30 Indoor and Outdoor activities for Seniors Entertainment

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Being able to engage in enjoyable activities is one of the advantages of aging in place. Post-retirement is just the beginning of another new chapter, which means seniors can spend most of their time in recreational activities. But as we age, we become more and more aware of our inability to participate actively. Yet, various outdoor and indoor activities for seniors are perfect for the aging body, mind, and soul.

While solitary interests are therapeutic, social activities for seniors are quite beneficial. The Harvard School of Public Health found that seniors in the US who have an active social life have a slower rate of memory decline. That's why an active lifestyle is paramount to the well-being and health of seniors. In addition, they help build a community and strong social support system that's a vital part of aging. The good news is that there's a huge array of activities to choose from that will suit not only your loved one's preferences but also their lifestyle and functional ability.

Table Of Content

We've compiled a comprehensive list of indoor and outdoor activities and activities that a senior can do while in assisted living.

15 Indoor Activities for Seniors

The pandemic has changed the dynamics of how seniors spend their leisure time. Steps taken to be careful and socially isolate themselves may have been challenging, but this doesn't mean that they can't engage in fulfilling and fun activities. These indoor activities are the perfect solution to keep seniors busy while at home.

1. Indoor exercises:

indoor activities for seniors

With social isolation comes the risk of being sedentary. But seniors can do quite a few indoor exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, light aerobic Zumba, or even resistance training. One can make them more enjoyable by getting some tunes on, following a video tutorial, or getting a partner or caregiver involved. Of course, it's vital to choose the exercises based on a senior’s physical abilities. Chair yoga, for example, is a perfect option for those with limited mobility. Starting a balance training program also comes with numerous benefits besides recreation.

What you'll need: Exercise equipment such as a yoga mat, weights, and resistance bands, or any assistive mobility devices.

2. Conversations:

Talking and sharing have numerous benefits for their mental health and well-being. But unfortunately, the average American, aged 60 and over, spends more than half their waking hours alone – a kind of social isolation that negatively affects health. Therefore, quality time spent with your loved ones, talking about whatever they like, is one of the best things for seniors to do. So, you can get that old family album out and start those meaningful conversations.

What you'll need: A smart device (if you are communicating online).

Pro Tip - Things to Talk About with Your Grandma

3. Movie night:

Spending time with your loved ones by watching movies together or encouraging them to watch one independently is also a good source of senior entertainment. Seniors can reminisce over some of their favorite golden classics. With several free online resources and subscriptions, finding that perfect movie won't be hard.

 What you'll need: A TV or computer and a subscription to an OTT platform.


4. Hobbies, arts and crafts

Spending time getting creative and productive is very rewarding. Seniors can enjoy painting, pottery, crocheting, or even making a birdhouse at home. However, make sure they take the necessary precautions while working with tools, and keep the workstation clutter-free to avoid accidents.

What you'll need: Art and craft supplies.

5. Puzzles and games that are cognitively stimulating:

Cognitively stimulating activities have a range of benefits for the elderly, including building up your cognitive reserve and relieving stress. This is especially good for those who may suffer from memory loss, mild dementia, or Alzheimer's. Puzzles, interactive games, and board games, like chess, are both fun and challenging, and a senior can enjoy them alone, with family or a caregiver.

What you'll need: Puzzles, board games, a computer or smartphone.

6. Reading: 

Reading indoor activity for seniors

Reading is another activity seniors can choose to do alone or with somebody. Reading aloud or having a mini book club are great ways to get others involved and keep things interesting. Those with vision impairment can consider listening to an audiobook or getting a Kindle. 

What you'll need: A good book, a smartphone, Kindle, or even a smart home device like the Amazon Alexa.

Bonus read for you - 6 Smart Home Devices for Seniors

7. Self-care or pampering/spa day:

Self-care is another way seniors can boost their mood, relax and beat stress. A DIY manicure, aromatherapy soak in the tub, or herbal foot soak are examples of some easy things to do at home, either alone or with the help of a caregiver.

What you'll need: Essential oils, beauty products and tools, and daily assistive aids.

