Written by Suzie Carmona, Occupational Therapist, OTR/L at United Rehabilitation Services (URS)
We all may be tired of being at home, but do not despair! We still can have fun! Since the stay-at-home order first began, I have realized how much I love being with others and staying busy. This is not unique to me and I imagine many of the special people we love that are seniors with developmental disabilities feel the same.
To keep minds active, here are some ideas to engage with our elder loved ones in our own homes:
- Play “Name That Tune” – Include favorites from the individual’s era and add more contemporary songs to the mix. This provides a chance for your loved one to reminisce about what meaning that song has to them and think about associated memories.You can find songs online through YouTube, Spotify, and Google.
- Play “Guess That Show” – Look up theme songs from popular old TV shows or movies and have them guess where the song is from. I’ll bet you may even know some of the theme songs, no matter your age! YouTube, Spotify, and Google are good places to find the theme songs.
- Have a sing along – Whether or not you have a stellar voice, belt the song out and have some fun! Include some of your loved ones favorite songs to the mix.
- Dance, Dance, Dance I’ve found I’m an amazing dancer while seated! How about your senior? If they like to “cut up the rug” . . . GO FOR IT!
Game or Table Top Activities:
- Put Together Puzzles – Easy-to-harder varieties are great! Puzzles are sold online and in stores.
- Do Dot-to-dot Drawings – Again, easy-to-harder can be fun. There are many free templates online that you can print off.
- Paint – Expressive painting is so much fun, especially when choosing the colors. Use your creativity to choose paints, painting tools, and methods. Different painting methods such as using sponges, stencils or printing can be used. You can also add a little texture by gluing on objects to your dried “Masterpiece”, such as pieces of fabric, old buttons, bottle caps, old keys, marbles etc.
- Video Bingo – Play Bingo with family and friends using Zoom or other video call sources.Scan bingo boards and email them to those who are playing ahead of time.
- Play Board Games – Play your loved one’s favorite board games. You can even play board games popular from their childhood.
- Color – Coloring books are the rage right now! You can find coloring books to fit anyone’s interests online and in stores.
- Make jewelry – String large colorful beads together to create bracelets and necklaces to wear.
- Bake Cakes – Look up simple recipes that have videos you can watch together; then make it. No-bake recipes work well if using the oven is not a possibility. If using the oven is ok, Dump-cakes and Cola-Cola cakes are fun and easy to make.
- Make Childhood Favorites – Make a recipe reminiscent of your senior’s childhood. Certain smells can elicit certain memories.
- Take walks – Walk around the neighborhood or in safe places with your loved ones.
- Exercise – Dance or participate in an exercise program approved by your loved one’s doctor. Seated exercises with beach balls can be a blast especially with the right music. Here are some great “how-to” videos from our Physical Therapist, Renee Roberts!
- Listen to AudioBooks or Podcasts – There are a number of great books and podcasts you can find to listen to together. Libby is a great app to connect with your library’s online audiobook collection. Other good apps include Stitcher and iTunes for podcasts.
- Sit and Sip – Sit together to enjoy each other’s company with a warm drink in hand.
- Observe Nature – Sitting in the sunshine and listening to nature or watching squirrels chase each other can bring a smile to anyone’s face.
- Set Up a Video Call Party – ZOOM and video calls can be so much fun. Invite friends and family to
a themed-party such as funny hats, sports, or even favorite vacation spots.
With a little creativity, make this season together special because we know time is precious.
Occupational Therapist, United Rehabilitation Services