Being around an aging family member doesn’t have to be boring. As people age their energy decreases and their ability to stay active tends to become more difficult, but this doesn’t mean we can’t find fun, appropriate, activities to dive into with them.
Spending time and visiting an aging family member and having fun with them can provide a huge boost to their mood and mental state, and even their physical health. Simply put, spending time with aging family members helps keep them young.
If you’re not sure what to do next time you visit or care for someone, here is a list of 5 ways to entertain your aging family member.
Read Aloud. If your family member is confined to bed or otherwise incapacitated due to injury, disability, or just old age, they may not be able to participate in many activities. That’s okay – the fact that you’re visiting is enough.
But if you want to have some fun and entertain them (and bring out your inner dramatist) you may consider reading aloud to them. Some elderly people have trouble focusing on close objects like books, and those who are in the later stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s may have lost their ability to read altogether.
By reading a book out loud to them (especially if it’s one of their favorites) you can entertain them, spend time with them, and help provide them some comfort. This is a great option if your family member is unable or unwilling to participate in more high-intensity activities.
Play A Game Or Do A Puzzle Together. Board games are a fantastic way to spend time with aging family members – they’re easy to play, low-stress, and don’t involve much in the way of physical activity, making this a suitable activity even for those folks who aren’t able to move as well as they used to.
The best games to play are usually the ones that your family member already knows – classics like The Game of Life, Monopoly, and Risk are great choices, as are most card games. For even more fun, find some extra players – friends, family or other loved ones who can come over for a game night.
If your loved one isn’t into games, puzzles may be more up their alley. Jigsaw puzzles are great to give you something to do while you visit with your loved one, and are very satisfying to finish.
Cook A Meal Together Ask your family member to teach you a new recipe, perhaps a classic that they have always loved making. Or, if they aren’t much of a cook, offer to make them a meal – with a catch. They have to help you prepare it.
Working together in the kitchen and enjoying the sights, smells, and tastes of cooking is a great way to spend time with your family member. It stimulates the mind, body, and senses, and gives you a great opportunity to have some good conversations.
Explore The Great Outdoors. Staying inside all the time is bad for your health – and not just for your physical health. Getting into nature and exploring the outdoors can be hugely beneficial to the health of both you and your family member.
The activity you do doesn’t have to be taxing – it can be as simple as going on a walk in the park, or pushing your family member in a wheelchair. If your family member is able to partake in more vigorous physical activity, going on a longer hike or a camping trip can be a great way to bond, spend time with them, and allow them to experience the health-boosting effects of nature.
Schedule Time For A Group Skype Call. Senior isolation is a huge problem – especially among people age 75 and older. A great activity can be scheduling a family group Skype call – not everyone from your family has to be present, but having others present virtually can be a lot of fun, and elderly family members always appreciate any time they can spend with their children, grandkids, and other loved relatives.
This post was written by Jessica Hegg, content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, Jessica works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.