As we age, we become increasingly sedentary yet we still require physical and mental activity to boost our quality of life. Those providing in-home care, therefore, should interact with an older person and keep them active at the same time. Doing so helps to stimulate older people’s minds and bodies, particularly those suffering from dementia.
In choosing which activities are suitable, a lot depends on the senior’s level of ability, both mentally and physically, but in almost all cases in-home caregivers should spend as much time as practical with the senior and serve as a companion.
Here are some great, fun ideas for assisted living activities that caregivers can adapt, depending on the age and ability of the older person.
- Check out Your Local Senior Center
Most senior centers provide games, hobbies and recreational activities that are suitable for most age groups. Card games and chess or checkers can be enjoyed and physical activities such as yoga are often available. If your loved one is able to move around, accompany them to a senior center for an hour or two and undertake the activities with them.
- Encourage Reading Digitally
Often an older person enjoys reading, but finds printed books, particularly those with smaller print, to be difficult to read. Encourage your loved one to read on a Kindle, iPad or similar device. The light can be adjusted, the text can be enlarged, the pages are easily turned, and the place in the text is remembered at the end of each reading session.
If the older person can no longer see to read a book, audio books provide an alternative. They can be listened to on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
- Painting Projects with Seniors
Many seniors who have never painted in their lives can still find enjoyment in tackling a painting project. You will need to buy the necessary items and set them up. A few lessons, which can be found on the Internet, will provide them with the basics. Give them a photograph, perhaps of one of their favorite places, and show them how they can paint a picture from it. You should now and then fill in some areas of the painting to encourage them and show them how it works.
If you place the resulting painting in a prominent place in your home or the room in which they live they will be delighted and will be encouraged to undertake another painting project.
- Create a Game You Know They Will Love
In-home caregivers might want to devise a game for a senior to enjoy. Depending on their abilities, even a game such as finding all the blue beads in a jar of beads can keep an older person busy for a fairly long time. Show them what to do by starting the game and helping them where necessary. They will feel rewarded when they are successful.
- Devise a Project
Most older people will have spent their lives on a variety of projects or hobbies. Consider a simplified version of something that they have enjoyed doing.
For example, an older man who has spent his life fixing things around the home will enjoy repairing something that is broken. If he is unable to tackle a project that requires physical movement, consider obtaining something relatively small that can be repaired simply using a screwdriver and little else. A broken alarm clock, for example, would work.
For those who are more severely impaired, building blocks that snap together such as Legos might be a good idea. Provide help and encouragement where necessary.
An older woman might be skilled at sewing, knitting, crocheting or a similar hobby. A quilt can keep a person occupied for many hours. If the completed item can be contributed to charity, the senior will feel the project is rewarding. Someone who has always enjoyed cooking will appreciate being able to help with simple tasks in the kitchen.
- Working with Seniors
In most cases, in-home caregivers providing assisted living will need to encourage and work alongside the person undertaking the project. Simply placing the items in front of them might not work.
Ask regularly how the project is going and help where necessary. Knowing someone is interested in their progress and that they are achieving something always helps.
- Set out Jigsaw Puzzles
Older people enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles. Make sure that the puzzle matches their abilities; children’s puzzles with only a few pieces might be suitable, too. Set out the puzzle, start doing it yourself, and work alongside the senior in completing the puzzle.
Use these suggested activities to see which will work for you in providing in-home care. The keys are to work alongside the senior in your care and to keep them active. In that way, you will not only prolong a senior’s life but also improve the quality of that life.