Coronavirus has certainly turned life upside down for all of us in one way or another, preventing society from socialising and going about daily lives, leaving us feeling somewhat unsettled and anxious.
However, those who are over 70 and considered as vulnerable are advised to be extra careful while self-isolating and minimise their contact with the outside world. This means they are more likely to restrict their activities significantly to reduce chances of contracting Coronavirus.
If you fall into this group and are self-isolating with or without a loved one or carer, it’s important to make sure that you’re continuing with activities that you’ve always enjoyed and at your own pace. It’s vital to stay upbeat and to keep your mind active and spirits uplifted. We recommend continuing to connect with your passions which will promote your physical and mental health during this worrying time.
If there’s at least one positive thing to take from being in lockdown is that it’s the perfect opportunity to do all of the things we’ve wanted to do that we haven’t had time to pre-lockdown, whether that’s reading more books, trying out a new hobby or taking part in more exercise.
The team at Quality Life UK understand that it can sometimes be challenging to find suitable and fun activities to do at home that are appropriate for seniors. That’s why we’ve listed a few ideas below, which are all brilliant ways to promote positive mental health and can be enjoyed with or without a loved one or carer.
Staying active and taking part in exercise outside or in public is hard for everyone when we’re advised to stay home. This is particularly true for the elderly who may also have limited mobility and are having to minimise contact with the outside world due to being at increased risk of Coronavirus.
To help you stay active and moving, there are many physical activities that you can do from the comfort of your own home. For example, you can take part in chair exercises, stair-stepping, gentle stretching and lifting household objects. Even ensuring you stand and walk around the house more regularly is beneficial for your health.
Remember that keeping active is not only good for your physical health but for your mental health too. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated, to not overdo it, to use flat surfaces to prevent trips and falls and to always keep someone informed of what you’re doing. If you need assistance, let your loved one or carer know, if you have one.
Gardening is becoming a super popular hobby among the elderly during this uncertain time and we can see why!
This therapeutic activity not only reduces stress and mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, but it also combats high blood pressure, gently improves overall physical fitness and provides a sense of responsibility, routine and purpose. All whilst you connect with nature and get your daily dose of fresh air in the sunshine!
For those who aren’t mobile enough to pull out tough weeds or dig up piles of dirt, there are alternatives that are more gentle on the joints that still give you the same benefits and keep you moving. For example, potting small plants or creating a mini herb garden or vegetable patch are ideal and can both be maintained indoors and outdoors. You’ll be eating the fruits of your labour whilst you remain at home and without putting too much strain on your body.
Now that your outdoor space is looking and feeling good, take a look at how you can do the same for the indoors. Similar to gardening, keeping the inside of your house clean, tidy and in order can give you a sense of structure, purpose, responsibility and routine, which is especially beneficial for those who are living with early stages of dementia.
Completing household tasks on a daily basis, such as making your bed, setting and clearing the table for meals, organising your wardrobe and even pairing up socks aren’t only satisfying to do, but also improves your mood and stimulates cognitive processes, keeping you mentally sharp.
Now is the perfect opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen and cooking and baking are ideal activities to do either by yourself or with a loved one or live-in carer.
They both have some physical health benefits as using methods, such as peeling vegetables, stirring a pan and sieving flour can keep joints moving and improve dexterity. They also have mental health benefits by awakening the senses and triggering positive memories, increasing enjoyment and appetite, which can sometimes be a struggle in later years, especially if you’re feeling worried and anxious through such an uncertain time.
Freshly preparing a home-cooked meal can also give you a great sense of achievement and comes with its own health benefits as cooking things from scratch can save you a shed load of calories. If you take the time to plan out your meals, you’re more likely to follow recipes and choose fresh ingredients, such as fruit and vegetables, which are packed full of those all-important vitamins and minerals, crucial for your later years in life.
Arts and crafts are one of the best activities that seniors can partake in and there are so many possibilities out there of what you can create, no matter your ability. Examples of arts and crafts that you can enjoy include papercraft, cardmaking, knitting, crochet, painting, sewing, quilting and jewellery making, all of which can be made seasonally and make perfect gifts for loved ones or lovely decorations for your home.
Crafting is such a therapeutic and creative activity to do at home and helps develop and stimulate your brain, engaging your problem-solving skills and imagination, two areas of which can be typically unused as we age. It can also help to improve hand-eye coordination abilities, concentration skills, a range of cognitive abilities and mental health, building confidence, and providing a sense of purpose and achievement.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, then scrapbooking could be the perfect home activity for you and is a really fun way to pass the time whilst looking back on lovely memories, making us feel positive and happy.
Sorting through photographs, selecting items for a scrapbook and writing down stories can challenge your mind, which helps to engage cognitive skills and prevent memory loss. Scrapbooking can also encourage relaxation, promote self-esteem and provide emotional fulfilment.
Similar benefits can also be achieved by creating family trees, which may be an activity that’s been on your bucket list for a while and now is the perfect time to create one. Researching your ancestry can provide you with a deeper sense of identity and pride, help you discover a greater appreciation for history and can even connect you with long-lost relatives.
We hope that we have provided you with plenty of inspiration on activities to do at home, but the most important thing to remember during this worrying time is that it is absolutely possible to enjoy the time you have at home.
Partaking in any of these activities comes with a wealth of benefits, both mentally and physically, whilst also giving you a deeper sense of achievement and purpose, making you feel good about yourself and your home.