Whether we like it or not, life hasn't been the same since the coronavirus pandemic started. The threat to our health combined with the continuous lockdowns and social distancing has affected our daily activities. Movement is being controlled to prevent the infection from spreading any further. Therefore, we are forced to remain within the confinement of our homes to protect ourselves.
In this situation, the people we try to protect the most are the kids, those with pre-existing conditions, and older adults. The elderly aren't as physically healthy or active as they were before, rendering them vulnerable to the virus. They have to be extra careful because various cases have shown that they aren't as susceptible to fighting off the effects of the virus as well as younger individuals can.
However, being stuck at home isn't easy for some seniors either. Isolation may also leave negative effects on the well-being of the elderly due to various reasons.
In line with that, we need to find ways to keep seniors' spirits up while staying at home. This blog post will share a list of fun activities for the elderly that can be done while indoors.
In line with the actions against Covid-19, the Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) has re-established the Phase 2 Heightened Alert. This has started in July 2021 to prevent the increasing Covid-19 clusters. Once again, companies are advised to revert to work-from-home arrangements and social gatherings are only allowed for parties of 2 (maximum). Only the establishments tending to essentials are allowed to operate and restaurants are operating with "take-out" and "delivery" options.
This means that members of the community are highly advised to remain at home. Movement is being reduced to stop the further spread of the virus in the local areas. To know more, click here.
Lacking social interaction with other people may not be as big of a problem for younger adults compared to those who are older. As we age, our cognitive and physical abilities slowly decline which happens naturally. Therefore, isolation may be a bigger deal for seniors. Not being able to surround themselves with people, especially their loved ones, may cause certain issues to arise that can decrease their quality of life.
But is it really possible to link loneliness to social isolation?
According to this study, experiencing social isolation and loneliness may lead to or increase the risk of physical and mental health issues such as:
This study emphasizes the idea that seniors who feel lonely or are separated from family and friends are more likely to develop the aforementioned medical conditions. Furthermore, those people who participate in productive and meaningful activities with others are more bound to live longer. Engaging in activities helps maintain their well-being and also gives them a sense of purpose. Studies have also shown that it improves their cognitive function.
Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic may have put limitations on almost everything. We may have had to make huge adjustments to survive. However, the downsides of the lockdowns and social isolation can be bearable as long as we strive to find means on how to make our lives purposeful. Even if we're stuck in our houses, let's continuously make an effort to stay active to keep ourselves not just sane, but happy even.
For our beloved seniors, we must encourage them to keep the sparks in them alive. They can do this by staying mentally and physically active. There are plenty of activities that they can do even within the confinements of their home. They might not be able to do the things they used to do outside or with their peers, but at least they will still be free to do things that will keep their mind and body strong and active.
Engaging in activities will also keep the mind away from problems or other worrying matters. Feeling stressed and anxious all the time is also bad for the health. Activities are good distractions that will also make their time more worth spending rather than sitting and moping around. It will provide various benefits that will make each of their days something to look forward to.
Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor activities for seniors to choose from. This way, social isolation won't be too much of a drag. It's even better if, being their family members or loved ones, we can join them in these activities. Doing them with the people you care about makes it more fun and meaningful experience.
Without further a due, here's the list of the best indoor activities for seniors:
Seniors can play board games and card games not just for fun but also to exercise the brain. Playing these types of games will help improve their cognitive abilities and it's also a great way to spend time with the people they're cooped up with. This will challenge their brain by getting them to think strategically to win.
One of the best activities for seniors, doing arts and crafts is a great way to enhance their creative side. This could be a good way to reduce stress because being so focused on the task will make them feel calm and at ease. Some notable examples of fun art and crafts activities are painting, basket-weaving, wood-carving, sculpting, embroidery, knitting, and many more.
This activity is commonly associated with seniors, well, mainly due to its importance in health. But truth be told, enhancing motor skills is actually a stone that hits two birds: For one, it helps uplift the mood and maintain a positive lifestyle. Two, engaging in exercises will strengthen the body and boost the immune system which is vital in combat against the virus. Though they cannot join fitness classes outside or go to the gym, seniors are free to do some walking or jogging within their neighborhood (alone) or they can take virtual fitness classes like yoga, Tai Chi, or even Zumba.
