This topic of interest highlights 21 simple activities for seniors in isolation at home. However, what can one consider as isolation, and how does isolation at home affect the elderly do depend on numerous factors.
If you’re presently nursing an elderly, a disabled or dependent senior, you’ll understand how unentertaining and involving it can get. The demands of a senior can get more tasking by the day, and boring, especially when it involves constant repetition of tasks and words.
Caring for the elderly would not be all bad if they were not lonely and less engaged. In light of this, care for the elderly and seniors in isolation will be much easier when the elderly is actively engaged and involved in both social and intellectual activities.
Let’s start exploring by identifying what we mean by isolation in the elderly as a start.
Isolation In The Elderly
What is isolation? Isolation is a lack of social interaction. It involves having only a small social network, with a lack of companionship or support.
Being socially isolated does not necessarily mean avoidance of social contact; it places one in a position where social contact is reduced and unachievable.
For the elderly, isolation can be something to relate with. According to statistics, seniors and the elderly, generally the older adults from above 50 are more likely to be socially isolated. Isolation may be caused by either one of these factors:
- living alone,
- loss of family members and friends and
- reduced mobility.
A disabled senior living alone who constantly receive care from his care giver or nurse can be considered to be socially isolated too, because he/she lives alone, never or hardly leaves the house, or visit close contacts or neighbors.
Isolation leads to loneliness, and loneliness leads to different health problems, as well as depression.
Isolation at home for seniors, the elderly or the disabled is physically and mentally unhealthy and must be avoided.
How Does Isolation Affect The Seniors?
Having to sit quietly, and do only a little will have mental, and even physical effects on the health of a senior.
It was confirmed in a 2012 study, that lonely seniors have a 59% chance of physical and mental retardation, and 45% of them have a greater risk of death.
Apart from death and health decline, isolation in the elderly could also put them at risk of conditions like dementia, obesity, coronary heart disease or stroke.
How Does Staying At Home Cause Social Isolation?
There are so many reasons why a senior will live alone, one of such being the absence of anything to do, in a case of retirement. Or, it could be as a result of loss of a partner, absence of children and grandchildren, as well as incapacitation from a disease. One or more of these reasons may be the case of your elderly at home.
Recent studies have shown that staying at home for too long will have effects on the physical and mental health.
Staying at home for so long, mandatory, will establish a regular routine, that will be boring and tiring to the mind. Thus, the development of negative mental effects like stress, anger, and depression. Not only are there mental deterioration, but the physical health also is affected.
How To Combat Isolation At Home?
Other than the elderly, being isolated at home can be experienced by anyone of any age at home. Even though it happens to seniors more frequently, and they are at more risk of social isolation, we must all look after our mental health in isolation.
The following are solutions to looking after your mental health in isolation at home:
- Staying connected
Which involves making regular calls and video calls with loved ones. It also involves joining an online community of interest.
It also entails reaching out for help when feeling worried, bored or stressed and frustrated.
Staying connected doesn’t have to be hard for the elderly, as there are modern automated devices
that can keep them always connected to their loved ones when they need them.
- Engaging in different activities
Engaging in activities is one solution that proves to be very effective. It removes the routine lifestyle of those isolated at home, relieves stress and keeps them going and looking forward to something.
21 Simple Activities For Seniors In Isolation At Home
The activities for a senior in isolation must be simple, easy and not tasking.
Below is the list of different simple activities for seniors in isolation can engage in in-doors.
- Themed decoration
- Armchair travel
- In-room gardening
- Playing an instrument
- Board games
- Word search
- Cross game
- Hidden objects
- Arts and crafts
- Listen to podcast
- Watching football
- Trying new recipes
- Spiritual activities
Now, let’s explore them some of the most popular from above list, so you can further shortlist the best activities for your lovedone based on their interest and capacity.
1. Themed Decoration
To keep busy and engaged, seniors can engage in the creation of decorations based on several party themes like Christmas, new year, or a birthday party. These activities don’t only need to be done in preparations for an upcoming event, it can also be done for fun.
Themed decoration involves making things like pom poms for birthday parties, making flags and even alphabet templates.
Steps in making a simple alphabet template for themed decoration activities;
- With a ruler, draw the desired letter on a cardboard sheet neatly
- Put the cardboard on a cutting mat and use a blade or knife to cut off the letters
- Glue a piece of decorative material or paper on the letters. A pom pom can be used as a decorative material.
And there you have it, your decorated letters for birthdays or any themed activities.
2. Armchair travel
Along with the perks of going old and losing mobility, one loses the life of adventure and is restricted indoors. And although, being a senior means restricted movement and reduced contacts, one can still have a full travel experience from within closed doors. This is what is called Armchair travel.
This activity allows you to watch a travel documentary from your home as though you were the one who had to travel. It can be engaging and fun for a senior isolated at home.
