Entertaining your senior loved one may not seem like something that should be high on your list of priorities if you’re a family caregiver and accustomed to tending to more immediate daily living needs. However, keeping seniors engaged and entertained can be mentally and sometimes physically rewarding for them and a great way to remain connected to those they care about. If you’re on the hunt for suggestions for how to entertain seniors in a way that’s good for them, here are five to consider.
1. Reading Aloud
Some elderly individuals have difficulty focusing on reading. However, they can still enjoy reading if it’s turned into a group activity by reading out loud. Reading aloud is a mentally stimulating way for seniors to connect with others, socialize, gain new knowledge, and exercise their imagination. It can be even more of a special activity if you invite your loved one’s younger grandkids to be part of the fun.
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities like reading is just one of the many ways to remain healthy in the golden years. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Sonoma County families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Playing Board Games or Working Puzzles
Along with providing an opportunity to be social, activities like these help older individuals by stimulating parts of the brain related to recall, pattern recognition, and short-term memory. Physically manipulating game pieces and puzzle pieces also helps with fine motor skills and manual dexterity.
3. Cooking or Baking Together
Kitchen-related tasks are often entertaining and beneficial for seniors because they’re inherently social activities. What’s more, the physical movements required can help with coordination and balance, and the need to recall steps involved and ingredients used can strengthen cognitive skills. Possibilities with cooking and baking include:
• Having weekly “cooking parties” where family members and friends bring all necessary parts of a meal to your loved one’s home and help with meal prep and cleanup
• Getting your loved one involved with baking for a purpose—e.g., making brownies or cookies for a local charity drive
• Working with your loved one to put together a healthy weekly meal calendar and helping him or her shop for the ingredients needed to make those meals
4. Planning Regular Outings/Outside Activities
Staying indoors all the time increases the odds of developing issues with isolation and depression. Being outdoors presents many opportunities to get some exercise and fresh air and interact with others. Outings or outside activities you plan might include:
• Visits to local parks or other public outdoor spots
• Day trips to nearby towns or communities
• Group visits to nearby theme parks
• Simple backyard scavenger hunts that involve your loved one and other family members
• Neighborhood cookouts
Even if you enjoy going on outings with your loved one, there’s a good chance you have other important matters to attend to that prevent you from being able to spend as much time with your loved one as you’d like. Sonoma County respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
5. Teaching the Ins & Outs of Social Media
According to Pew Research Center, nearly 35 percent of seniors use social media sites. Take the time to show your loved one how social media works. Using social media can be an effective way to keep your loved one entertained, mentally stimulated, and engaged during times when he or she has to be indoors. Options with social media for seniors include:
• Creating social pages so they can share details about their lives
• Restarting old friendships by reaching out to past acquaintances via social media
• Playing games via social platforms with other people who share their interests
• Watching videos that fit their interests via YouTube and other video-based social platforms
One of the best ways to keep your loved one entertained is to hire a professional caregiver so they can engage in stimulating activities together. When researching agencies that provide in-home care, families are usually looking for flexible care plans, compassionate and highly trained caregivers, and 24/7 availability. Whether you need respite care to take a break from your caregiving duties or your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, you can rely on Home Care Assistance. Call us today at (707) 843.4368 to learn more.