Indoor activities for seniors and caregivers this fall
There won't be any more movie theaters, bingo nights or crafting circles to distract us from the gloomy weather, at least not for a long while. There’s only so much you can do during a pandemic, especially when staying away from people is in the best interest of your health.
Here are some indoor activities for seniors to heighten the senses, take you to another world or pique your creativity.
Bake something with your caregiver
There’s nothing like the feeling of pulling something sweet out of the oven and tasting the tangible results of your work.
Baking also encourages mindfulness and being in the present moment. The Smithsonian Magazine published an article on how people who do creative activities, such as baking, report feeling more happy and relaxed on a daily basis.
As far as recipes go, you could start with one of the thousands of food blogs on the web, Love and Lemons. Their list of 25 Super Fun Baking Recipes include lemon cookies, brownies and a handful of outliers, like pistachio oat squares. You could spend all day scrolling through their colorful food photography and drool over photos of the Matcha Baked Doughnuts.
Baking is a way to express yourself creatively, but also can show someone you appreciate them. Is there a neighbor or friend that’s been helping you through the pandemic, whether emotionally or with daily tasks? With allergies taken into account, most people with any sort of heart would love to receive a homemade cake or tin of cookies.
So get out those measuring spoons and pull on an apron. Any stress you’re feeling might just melt away like the butter in a pan.
Read a story out loud
There’s something about gloomy skies and rain tapping at your window that sets a great backdrop for grown-up story time.
There are a surprising number of short stories you can find online that you or your caregiver can read out loud. To start with, look into Book Riot’s short stories online, which includes the Best American Short Stories that will debut at the end of the year.
Oprah Magazine has its own list of the best short stories spanning several genres that you can also read online for free. Their favorites range from Flannery O’Connor to Nigerian author Ngozi Adichie.
The widely-recognized publisher Penguin Random House has a host of 20 “must-read” collections of fiction stories by diverse authors and they all go for a reasonable price.
For longer reads, Indiebound is a wonderful site for finding books from local bookstores. Search your preferred title and the site will list local bookstores where you can pick up or have your book delivered from.
Break out a puzzle or board game
If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, an old-fashioned board game or game of anagrams might be the answer.
There’s Big Letter Bananagrams, which is similar to Scrabble but more fun- at least in my opinion. You can play with 1 to 8 players and the game goes fast. It’s about the size of a banana, not coincidentally, so it can be put away easily until the next game. Amazon has all the versions.
The board game Cranium caters to all types of personalities, as it involves acting, sketching, trivia and word definitions. This was a childhood favorite of mine, but they also have a version geared more for the vocabulary and pop knowledge of adults.
If you’re feeling dedicated and ambitious, you and your caregiver could tackle a puzzle.
Puzzle Warehouse has a whole range of jigsaws with extra large pieces so it’s easier on the eyes. You can choose from a wide array- including a charming one titled “Forest Gnomes” to a puzzle of aircraft used on both sides of World War II.
There’s always Monopoly if you have the time and patience for it.
Go for a bird-watching walk
With the Puget Sound, lakes, forest and nearby mountains, the Seattle area offers a range of habitat for native and migratory birds. You don’t have to venture far to spot a host of bird species, even in urban areas.
If you want to dive deeper into birding, you can check out the Seattle Audubon Society’s Bird Web. There, you can find a long checklist of birds that are native to or frequent the region, ranging from how common or “irregular” they are to the region depending on the month. For instance, the tiny and intricately marked Belted Kingfisher is fairly common during most of the year.
If the trails are calling to you, All Trails has a list of the best bird watching parks in the Seattle area. The Washington Park Arboretum, Green Lake and Discovery Park are few to top the list.
Maybe you’ve already tackled the hurdles of getting a profile set up on social media because being in the midst of a pandemic causes you to do things you normally wouldn’t.
Your caregiver can be great help in navigating Facebook or Instagram, and friending or following your friends and family. If nothing else, it’s a place to see photos of the people in your life.
Similarly, signing up for a Skype account can set you up to see your loved ones face-to-face if you just can’t see them in person. SeaCare has a blog on staying connected through the pandemic while keeping a safe distance.
See if the kids or the grandchildren would be up for setting a weekly time to get in touch and catch up. Everyone could use some more connection right now.
From personal anecdotes I’ve heard to seeing what people are up to on the internet, it’s evident that social distancing and shuttered economies are prompting people to get crafty.
Perhaps to capitalize on this growing trend, Paint by Numbers is offering free 4-day shipping at the moment. There’s a plethora of painting kits to choose from, such as the classic Starry Night by Van Gogh or a Claude Monet.
You can also order a custom kit and upload a personal photo that will be printed on canvas for you to paint. Shipping can take weeks on this one, so plan ahead if you want to paint anytime soon.
Both painting and coloring have shown to reduce stress and anxiety. For adult coloring books, Barnes and Noble has a varied selection you can order online, from the Anatomy of Yoga to Harry Potter to coloring books that encourage mindfulness.
Watch a classic
If the creative mood doesn’t strike you, then there’s no cozier or simpler thing to do than turn on a favorite oldie.
Esquire has a list of classics to watch on Netflix- some funny, some sad and some full of old-school special effects. The spectrum of films include What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Spike Lee’s first film, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Turner Classic Movies has an entire library to offer, such as the original Casino Royale and the first Tarzan movie from 1932. Keep in mind you can only watch these films through a TV service provider.
For something a little more recent, Hulu has a section of “‘80’s Binge” movies to watch. There’s Heathers, Footloose and also Elvira if you’re in the mood for a spooky movie.
With a little forethought and effort, both seniors and caregivers can enjoy a rainy day- or days- inside. Call SeaCare to find out how comprehensive our in-home care can be.