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7 Activities for Seniors During Social Isolation

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Over that past few weeks, we’ve been completely overwhelmed with news about the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us feel like there’s no escape from the new reports, constantly updated numbers and recommended precautions.

One of the toughest pills to swallow? Social distancing—or what we’ve come to find is actually social isolation.

As humans, we’re innately social creatures who thrive off interactions with others. So it comes as no surprise that social isolation can affect our physical and mental wellbeing, especially seniors who are especially vulnerable.

Knowing this, we encourage you to physically distance yourself—which doesn’t necessarily have to lead to social isolation. Just because we can’t physically be present with each other does not mean we need to socially isolate ourselves altogether.

After all, we need social connection now more than ever. And fighting the loneliness we’re feeling does not need to be difficult. When everyone is committed to engaging in meaningful interactions, it’s relatively easy to keep loneliness and isolation at bay.

For simple activities to keep a senior loved one entertained during social distancing, continue reading below.

1. Read a Book

From reducing stress to enhancing sleep, there are many benefits to reading on a regular basis. For seniors, it provides mental stimulation to keep their brains active and aware.

It’s also a great distraction from the present. In a time where we’re forced to practice social distancing, reading a book with your senior loved one can transport them to a different time and place.

Consider purchasing a book online, or sharing novels with family members and friends.

2. Get Crafty

Does your loved one enjoy hands-on activities? When it comes to arts and crafts, there are so many ways seniors can get creative.  

Plus, many seniors who have physical limitations can still experience the joys of crafting by adapting the activities. Some crafts to consider while practicing safe social distancing include: 

  • Card making.
  • Coloring.
  • Knitting.
  • Painting.
  • Scrapbooking.
  • Sketching.
  • Sewing.

The motor skill coordination involved with crafting helps with practical routine activities, like bathing, dressing and eating. Not to mention, the patience and practice that go into achieving a finished product is a rewarding experience for seniors.

3. Exercise

Many seniors depend on activities at senior centers to keep them active. With recent closings, encourage your senior loved one to maintain their fitness routine with alternate workouts.

From chair squats to wall push-ups, the following exercises can boost your loved one’s balance, flexibility and strength:

  • Climbing the stairs.
  • Lifting light weights.
  • Walking or running.
  • Yoga.
  • Stretching.

If your loved one is feeling increased stress as a result of social distancing, remind them that physical activity can be the best medicine.

4. Play Games

Board games are a great way to socialize with senior loved ones—near or far. And everyone will benefit from the joyful challenges of friendly competition.

Thanks to online communities like Board Game Arena, you can play the following games with others:

  • Bingo.
  • Checkers.
  • Dominoes.
  • Scrabble.
  • Yahtzee.

Puzzles are also a great alternative to games, as they help sharpen a senior’s mind and give them a sense of accomplishment upon completion.

5. Visit Local Museums Virtually 

Many local museums are closed to the public, but they’re offering educational programs and tours through their websites.

Schedule time with your senior loved one to virtually visit one of Cleveland’s accredited museums, including: 

These virtual visits will get them out of the house—without actually leaving.

6. Plan a Movie Night

What is your loved one’s favorite movie? From classics like Singing in the Rain to On Golden Pond, watching movies provides a mental timeout for your senior loved one in the midst of social distancing. Surprise them with their favorite classic film to watch together.

Entertainment from previous decades, including movies and music, can provoke nostalgia in seniors. This may recover old memories from their past, which can stimulate meaningful conversation about their life.

Affordable streaming services, like Hulu and Netflix, offer free trials with a variety of movies and shows to choose from.

7. Take a Walk

Is your loved one feeling cooped up inside? Seniors can benefit in many ways from spending time in nature.

Take a walk together, so both you and your loved one can enjoy the fresh outdoors. Make sure to stand six feet a part from one another, as well as others passing by.  

If you’re worried about walking in a park, consider taking your loved one for a drive to enjoy their scenic route. Roll down the windows and let the sun shine in. This is sure to lift their spirits during social distancing.

Make the Most of Your Time with Senior Loved Ones

As the coronavirus crisis continues, it’s important to make the most of your time with family members and friends, especially those who are older. That’s why we created Busch’s Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation. Packed with 25+ sample questions, you’ll be sure to engage in meaningful dialogue with the people who matter most to you.

Download our essential guide to meaningful conversation


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