It’s one thing to be bored as a teenager and another thing entirely to be bored as a senior. The difference is that boredom for older adults may affect mental health or contribute to mood shifts and other behavioral issues. If you have a senior loved one who is routinely bored or in search of something to occupy his or her time, here are some fun and beneficial activities to suggest.
1. ExerciseExercise can be a great way for seniors to shake off boredom because of the many options. For instance, your loved one could take a class online to learn how to safely do yoga poses. Other options for exercise most seniors can safely enjoy include:
- Doing chair-based exercises
- Moving, swaying, or stretching to their favorite music Exercise activities for seniors can even include fun floor games like ring tossing and oversized dice rolling or chair-based options like fly swat tennis, which is played with a flyswatter and balloons. Exercise also provides a natural mood boost due to the release of hormones called endorphins.
2. Arts & Crafts ProjectsThe possibilities are nearly endless if you’re looking for arts and crafts projects your loved one can do when he or she is bored. If you need some suggestions, options include:
- DIY door wreaths
- Table-based painting or drawing
- Confetti-decorated drinking glasses or vases
- No-sew sock dolls/puppets (also a good gift for grandkids)
3. Home Movie NightsIf your loved one has a bunch of old VHS home movies, have them transferred to DVDs so he or she can enjoy a fun trip down memory lane in a way that’s easily accessible. Watching home movies is also a great way to trigger fond memories and sharpen cognitive functions. Similar memory-triggering activities include:
- Scrapbooking with family photos
- Playing conversation-starting games like “I remember when …” (you or your loved one starts with that sentence and shares a fond memory)
- Watching favorite old TV shows or movies online
4. Cooking/BakingYour loved one doesn’t have to whip up a full meal every time he or she is bored, but there are plenty of simple and fun cooking and baking options that can be both productive and enjoyable. For example, your parent can make a healthy salad or dust off an old recipe. Your loved one can create treats for the grandchildren or even prepare baked goods for a worthwhile local charity.
5. Board & Card GamesEven if your loved one isn’t initially keen on the idea of playing a board or card game, he or she may be more receptive to this idea if you get specific or associate your suggestion with fond memories. For instance, you might say “We used to play Scrabble all the time when I was a kid. How about playing a game with me now?” Other options that can be fun, stimulating, and engaging for seniors include:
- Word-based and puzzle games
- Theme-based games like Ticket to Ride or Dixit that help with mental agility
- App-based games such as Lumosity, which has more than 60 games