If you’re the sort of person who spends summer months tending a gorgeous garden, reaps the benefits of the harvest in the fall, and plans a spring vacation before the leaves have even fallen, winter can be tough. There’s less to do, and less light by which to do it. Scientists say that this can even cause depression. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide in a blanket fort all winter, waiting for warmer weather and more fun. These great indoor activities for seniors may convince you that getting cozy can be fun, too.
Tend a Garden
If you love tending a lush garden in the warmer months, you don’t have to give it up just because it’s cold outside. Cold-weather annuals such as snapdragons, pansies, and violas are hardy in the southern half of the United States, even when the temperature dips below freezing. You really can grow flowers year-round.
Too cold where you live? Invest in houseplants. Succulents are fun and easy — and you only need a few to grow a huge garden. Simply cut off a few leaves, stick them in soil, and you’ll grow babies before you know it. Orchids can fill your home with vibrant colors, and greenery such as pothos and spider plants offer a taste of warmer temperatures indoors.
Feeling really ambitious? Invest in indoor lights and try growing a citrus tree or lettuce. Or check out hydroponic gardening. An AeroGarden is a great beginner’s option.
Set a Reading Goal
There’s nothing quite like curling up with a blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and a good book. Try setting a winter reading goal to give yourself a bit of a challenge. You might try to finish a series, aim to read all the Pulitzer winners from a specific decade, or accept recommendations from loved ones.
Need something a bit more social? You don’t have to leave the warmth of your home to join a book club. Check out this list of virtual book clubs.
Adopt an Animal Friend
It’s a tough time to be a stray. Bring a lost or abandoned animal indoors and hunker down for the winter together. The winter months are an ideal time to train a puppy, cuddle up with a cat, or give a senior pet a second shot at a great life. Check out Petfinder.com to find your perfect animal match.
Master a New Skill
It’s never too late to learn something new. Indeed, doing so may help your brain stay healthy and engaged, potentially preventing dementia. There’s a whole world of free online classes, virtual lessons, and YouTube videos from experts who can help you learn everything from how to play the fiddle to how to build a kitchen table. So spend some time searching online for your perfect teacher, then start learning today.
Play Video Games
Think video games don’t belong on a list of indoor activities for seniors? Think again! Video games are actually a great way to engage your mind and body. Words with Friends keeps your verbal thinking sharp, while Wii Fit games can offer a meaningful workout without leaving home. So invite the grandkids over for a tournament — or ask them to recommend their favorite game. Not only will you master a new skill, but you’ll also be better at connecting with the young gamers in your life.
Become a Writer
Your retirement is a great time to share your thoughts with the world — or at least memorialize them for your family. Try starting a blog on Medium or Blogger. If that feels too daunting, you can share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook as they arise. And if you really get into writing, the time might be right to finally start writing your memoirs. If creative writing is more your style, check out this great book of prompts to help you get started.
No matter what your winter holiday traditions are, adapting them to the needs of the senior you love can be difficult. Check out our free guide, “Home for the Holidays.”