Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, millions of Americans are now sheltering in place, and it looks like it could remain that way for a while. And although social distancing practices are helping to slow the spread of coronavirus, doing so can be especially hard on elderly individuals who are used to being active and socially engaged. That’s created the need for homebound seniors and their caregivers to find creative ways to stay busy. If you’re taking care of a sheltering in place senior, here are 5 fun activities that you both will enjoy.

How Staying Active Benefits Seniors

Numerous studies have found that socializing with family and friends benefits elderly persons in many ways, including:

  • Boosts self-esteem and emotional wellbeing
  • Sharpens mental acuity which may help prevent dementia
  • Strengthens immunity which helps fight infections and illnesses
  • Promotes a better night’s sleep
  • It’s good for heart and lung health
  • Stimulates a healthier appetite

Seniors who reap these health benefits tend to enjoy a higher quality of life and even longer lifespans as opposed to those who are inactive and bored.

5 Boredom-Busters for Homebound Seniors

Here are 5 ways to make sure that boredom and inactivity are never a problem for your sheltering-in-place senior:

1. Exercise

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. From outdoor walks (if allowed) to Yoga, chair aerobics and interactive video games like Wii, regular exercise benefits a senior’s body in so many ways, like:

  • Faster healing rates
  • Improves joint flexibility
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Better balance and coordination
  • More restful sleep
  • Stronger immune system

Note: Before participating in exercise, be sure that your senior has been cleared by their doctor first and encourage them to drink plenty of water.

2. Puzzles

Sitting down together and concentrating on a jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle or Sudoku will overcome boredom by providing hours of enjoyment and concentration. Puzzle-solving also sharpens mental acuity which may help prevent dementia. But don’t forget to bring more puzzles with you once a week to keep your loved one stocked up!

3. Cooking & Baking

Sheltering in place is the perfect time to try out some new recipes in the kitchen or pull out some of your senior’s favorites from their “secret” recipe box. Cooking and baking some tasty creations over a hot stove together will provide fond memories that you won’t soon forget. If you need some new recipe ideas, download them from a site like Facebook or Taste of Home. And, sitting down afterwards to sample the fruits of your labor is always the best part!

Hobbies & Crafts

Hobbies and crafts are good for an older person’s manual dexterity and mental acuity, so get your senior interested in some new ones that they can then continue after the shelter-in-place order has been lifted. Here are some great hobby and craft ideas that you can do together:

  • Gardening
  • Quilting or sewing (masks are needed right now!)
  • Photography
  • Scrapbooking
  • Painting or drawing

Social Media

Not being able to see family and friends can be depressing for lonely seniors, notably when it’s their grandchildren. Show your loved one how to stay in touch by setting them up on Skype or Facebook, which they can then use to video chat with loved ones down the street or across the country. If they’re also your friends and relatives, share some online facetime together until it’s safe to be around them again.

We Help At-Home Seniors Stay Active & Entertained

Trying to assist a sheltering-in-place elderly loved one can be hard when you live far away or have your own household to manage. If you need a hand, contact Family Services of Central Massachusetts. We are a fully licensed and insured home care agency with highly trained caregivers who can step in and keep your aging loved one safe, active and entertained so they can continue aging comfortably right where they want to be. In addition to companionship, our carefully screened aides can perform in-home duties like light housework, hygiene, meals, medication reminders and transportation.

As an agency, our goal is to maintain your senior’s dignity, independence and quality of life by offering a full menu of home care services that can then be personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about Family Services of Central Massachusetts now, or to schedule a FREE initial interview for a senior in our service area today, please visit: www.fscm.org.