When you are caring for an aging parent or serving as a home caregiver for a senior, the routine can become, well, routine. This can provide stability for caregiver and care recipient, but sometimes it is fun to “mix it up” with new activities. This can be tough when you are caring for a home-bound senior or someone who has limited mobility. In our “Creative Caregiver Corner” we share new activity ideas from our creative home caregiver team as well as tips for successful activities for seniors.
So, what are some new, fun things that can be done with seniors at home?
- A cooking lesson: cook your care recipient’s favorite meal with/for him or her (and vice versa). This activity provides a lot of opportunity for reminiscing and sharing about favorite meals and family memories. This can also become a regular activity and can be seasonal, recreating favorite holiday meals. Variations: cooking/baking one item, having family members prepare items and sending them to eat together, an outing to a favorite restaurant. Expansions: gather old recipes and help organize them or collect them in to a scrapbook (can be replicated as gifts for family members) or electronically, plan a small holiday party/have others over for the meal, go shopping together for ingredients, watch cooking shows together and try new recipes.
- Scrapbooking: this can be as simple as you want to make it, starting with going through old photos and organizing them. Expansions: reminiscing and making notes about photos, asking family for input and to send additional photos, organizing photos and family history electronically or creating a booklet, putting together genealogy information or documenting an event.
- Learning a new game: have your care recipient teach you a game you do not know or vice versa. Variations: learn a new game together, attend an activities/senior center that offers bridge lessons or a games activity to learn and play with others. Maybe a student or younger family member would like to practice chess or some other game with your care recipient.
- Book club/book report: if you and your care recipient enjoy reading, read a book together and discuss it or read different books and share a summary/your thoughts on the book with the other. Variations: if vision is an issue use ebooks (you can enlarge the print and some devices can read to you), audiobooks or Talking Books. You can also do the activity with short stories or articles. Expansions: pull reviews or author interviews from the web or magazines/newspapers and discuss those or use reader guides with book club questions; include extended family members via Skype or speaker phone to create a mobile book club; join a book club at your local library, bookstore or community organization.
- Outings: even though outings can be challenging for those with limited mobility, they can be very enjoyable with good planning. Think about how to modify an outing to make it work. Perhaps it needs to be a shorter outing and you need to figure out logistics beforehand. Plan outings for the time of day when your care recipient has the most energy. Consider taking a helper along to assist. Think about your care recipient’s interests and different ways to engage: maybe he/she can’t play that sport any more but can enjoy watching, perhaps there’s a local little league game versus a long trip to the major league park (or play at a local school during the day versus nighttime theater outing). Variations: bring the activity home by watching a video on the subject or a televised broadcast, get carry out from a favorite restaurant or have a gathering of friends at home.
These are just a few of the many creative activities our home caregivers do with their senior home care clients. We will feature more (and would love to share your ideas!) in our ongoing Creative Caregiver Corner feature. Leave us a comment to let us know what great activities you have planned or a challenge you have run into as a caregiver.
For more on how EasyLiving home caregivers can help with a wide array of fun senior activities in Tampa Bay, check out our Concierge Services for Seniors page.