Life During Lockdown
Many senior living and long-term care communities have seen their activities come to a complete halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But social distancing does not mean the fun has to stop!
If you’re an activities professional wondering how to engage your residents in this new normal, fear not! Here some super fun, creative, and simple ways to entertain your seniors without the risk of infection and more importantly: without breaking your back or the bank.
10 Activity Ideas for Seniors During Lockdown
1. Social Distancing Hallway-Block Parties
Once a week (or more), turn on some Chubby Checker using a portable speaker in the hallways and you have yourself a Hallway-Block Dance Party! Music and dance provides numerous health benefits. Residents can dance as much or as little as they want, and you can get every floor grooving!
2. Beer-Cart Fridays
With one or more drink carts, visit your residents door-to-door, offering them beer (or wine) on Friday. This activity is a fun way to offer your residents social interaction while enjoying a beer or wine with their hallway neighbors—all while six feet apart. A few ways to spruce up a beer cart include: create themed beer cart with specific drinks being offered, consider including snacks, or liven it up by serving a knock-knock joke with every delivery!
3. Travel the World with Live Streaming
Live streaming is an awesome form of technology to take advantage of right now. From Europe to the national parks, to aquariums and art museums, there are various free virtual tours to try, and all you need is an iPad or smartphone. Bring devices to your residents and allow them to have a taste of a global experience, right from the comfort of their rooms. Here are a couple of links where you can find these FREE virtual resources:
4. Hallway Bingo
We know your residents LOVE Bingo! Print free Bingo cards from myfreebingocards.com and distribute two to five of these to your residents at the beginning of each week. Then, pick a day and time you want to play the game and call out the numbers in the hallway. Residents can play right from their doorways. Easy-peasy! You can make the games even bigger by using Skype or Zoom as well. Get Bingo going, Mathew McConaughey style!
5. Courtyard Fitness & Meditation
Have a large courtyard in the center of your community? Awesome! Every morning, have your residents come out to their balcony and see exercises and mindfulness practices in the courtyard they can follow along with. Keeping seniors active is important for their longevity. Working on balance, flexibility, and simple aerobic exercises can be done “Courtyard Style” or one-on-one.
Here are two videos televëda created that you can use to teach your residents!
6. Games, Puzzles, and All-Day Hunts
Try some socially distant games! In addition to getting the body moving, get your residents working their brains. Pass out individual word search sheets or crossword puzzles to the residents. You can then ask them to spend the day solving the puzzle and announce the winner at the end of the day. Or, pass along the games and announce the word the residents need to find within a set time. Whoever answers the quickest get a prize, whether that’s a treat or a socially distant high five. You decide!
Charades is always a crowd pleaser, no matter the crowd! It’s super interactive and no-touch, which is a perfect option during this time. You can get ideas from each resident on movies or books to act out, and put your “actor” on. Make sure you’re the only one handling the cards or written charade ideas.
8. Laughing Baskets
Make a laughing basket! Sounds funny already, right? This simple, quick activity has a ton of health benefits, and is possible for everyone to participate in. Laughing causes mental and physical changes to your body, including reducing tension, increasing motivation, improving memory, and enhancing one’s immune system. Who isn’t going to want to laugh?
And, it’s easy to do. Look up jokes online, and ask your residents to contribute their favorite jokes, or even funny stories they want to share. Then, every week you can share a new joke with everyone! This laughing basket can also morph into lots of things, depending on your residents interests. Ask them for some of their wisdom, lessons they’ve learned, or even interesting facts.
9. Drive-by Family Time
This may be the most touching gesture. Pick a day and let families know that they can drive by the community to say hello to their loved ones. Residents can wait by the driveway, families can follow them, and say hello. Perhaps display some handmade signs of love! It might be hard to find a dry eye in the crowd.
10. Meal Delivery Sing-along
Most likely you are delivering meals to your residents in their rooms. Caroling through the halls with residents’ favorite songs will add some fun to meal delivery, and really lift their spirits.
11. BONUS IDEA: Book Clubs!
Book clubs are an incredible way to stay mentally and socially active. By starting a weekly book club, you can get residents reading, thinking, and interacting consistently, and give them a schedule to look forward to. Choose a book for each hallway and alternate them each week. Not a lot of book lovers? Try a TV club and have residents start a series together!
And there you have it! 11 creative activity ideas for all of you activity directors and senior center staff that are doing such an incredible job at this time.