Bonus Read - Daily Living Aids for Seniors That Make Life Easier

8. Learning a skill:

Learning a new skill is a productive and fulfilling way to spend time indoors. Whether it's learning a new language, how to paint, or how to bake, several resources are available online such as YouTube tutorials that will be helpful.

What you'll need: A computer or smartphone to access these videos and the necessary materials related to the skill.

9. Indoor gardening:

indoor gardening for seniors

There's something very satisfying about nurturing indoor plants. Indoor gardening is an extensive activity that includes planting seeds, repotting, watering, and more that will keep a senior quite occupied.

What you'll need: Indoor plants, seeds, starters, gardening equipment, and mobility aids for safety.

10. Writing or journaling:

Writing is considered very therapeutic as well as cognitively stimulating. Seniors can take the time to pen down their memoirs, write poetry or prose, or write about what's on their minds. Journaling has been found to have numerous benefits, including boosting mood, improving memory, reducing stress, and positive health outcomes.

What you'll need: A computer or journal/ notebook is all you need for this one.

11. Online shopping:

A little retail therapy now and then doesn't hurt, and online shopping is a great way to do it from the comfort of your own home. For those who like a good bargain, this can be a rewarding activity.

What you'll need: All you need is a computer or smartphone.

12. Live streaming favorite events such as concerts, lectures, or sermons:

Being indoors doesn't mean your loved one has to miss out on being part of a live social event. Thanks to the growing popularity of live streaming these days, they can still attend their favorite lectures, musical concerts, or sermons and share these moments with a companion. This way, they don't have to feel like they're missing out on being a part of a bigger community.

What you'll need: A smartphone or computer.

13. Meditation:

Although a disciplined activity, meditation doesn't necessarily require any training or expertise. By following a simple routine or using the many available resources, seniors can reap many benefits from this indoor activity. It reduces stress, improves sleep, and alleviates menopause symptoms, to name a few.

What you'll need: Meditation doesn't require any equipment, but music or an object to focus on can help.

14. Cooking and baking:

cooking and baking for seniors

Cooking your favorite meal or baking some treats in the kitchen is a wonderful way to relax, try a new skill, or spend quality time with loved ones. There's something very satisfying about cooking for loved ones and getting the family involved. Ensure that the kitchen is a safe place for seniors to cook in, with non-slip flooring and easy access to appliances and storage.

What you'll need: A safe kitchen and ingredients to cook.

15. Teaching or passing on wisdom:

Whether it's helping grandkids with their science homework or talking about their experiences during life's milestone moments, seniors appreciate being valued for their knowledge and wisdom. This is also a great way for a senior to socialize and not feel isolated, be it in person or through an online communication portal such as Skype or Zoom.

What you'll need: A computer or smartphone (if communicating online).

15 Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Spending time outdoors is an important part of aging in place as it can greatly enhance a senior's well-being. Whether it's a physical activity or sitting on a park bench breathing fresh air, outings for seniors do a world of good. Here's a list of activities seniors can enjoy being outdoors:

1. Gardening:

There's a good reason why gardening is a popular activity among seniors who age in place. Gardening provides them with a good amount of aerobic exercise and exposure to sunlight that translates to getting adequate amounts of vitamin D. Studies have also shown that gardening could lower the risk of dementia by 36%. 

What you'll need: Gardening equipment.

2. Fishing:

outdoor activities for seniors

This long-cherished pastime is enjoyable for men and women alike. Fishing is a versatile activity that the elderly can do independently as a hobby or with others such as a partner or grandchildren, making it a great way to socialize. It is a preferred outdoor activity that requires minimal physical effort and a basic amount of knowledge and skill.

What you'll need: You will need fishing equipment and a fold-up chair. 

3. Walking or hiking:

It can be as easy as stepping outside the house to walk around the neighborhood or driving to the countryside to hike through beautiful surroundings. It can be for as far as your loved ones like and as easy or difficult as you, and they can manage. Walking can also be a solitary activity or one that a senior can engage in with fellow hikers.

What you'll need: You'll need a good pair of shoes and a walking stick if necessary.

