come up with some activities to do with them, and we've got a few ideas to share with you!
First off, how about getting your hands dirty with gardening? Try planting the easiest to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs. It will be rewarding to harvest them and to enjoy the fruit of your labor together. If you’re not interested in growing your own food, try growing flowers. Picking and arranging flowers could be another activity. If you’re not into growing flowers, just buy them from the store or farmer’s market and have fun arranging flowers together. If gardening and growing flowers aren’t working for you, how about simply going on nature walks? See what plants, flowers, birds, insects and other wildlife you can find. Bring a camera along, and take photos of the beautiful treasures you discover.
Speaking of walking, the next activity we recommend is exercise. It’s so important to get moving! Walking is probably the most basic form of exercise and is great for cardio and keeping the body active and in shape, but how about dancing? Turn on some of your favorite music, find the beat and simply move to the music. Stretching also counts as exercise. A little bit of stretching each day will do wonders for the body and is a great regular activity.
Next, how about engaging the mind by playing a game? Try a board game, a card game, or even a puzzle. If your loved one is up for it, you could even try a video game or virtual sports game like Nintendo Wii. Game play is great for cognitive engagement by stimulating the brain. It can also involve the body physically, not to mention creating great structure and space for conversation. Give it a try! For activity products, we recommend Relish, Dabblesack and Connectivities.
We all need to eat so how about cooking and baking? Because food is a part of our everyday lives, an activity that involves making food is actually very practical. Keep it simple or give your loved one small tasks they can do alongside you to help with meal preparation. You can cook or bake just for fun too. It doesn’t always need to be with the goal of producing something to eat. Cooking together is a great bonding activity. Spending time together in the kitchen will help you connect with your loved one.
Finally, our favorite activity to recommend is of course singing! There are so many amazing benefits of singing! Pull up your favorite songs, and belt them out together. The goal isn’t to produce the best sound, the goal is to sing and have fun together. Don’t worry about how you sound. It may be helpful to print out the song lyrics. Encourage and prompt your loved one to sing with you. Studies have shown that the activity of singing boosts health and well-being, not just physically but mentally, emotionally, socially, cognitively and even spiritually. Music really does make a difference. Visit Singing at Home to learn about our music-therapist created virtual video music library for older adults living at home. Meaningful music engagement is easier than you think!