There are many wonderful things that you can do with your family members – young and old – at home.
Some may take a little creativity and perhaps even some products but in the end, it’s all about spending time with the ones you love.
Activities, especially fun and/or purposeful activities can help to promote mental health and well-being in seniors. Staying busy and active can be the best thing to fight off social isolation. Of course, the first thing I would recommend is socializing with your elderly loved ones.
A new hobby or something that involves some physical activity can go a long way in helping older adults to combat feelings of loneliness when they are in their own home.
Our List Of 22 Things That You Can Do At Home
Staying home doesn’t have to mean boredom!
Here are 22 enriching activities that you can enjoy right from the comfort of your own abode.
1. Movies on DVD
Pull out those dusty DVD’s and re-watch your favorites!
2. Streaming Services
There are paid services for movies and shows and there are free ones too. So, take advantage!
- Amazon Prime
- Apple TV
There are plenty more, just take some time to discover them!
The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts their performances nightly.
A friend of mine is holding a black tie and opera night with her family and will be watching an opera!
Another great “channel” that many people don’t think of is Youtube!
You can access it on a smart television, a computer, laptop or tablet or even a smartphone.
You can also view Youtube for free from a Roku or Firestick device on your television.
Here are just a few things that you can watch on Youtube:
- Free Movies
- Music – I love many different genres of songs but I don’t always like the voice of the singer so I use Youtube to find people who sing “covers” of these songs. It’s a great way to find artists that are not so well known.
- Broadway and off broadway shows
- Ted Talks
- Museum Tours
- Art Gallery Tours
- Travel Vlogs through national parks and cities around the world
- I’m sure there are many more other channels that you can find on Youtube. There seem to be many videos on almost any area of interest!
I did this with my mother who was born in Trento, Italy.
I would pull out my computer laptop and go to Google Maps.
We would go to a spot in that city on Google Maps and then use that little yellow guy on the bottom right of the screen to go directly onto the street!
We would then “virtually walk” along the streets! It was a great way for my mother to see her birthplace again!
if you haven’t listened to a podcast in the past year or so, then it seems you may be in the minority.
They have clearly grown in number and popularity and I would say you could find a podcast on just about any possible topic out there!!
Just take a look at the plethora of results on Google for podcasts!
Here are some that you and your senior loved ones might enjoy:
- Old Time Radio Mystery Theater
- OTR Detective – The Great Detectives Of Old Time Radio
- Old Time Radio Mystery Theater
Lets not forget the wonderful way that music can bring back memories! It can also help with mental stimulation and just be a great source of enjoyment.
Listening to music, singing along, and even dancing can be a great way to spend some quality time together.
I personally use my Alexa devices to play music throughout my home most all day long. Also, check the free Zoom sing-a-long programs at Music Mends Minds.
8. Online Courses
If you are like me and enjoy learning, then you can take this time to fulfill that passion!
If you wanted to learn art or music or a different language – there are courses for that.
Or perhaps you just want to brush up on theology, history, literature – you can do that too!
- Harvard Extension School
- Yale Open Courses
- Digitaldefynd has a list of 20 which include some I already mentioned
- Youtube also has multiple videos about these online courses
- Music lessons by Debbie Pierce – contact her by phone or email on her website
- Build your self confidence course (and many others) from International Open Academy
Almost everyone loves to read or listen to audio books.
It could be from books, magazines, newspapers or journals – there are written and audio publications to meet your area(s) of interest.
- It seems almost every book ever published can be found on Amazon!
- Kindle books are also a great alternative to hardcover. I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite model. It’s waterproof, includes twice the amount of storage than previous models and best of all, it can be read indoors AND outdoors!
- Consider joining a book club, even if it’s online.
- Library books on Kindle – did you know that you could read your local library’s books on Kindle – for free?
- Don’t forget that your local library can also be a wonderful place to visit and spend some time at.
- Amazon’s Alexa products can be used to read books via Audible.com and Kindle eBooks as well.
Update: Audible.com just made today (March 23, 2020) hundreds of their books available for FREE – so their library of free books has increased significantly. Check out the article on this topic here.
10. Connecting With Others
- Amazon’s Echo Show is a great way to keep in touch. You can use it to make phone calls and you can also use it to video chat with someone else who also has an Echo Show device.
- If you have an apple iphone then you can certainly use Facetime with other iphone users who also have the Facetime app.
- For us android phone users you can use Google Duo, Skype or WhatsApp for video chats. You can read more about them here.