Ways to make the armchair travel activity for seniors more fun:
Armchair travel can get passive and boring for an elderly. To make the experience more fun for your elderly, it can be done alongside many other activities like:
- Snacking or taking beverages while watching
- Creating a photo book of favorite landmarks by making sketches
- Writing a travel story
Yoga is actually a healthy activity that can help healthy ageing in seniors. It is an exercise for both the body and mind. Its benefit encompasses both the physical and the mental horizon, and generally improve the quality of life.
Regular breathing exercises can help the elderly destress and keep a positive mindset towards aging and thus, combat social isolation.
Basic yoga poses for seniors at home
The following are beginner yoga poses for seniors to perform at home:
- Mountain poses
- Tree pose
- Low lunge pose
- Bridge pose
- Legs up the wall pose
4. In-room gardening
I know how much some seniors miss gardening. Gardening can be fun and calming to the mind. Even so, Gardening is quite possible even when restricted to isolation at home. This is by the activity, In-room gardening.
This activity is one that makes them enjoy the comfort of their homes, and not despise the isolation.
These are a few examples of simple in-room gardening activities;
- grow your own salad,
- miniature flowerpot garden,
- smart garden,
- terrarium building,
- soil art,
- colorful bouquet etc.
Steps to the Grow-Your-Own-Salad activity
Growing your own salad is a satisfying indoor gardening activity, the joy it gives, while watching your salad grow every day until you eat a delicious salad grown by your own hands.
The activities require:
- Salad seeds
- Look for a perfect spot on a window sill or a table.
- Place soil into the pot on the window sill.
- With your hands, create a hole in the soil and place seed.
- Water your seed every day and watch the progress of your salad.
5. Scrap booking
To begin scrapping, one doesn’t necessarily need any artistic hands, it can go as easy as making photo albums with already existing pictures and adding a bit of decoration.
Few tips necessary to begin scrapbooking:
- Organize all your materials, like the scrapbooking paper, tapes, glues, decorations.
- Select the right theme for your scrap book. It could be a theme like vacation, growing up, or family.
- Start a layout; before using any glue or tape, make a layout with your scrapbook paper and pictures – this will ensure proper organization.
After making the scrapbook, ensure to share your artwork, as this is the best and most fun part of the activity.
6. Board gaming
Playing board games is an exciting way of passing out time in isolation. It is a fun and exciting activity that builds the mind.
There are several types of board games made to suit the kind of person you may be. There are board games for those who like playing with words, board games also for those who wish to get the feeling of adventure in their games, and for those who fantasize creativity.
Board games serve as a tool in bringing several seniors together, which will reduce social isolation and any feeling of depression.
The following are five great board games for seniors:
- Big Letter Bananagrams – for seniors who love wordplay.
- Ticket To Ride – for seniors who love the great outdoors.
- Scattergories – for seniors who like quick games.
- Hive – for seniors who love chess.
- Cranium – for seniors who can get silly.
If you like board games, then you’ll like the next few activities too.
7. Puzzle, Word search and Cross Games
A Puzzle is a game that encourages creativity. Playing this game engages a senior alright; it also sharpens their mind and cognitive thinking.
Playing puzzle games like crossword or wordsearch is a good way of ensuring focus in seniors and the elderly, and also a way to improve their recall. It is said that puzzle is good for Alzheimer’s patients.
8. Quizzes and hidden object games
These games are also mind-enhancing games that are good for the elderly. It is so engaging for both kids and adults. And it is usually fun when played with friends or family, thus it encourages a get-together, which every senior will love.
Reading gives the benefit of reducing stress, it helps seniors with sleep difficulty, and also stimulates the mind to be better active and informed.
Reading is a fun activity that can take you to different places in the mind. It can also bring together different people from different locations. Thus, what’s reading without sharing with friends and family or even nice strangers.
10. Arts and crafts
If your senior enjoys hands-on activity, then the activity of interest will be related to arts and crafts. One very important feature of this activity is that it encourages creativity even among the elderly.
Even disabled seniors can participate in this activity.
Arts and craft involve;
- card making,
- sketching, and
All these activities build not only physical and mental cognizance, but instill moral vales like patience.
The goal of origami is to transform any flat piece of paper, into a sculpture by folding techniques. Origami is also a craft, and found to be more famous among some cultures like those in Japan.
Coloring is not only meant for children, it is also a quite common activity among seniors and the elderly.
Some elders fancy beautiful coloring templates and artist emulation.
13. Listening to podcasts and watching football
These are the most common activities found among seniors and elders.
The television and the radio can be fun and very engaging. These activities have the ability to keep the seniors agile and thus, prevent physical or mental deterioration. However, limits to watching football matches or listening to podcast must be set.
Swimming is a good way of exercising the weak joints and muscles of the elderly. This activity will bring your elder out of the home, and into the sun once in a while.
15. Playing an instrument
Music, they say, is the language of the soul. Music in the hands of the elders can be harnessed into a beautiful energy that will not only benefit them, but also those around them.
It is quite possible for a senior to learn to play an instrument. Instruments like the piano, is an easy starter for an elder.
In isolation at home or even in a senior center (e.g. Nursing Home), these activities will keep the elders busy, will prevent moodiness and depression and will make the job of a caregiver, family or friend much easier.