With the COVID-19 pandemic underway, it’s especially important to keep those at higher risk safe, including older adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Your first priority: Make sure your older loved ones are prepared with a stocked pantry and an ample supply of medications. Read the CDC recommendations here.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to postpone visits if your loved one lives in a senior living community, including Arbor communities, or if you have any reason to suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
But if you’re already staying at home with your older loved one and have taken these precautions, you may be wondering how you will pass the time over the next few weeks and possibly months. We’ve got some ideas for indoor activities for seniors that will help you enjoy your “quarantime” together.
YouTube: Many classic TV shows and commercials are available on YouTube. Use your iPad or other device to watch them. Ask your loved one about his or her old favorites and then watch them together.
Puzzles: Puzzles are fun at any age, but studies suggest that jigsaw puzzles and other “brain teasers” can help keep the mind sharp and possibly delay the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Pick up an inexpensive puzzle, set it up on a card table and work on it a little at a time.
Board and Card Games: Break out a deck of cards or a board game like Monopoly, and enjoy this fun, easy way of spending time together.
Home Movies: You know all those videotapes and video files you’ve collected over the years but never actually watched? Now’s a good time to dig them out and watch them. Pop some popcorn and turn it into a party. Take this opportunity to collect favorites to have digitized so that you can easily watch at any time.
Online Classes: YouTube offers thousands of tutorials for everything from how to tie a man’s tie to knitting and basic home repair. Take a class online and try something new with your loved one. (Or, if you’ve always wanted to ask Mom to teach you how to crochet, or to make her special biscuits, now’s the time!)
Storytelling: Older people have many interesting life experiences and much wisdom to share – yet almost no one asks. Invite your family member to share his or her most interesting or favorite memories. Ask leading questions: Dad, can you tell me about your first job delivering newspapers as a kid? Mom, what did you eat when money was tight during the Depression?
You'll be amazed at how meaningful it is for an older adult to have someone listen to him or her.
Cooking: Cook a favorite dish for your loved one, or with them if possible. If your loved one has dietary restrictions, find some quick and easy recipes online and try adapting them to your loved one’s needs.
Chair Exercises: It’s important to stay active. If your senior has mobility issues, consider trying some chair exercises together. Here are four chair exercises, with video demonstrations, to get you started.
Bonus: These ideas work well when it’s too hot to go out, or the weather’s bad, too!
Finally, remember that during this time, it’s important to stay isolated but not necessarily indoors. If your senior loved one is able, and the weather is good, it’s fine to take a walk or visit a park. Just keep your distance – at least 6 feet away – from others.