4. Outdoor photography:

Outdoor photography is a stimulating activity that doesn't require much physical exertion. Seniors can choose to make this a solitary pastime or a social event with friends. Self-expression and creativity are vital to a senior's well-being, and although this hobby requires some investment, it's deeply fulfilling in many ways.

What you'll need: A good camera and a computer.

5. Painting:

seniors outdoor activity

Like photography, painting is another one of those creatively fulfilling outdoor activities for seniors. It motivates your loved ones to spend plenty of time outdoors and create something tangible that they can be proud of. 

What you'll need: An easel, some paints, and a canvas.

6. Picnics:

Picnics can be great social activities for seniors where family and friends are also involved. These don't require elaborate planning, as even a meal at the local park is enjoyable. What's more important is the company and the quality time spent with them. 

What you'll need: Food, folding chairs, mats, and a beautiful spot to enjoy.

7. Going to a café or lunch with friends:

Regular meetings with friends at a café or restaurant are an activity that all age groups enjoy. However, this is highly beneficial for seniors who choose to age in place by ensuring a strong social support system. In addition, it gives them something to look forward to in the week and offers them a chance to express themselves and enjoy a good laugh.

What you'll need: All you need is some good company for this one.

8. Exercise and sports such as swimming and golf:

Participating in sports activities, such as swimming, golf, or badminton, can be tricky with the limits of aging but can be very beneficial to a senior's well-being. They also create opportunities to socialize or be part of a team. However, be sure to consider your loved one's health and always consult a physician before undertaking these activities.

What you'll need: Sports gear and proper shoes.

9. Attending sporting events:

If a senior is unable to take part in sports, they may still enjoy them as spectators. A weekly sporting event can become something to look forward to with family and friends. Rooting for a team gives seniors a community feeling as well.

What you'll need: Nothing is needed here besides knowing the game schedule of your favorite team.

10. Attending community events:

Community events such as funfairs, bake sales, a 4th of July barbecue, or charity sale are fun and make seniors feel like vital community members by attending them or getting involved. Studies have shown that social activities and participation are vital in ensuring senior welfare and health. Staying in touch with local organizations and schools can help find out when the next event is and how they can help.

11. Walking the dog:

Taking care of a pet is a deeply gratifying thing for many seniors for many reasons. These furry companions offer unconditional love and benefit the physical and mental health of seniors. Taking your dog out for a walk isn't just a routine task but also an opportunity to bond with your companion and enjoy nature at the same time.

What you'll need: A furry friend.

12. Taking the grandchildren out:

One of the most rewarding things for seniors to do is spend time with their grandchildren and take them out, maybe to the zoo, the seaside, or even to the local park. This is beneficial for both grandparents and grandchildren alike. Some of the perks include getting some physical exercise, bonding, and making precious memories.

What you'll need: Your grandchildren and a plan to look forward to!

13. Trips to the farmer's markets:

Being a regular at the local farmer's market is a rewarding activity. One can sell their home-garden produce or support local farmers by buying healthy and organic food that's good for health. An outing like this helps seniors get to know the local community, creates a sense of camaraderie, and supports a more sustainable and eco-friendly food supply alternative.

What you'll need: A mode of transport or somebody to drive you.


14. Sightseeing:

If nature isn't your thing, interesting local sights, museums, and buildings can be worth visiting. Many tours, specially designed for elders, are available locally and otherwise to provide an interesting outing, with an interesting company to socialize with.

What you'll need: Access to tour brochures, guides, and transport.

15. Bird watching:

Like most hobbies, learning the skill and getting to be part of a community of fellow bird-watchers is a rewarding and engaging thing for seniors to do. This activity, however, entails spending a lot of time outdoors before you spot that rare bird. Therefore, keep your loved one’s physical condition in mind and go at their pace.

What you'll need: A good pair of binoculars, a bird book, a flask full of coffee, and some refreshments!