- If you don’t mind using your computer or laptop for video calls you can use Zoom (free for 40 minute calls).
- Now is a great time to get in touch with long lost friends and acquaintances. Call them, or you can take some time to search for them on Facebook or even to Google them.
11. Games and Puzzles
There are many types of games that you could play alone or with others.
I would just recommend to be aware of the mental acuity and the fine motor skills that your senior loved one has.
You don’t want him/her to have a difficult time with the game and get frustrated.
- Card games
- Classic board games -like Chess or Checkers or Monopoly or Clue Retro Edition
- Nintendo Wii system – there are many games that senior adults may love. Agingavenues.com has a nice list of different video games to play with older adults
- Book games – these days there are a variety of book games like Sudoku, word puzzles, brain teasers and more.
- Jigsaw puzzles – There are many to choose from and this activity is a great way to relax.
- Kriss Kross Puzzle Books are my mom-in-law’s favorite!
- Adult coloring books – my mother loved doing these and spent many hours working on them. She had a good eye for color!
- Crossword puzzles – Look for large print crossword puzzles. Just makes it a bit easier to read and follow.
12. Arts And Crafts
My mother was a master at knitting and crochet and we would always encourage her to keep up with that activity.
Although there are many arts and crafts types of projects that can be done, when doing these with older adults it’s important to tap into what their past experiences have been, what they have enjoyed doing in the past, etc.
Activities don’t make any sense for older adults if it only ends up serving to frustrate them.
- Craft kits – there are many different types but this Craft Crush one may be fun for everyone.
- Artsy type of kits – for those of you who have an artistic flair (I don’t have an ounce of it) there are many kits like this string art one that may be fun.
- Wood craft kits – for those who like to work with wood pieces and reminisce a bit
- Youtube has lots of videos on arts and craft ideas to do with older adults. Here’s an example of one.
Many older adults enjoy gardening and it’s certainly something that many can do whether they live in a home or an apartment.
The trick is to make sure that it’s a safe activity.
You can read about my recommendations on how to make gardening safer for your senior loved ones in my article on Senior Gardening Tips – Making It Easy And Safe.
- For small, indoor gardening
- Walk in greenhouse – if you have the yard space and want to have your own greenhouse – this is an inexpensive way to do it!
- Seeds to plant – there are so many different varieties of things that you could plant to garden – the list is endless
Gardening outdoors is a fun way to work on improving your physical health but it can also be enjoyed even if the senior has mobility issues.
14. Learn Social Media
Join online clubs, share recipes, and learn new skills! Social media’s a treasure trove of activities for active minds.
15. Declutter Your Living Spaces
we all collect stuff but don’t give away much stuff. So, get to the task of cleaning out your home of the things you don’t want and/or don’t need any longer.
16. Organize Your Photos
maybe you want to put your photos in an album or online or on a flash drive or just organize them in a box.
It’s also a good time to get rid of all those photos of trees and rocks and landscapes that have no people in them and you can’t remember where that picture of that was.
17. Cook With Others
one of the things my late husband and I used to love to do was to cook a meal together. It was a great way to spend some time with each other.
You can work on new recipes, learn to make something new or work together to make your family’s favorites.
18. Feed Your Backyard Critters
whether you can feed birds, squirrels, chipmunks or deer – if you live in an area where you can provide food for these creatures then you can sit back and enjoy the time of watching them!
I know my cats are loving the bird feeder that I put out!
19. Build A Computer
for those of you who want to explore computers (and maybe robotics) – there are many kits available to do just that!
20. Discover Lego For Adults
Build vibrant memories, brick by brick! LEGO offers older adults a playful way to engage their minds, hands, and hearts.
From intricate botanical sets to buildings and so much more, there’s something for every passion and skill level.
21. Write Down Your Story
Whether you choose to write it in a journal, type it out on your typewriter, or work on a blog, it’s important to put your life experience out there!
You may not think you have anything to say that’s important, but your family and loved ones will be grateful for your words.
22. Celebrate Weird Holidays
There are a ton of quirky holidays out there, such as Christmas in July or National Ding-A-Ling Day.
Research the offbeat holidays that are happening currently (there is at least one every day!), then put together an activity to celebrate it.
I’m sure you can also come up with many other wonderful creative activities that both you and your elderly loved one can enjoy.
This article has affiliate or sponsored links. If you buy something through those links we may earn a small commission. This won’t cost you extra. We only recommend things we really think are good, not just to make money. For more details, see our Affiliate Disclaimer.