Keeping things fun and interesting can be difficult as loved ones get older. Their morale may not be as high as it used to be. Their dexterity may not be so good. They may be experiencing some difficulty thinking, problem solving or with language. But do not worry; there are a number of fun activities that can help your loved one channel a range of their skills. Take your pick and watch as your relative’s face lights up with joy!
Before we do get into a list of our favourites, please do remember; everyone will have their own activities that they like to do. Before consulting this list, ask them what they would like to do. You may find that some of your relatives already have an idea of what they enjoy!
Go on a Day Out
Go to the local zoo, enjoy a day at the beach (weather permitting of course) or even go shopping with them. Simply spending time with your elderly loved ones makes an enjoyable time for them. Even including them in activities that you have to do (running errands, doing a food shop, collecting some items) can make a huge difference and can make them feel of value.
If a whole day out is too much for your loved one, make the trip out brief. Our clients love a drive to the seafront for an ice cream and watching the world go by! If you know that your relative enjoys football, take them out to a local team’s match. You don’t have to support either team, just enjoy the sport! Cater your day out to your loved one, you will know what they enjoy and what they don’t.
There doesn’t have to be an occasion for there to be cake! Bake a cake with your relative and make it however they like! If their favourite flavour is orange, grate in some orange zest. Make it personal to them. Or a devilishly delicious treat! Alternatively, following a recipe as well can also help with cognitive abilities. Sticking to specific measurements and instructions can be beneficial for brain function.
Or if you don’t have a sweet tooth, try cooking a whole-hearted meal. Try using ingredients that your elderly loved one has never used before. By doing this, you create new experiences for them which always keeps things interesting!
Arrange a Family Day
Invite the entire family around for a large family do. Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren; the ENTIRE family! Having the entire family together will create a sense of community and belonging and can allow for great food, great stories and a great time!
Reading their Favourite Book
Reading your elderly loved one’s favourite book can bring back some joyous memories. Ask them what their favourite book is and ask them why. Having your relative tell you stories and explaining things can help with their cognitive function in the long run as well.
Find a photographic history book about the community your loved one grew up in. Most towns and villages have these books and they can usually be found in your library. Discussing the photos will bring back memories for your loved one. You could also learn something new from them as well; an interesting story that you never knew before. Plus, if you have never read the book, it will also be a new experience for you!
Organising Old Photos
Start organising old photos from their life – their childhood, growing up, their family and friends, holidays and their jobs. Of course, all of these photos will come with their own stories and certainly, good memories will be brought to light. Going over childhood photos is always a fun time. Especially when one photo comes with an embarrassing anecdote!
Organise the photos into a scrapbook (if they’re not already) and turn it into an ongoing project. This not only provides an activity to do every time you see your relative, but it is something they can do in their own time if they please as well. Try it and see how it goes.
Doing a Jigsaw Puzzle
Doing jigsaw puzzles is a fun activity to do with your loved one and helps with their memory and cognitive abilities.
Involve your loved one in picking the jigsaw puzzle they will enjoy doing, where the number of pieces will not overwhelm them. It may be a shared experience, depending on their ability, that you find the pieces and they place them. Jigsaw puzzles always create conversations – finding that elusive piece! It is also a great activity to involve the grandchildren in as well. And even better – when your loved one has had enough, it can be put to one side for another day!
Explore New Fun Activities
Exploring new activities is a great way for your elderly loved one to learn and develop new skills. Thinking of fun activities can be a challenge (especially if you have already exhausted a lot of ideas) but keeping things interesting can be extremely helpful for your elderly loved one. They will certainly appreciate the effort put in to keep things interesting.
See what else you can think of for your loved one and have a great time doing it, whatever it is!