Here's a list of things for seniors to do while in assisted living 

Seniors can still find ways to have fun, socialize, learn and challenge themselves while in assisted living. Both outdoor and indoor activities for seniors in assisted living can help them live happier and healthier lives. Here are some weekly activities they can enjoy: 

1. Dancing:

Dancing is a popular event at senior communities and can be a daily impromptu or a planned weekly event that seniors can look forward to. It can involve various dancing styles, including ballroom, line, or square dancing, and provide a wonderful way for seniors to socialize, express themselves and stay fit.

2. Entertainment or movie night:

Whether it's a weekly movie night or a live entertainment event, such as stand-up comedy, visiting choirs, or a drama group, seniors look forward to a good Saturday night gig. You can invite friends and family to make things even more special.

3. Meditation or Tai Chi:

outdoor entertainment activity

Organized indoor exercise such as regular mediation, Tai Chi, yoga, or aerobics makes fitness fun for seniors while they reap the many benefits of staying active and self-aware.

4. Karaoke night:

Karaoke is a blast for seniors who live in a community as they choose to either sit back and enjoy or take part in the singing contest. This senior entertainment activity is a good way to get them to socialize and show off their hidden talents.

5. Community Events (such as charity events, art shows, bake sales, food festivals):

Some communities and local institutions organize events such as carnivals, food festivals, bake sales, and even senior-specific events such as senior proms, which can be lots of fun for seniors to participate in. Find out if any are happening in your local area and whether they are senior-friendly.

6. Game night:

Traditional games such as bingo and virtual games make stimulating activities for senior entertainment. Most communities also hold game nights where seniors can choose from various games, including poker, blackjack, scrabble or virtual bowling, golf, and baseball.

7. Field trips and excursions:

Seniors need opportunities to go out, get some fresh air and see new places. The staff at assisted living communities can plan regular outings for seniors to local museums, sporting events, concerts, movies, nature trail walks, or picnics. This is stimulating and good for cognition, and a great way to bond with companions. See if you can get your loved one involved based on his or her ability levels. 

Final Thoughts

Activities are not just things to keep seniors busy but fulfill a basic need to have fun, explore and stay cognitively and socially stimulated. While these activities greatly benefit your loved ones, it is the closeness they foster and the memories they create that make them enjoyable for everyone involved. However, every senior has a different range of preferences along with mental and physical ability levels. Therefore, it is important to offer options to them while keeping their physical and mental state in mind. 

Read top 5 facts you need to know about aging

If your loved one needs more assistance with physical activities, here is the next step for their well-being - 25 fun balance exercises for the elderly.

 

    FAQs

    1. What do 80-year-olds do for fun?

    Seniors enjoy all sorts of indoor and outdoor activities that can either be solitary or social. Some of these include;

    • fishing
    • walking
    • dancing
    • mediation
    • listening to audiobooks
    • taking care of their pets
    • spending time with their grandchildren
    • attending community events
    • solving puzzles and playing games

    2. How do I keep my elderly entertained at home?

    While your loved one is home-bound, it doesn’t mean they have to get bored. There are several indoor activities for seniors that can be fun and productive. Some of these include;

    • Indoor gardening
    • Exercising (yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or resistance training)
    • Having conversations with loved ones on Skype
    • Watching movies
    • Reading
    • Writing or journaling
    • Hobbies, arts and crafts
    • Learning a new skill or language, etc.

    3. What do old people like to do outside?

    Spending time outdoors does a world of good for a senior’s mental and physical well-being. They like to spend time outdoors just as much as we do but have to keep their physical functional abilities and health in mind before engaging in any outdoor activity. Some things outdoor activities for seniors include;

    • Walking or hiking
    • Sightseeing or going on excursions
    • Outdoor photography
    • Gardening
    • Golfing
    • Fishing
    • Going on picnics
    • Attending sporting events, etc.

    4. What activities are good for seniors?

    There are many outdoor and indoor activities for seniors that are enjoyable and beneficial to a senior’s mental and physical well-being. While solitary activities can be therapeutic, social activities have numerous benefits as well. Some of these include;

    • Indoor exercises such a yoga, Tai Chi, aerobics, and Pilates
    • Walking
    • Golfing
    • Gardening
    • Fishing
    • Painting
    • Learning a new skill
    • Having meaningful conversations with loved ones
    • Cooking and Baking

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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