Solving puzzles is another great way to exercise the brain. According to studies, doing jigsaw puzzles actually enhances cognitive abilities and visual-spatial reasoning. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together requires proper focus and concentration. It's great for improving short-term memory and problem-solving skills. This is one of the activities that seniors under dementia care engage in to enhance their memory or reduce the progression of their disease.
Seniors may also try to engage in sports, as long as they don't have any pre-existing condition that tells them not to. Mobility is important in a senior's life because the more they move around, the stronger they feel. Those who prefer to just sit or lie around are at risk to feel weaker. Sports is just as important as exercise because it touches certain aspects of our mind and body that in turn improves overall health.
Surrounding ourselves with people we love is an important factor to feel happy. Social isolation can sometimes drive us crazy and spending too much time on social media isn't exactly making things any better either. Instead, let's make time to converse and play games with our loved ones. Even though it's only a virtual thing, it's still better than having no contact at all.
Pets are known to be therapeutic and can drastically change an unhappy person's life. A senior who lives alone but does not want to feel lonely can consider adopting a pet. Dogs and cats are usually the chosen ones but there are plenty of other animals out there that we can provide a home for. Having pets inside a home may improve your elderly loved one's mental state because their presence can light up a room. Pets are very loving and genuine.
This factor is actually important whether or not there is a lockdown. Starting new hobbies is essential in gaining self-fulfillment. A hobby enables us to cultivate our minds and hone new skills. It's like a job, except that instead of paying you with money, it rewards you with happiness and fulfillment. Hobbies can be turned into passions (and sometimes even income-generators). Encourage your elderly loved ones to search for a hobby to make their time fruitful, especially since they're mostly all retirees at this point.
Music is just like laughter, it's one of the best medicines. It's funny how listening to music is vital, whatever emotion we are feeling. We listen to music when we're happy and we also do it when we're sad or angry. For some reason, music just helps people feel at ease. Life is more colorful with music. This is why seniors should fill their house with music more or even try learning how to play a musical instrument.
Many young adults try to find their belongingness in this world as they begin to explore life as it is. The same goes for seniors. Even when it seems they're finally "done" with life, a lot of them actually feel a strong need for self-belongingness. This is why the elderly should join a group. Being in a group or a community that shares the same ideas and experiences as them makes them feel less lonely. It somehow creates a safe space for them because there are like-minded people that they can talk to or spend time with. Encourage your elderly loved one to join support groups (if they're going through something) or hobby-related groups such as a book club or a fitness group.
Gardening is a very healthy and fun way to spend time. Plants and flowers require continuous care so tending to them will give the elderly enough mobility and physical exercise. It's great for reducing the risk of medical issues like osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Also, they can plant more fruits and vegetables through gardening (which they can add to their healthy meals).
Cooking may seem like a necessity, especially if you don't have a helper in your home. But the thing is, cooking is more essential in terms of how it impacts seniors' overall health. It is a type of activity that stimulates nearly all the senses: sight, smell, taste, and touch. Cooking allows us to experience various sensations whenever we smell or taste what we're cooking. It's also ideal for practicing proper hand-eye coordination through movements like stirring, chopping, and others. Plus, cooking food is sometimes better than just ordering in.
The essence of learning never stops. People of all ages can take classes and learn new things. Even if you've been a professional for 40 years, you can still be a student if you want to venture into a new career or if you simply want to finish a degree for self-satisfaction. Joining classes will not only cultivate your mind and skills, but it will also enable you to form friendships with new people. (even if it's just virtual for now)
Seniors may be ill-advised from going out, but that doesn't mean you can never step out! Getting some fresh air every once in a while is good for the mind and the body. Being cooped up inside your house can be a little suffocating at times. Older adults need to get some fresh air and sunshine to improve their brain functioning, quality of sleep, and to feel calm and relaxed. This is especially ideal for seniors with pre-existing conditions or those with dementia.
Surely, this pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone, especially for older adults. The world has changed and there are things we couldn't normally go back to. But fortunately, we can always still turn things around. Even if we're at home, let's continuously find things to do to make our lives more fruitful and interesting. If you want your elderly loved one to still experience a good quality of life, help them reduce stress and stay active by engaging in fun and recreational activities.
Also, for seniors who cannot live independently or require constant care and attention, we recommend moving them into a home for the aged. Here, they will receive proper nursing care, assistance, and support and they will also get to participate in social activities and events that will significantly improve their overall well-being.