To slow the spread of COVID-19, most communities are implementing preventative measures like social distancing and wearing face masks. While it’s especially important to keep seniors safe, physical distancing can be difficult for seniors who may feel isolated since they can’t visit family the way they used to. For seniors, it’s important to stay active to stay positive, and fortunately, there are still plenty of fun activities seniors can do to stay connected with others, whether through their senior living facility activities program or in a community senior program. Some activities work great outdoors, with a physically distanced setup of chairs set six feet apart. If the weather’s bad, the same activities can be done indoors in a large room with chairs spaced apart:
- Outdoor bingo. Bingo is a popular activity in senior living facilities and is a great way to stay connected with others. Fortunately, we can still play bingo – it just needs a different setup. Outdoor activities are considered safe by the CDC, although we still need to consider physical distancing guidelines like the six-feet-apart rule. Organizers can set chairs six feet apart in advance so everyone knows where to sit, and bingo cards can be laminated for outdoor use – just use dry erase markers to check off the numbers as they’re called.
- Charades and storytelling. Some other great outdoor activities that promote social connection are storytelling or playing charades. Chairs can be placed six feet apart in a circle. For storytelling, start with a story prompt and let everyone take a turn adding to the story. For charades, you can set up teams or just let everyone try to guess as participants take turns acting out the charades. Both activities work best as small groups so everyone can hear the stories or guesses. If you are part of a larger senior program, organizers can split into smaller groups for the activities.
- Outdoor art. Painting, drawing, coloring, making crafts – just about every art activity also works in an outdoor, physically distanced environment. Creating art with others adds a social element that can help you feel more connected. It can even get more interactive if everyone is working on the same theme and shares their creations when finished. For example, you might have a nature theme, and either everyone gets to choose what they work on – a painting or drawing of a nature scene or a craft like a birdhouse – or everyone can work on the same type of project.
If health or mobility issues keep participants in your senior group from leaving their homes or senior living apartments, there are plenty of ways to keep connected using technology. Organizers can set things up for those less comfortable with technology tools.
- Movie night. Choose a movie on Netflix or another streaming service and arrange for everyone to watch it at the same time. Connect with Zoom or another virtual meeting platform and talk about the show and watch participant reactions as the movie plays. For extra fun, have snacks like popcorn delivered to everyone who participates.
- Virtual travel. Just like on movie night, everyone is viewing the same thing at the same time and connecting on a meeting platform, but this time they’re watching documentaries or Google Earth/virtual reality visuals on a chosen destination. For added fun and interest, choose a destination that one person has visited so they can add to the experience by sharing their story about traveling there.
- Family history night. This is a great activity for a virtual family get-together. Choose a time when everyone can be on a virtual meeting platform and have a conversation about family history. Have some prompts prepared ahead of time where each person can talk about their own experiences, like living through the Great Depression or their military service. Younger family members can add to the conversation by talking about their modern-day experiences like working or going to school virtually.
There are plenty of activities that we can still do while social distancing that keeps us all connected. And if you’re a senior thinking about transitioning to a senior living facility, contact our professionals at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living. Our friendly, professional staff members and state-of-the-art facilities emphasize daily activity, wellness, connected sense of community. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information.