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In this post I am going to focus on “fun”… When we were children it was easy to find fun things to do. Kids can have fun with just about anything, an old empty box can give hours of entertainment for some children.
Having fun is easy for kids. It can be challenging for the elderly. Fun is a good thing and why not have some. Seniors can have fun too, so why do senior’s tend to lose interest? It could be that they don’t feel good or are depressed.
Depression among seniors is common. When they get depressed, they lose interest and the last thing they want to do is some sort of activity… Fun can help with depression and take our focus off pain. Having something to look forward to can really boost their mood.
Being creative at any age will have a positive effect on our brain. My activity is painting. I noticed that when I paint my worries go away because it is hard for the brain to think of something else at the same time.
The hardest part is getting started. One trick that I use is to set aside time for fun. In my case I will take an hour a day to paint. Once I start painting time seems to disappear and before I know it a couple of hours have passed.
Fun comes in many forms and you may say, I don’t know what I can do? Hopefully I can give you some ideas down below!
Activities – What is a good fit for me?
This depends on a few things. One thing to consider is your health. Many seniors just can’t do physical activities like they use to…. Do what you can! If you used to run and can’t, then walking could be the answer.
If you can not walk then there is always a hobby or an interest that can keep you active. It does not have to be a physical thing, your brain needs a workout too! I know it is hard to get started and you may be thinking that it is too late to find an interest.
I understand this way of thinking, this could be that you are depressed. Depression is common when we get older and can block us from starting something new. Or maybe you are in a rut of just doing the same thing every day.
Seniors can get caught up in watching too much television. There is a lot of bad news and this all goes in your brain. I gave up watching the news, day after day telling us about how bad things are. There is not very much positively on television, especially the news.
News is really just a form of gossip and most of the time it is negative. I am not saying to completely give up on television. A good movie can uplift us and inspire some good feelings. You can also learn a lot if you watch the right stuff.
I used to watch Bob Ross paint on PBS and that inspired me to paint. You can still watch many of his videos on YouTube if you have access. The guy just makes you feel good. This leads me to the first activity I am going to recommend – Painting.
I hear this all the time with painting. I am not artistic, I have no talent, I can’t even draw. Those three thoughts can stop a person before they even try. The first question to ask yourself is…
Do I have an interest? Do I like looking at art or color? If the answer is yes, then painting could be for you. Everyone has an artist within them and can create something unique. Do not focus on your art being good or bad.
We tend to worry about what others will think of our creations. Painting is something that is yours, a way for you to be creative and have fun. You will learn as you go and learning should be part of the fun. So, how do you get started? What type of paint should I use?
Pros: You have more time to work on you’re painting. You can set aside you’re painting come back to it the next day and pick up where you left off. I found that it is easier to blend colors due to a slower drying time. The colors stay more true to form in the drying process.
Cons: You must prime your canvas prior to painting. It takes patience and time to let your work dry. Oil paints can yellow over time. You will have to clean up with mineral spirits.
Pros: Acrylic paints can be thinned with just water. They dry fast so that you can finish a painting and hang it up usually in a day if not a couple of hours.
Cons: Fast drying can sometimes make it difficult to blend colors although, there are ways to slow this process down.
Pros: Clean up is easy. Unlike acrylic, If you forget to wash your brush you can just rinse them off and start again. It is easier to get paint off furniture, clothes or skin. Less waste of paint.
If you are using water colors in tubes and squirt out too much paint don’t worry, add water and you can use it again. Water colors are odorless and do not use harsh chemicals. They are less expensive and this leaves room to experiment without costing a lot of money.
Cons: It can be difficult for beginners to control the paint over paper. Getting the colors just right takes a bit of practice. Colors can seem to have a mind of their own.
Click Here to read my review of 3 great books that may help you get started.
Coloring Therapy – Not just for kids
Some seniors are not able to paint. They may be at a place in life where it is just too much of a challenge.
Coloring has a calming effect on children and has many benefits for seniors. It can have a positive effect to reduce stress, improve concentration and give a feeling of creativity.
The simplicity of coloring can also have a positive effect on memory. Coloring is also a great social activity that a senior can do with a friend or in a group setting.
When they are focused on coloring conversations can flow freely. Studies have shown that coloring can have an effect similar to meditation increasing the amount of gray matter and neural connections in the brain.
Coloring can also enhance dexterity. It can offer dementia patients who have motor impairment, a way to be creative. This could be a simple solution to help a senior with feeling better about themselves, improve the mind and also make a new friend in the process.
Click Here for my review on 3 great coloring books that can be beneficial for seniors.
Activities – For low vision Seniors.
Some seniors can live a long and active life without having any serious eye problems. But as we age, the risk of developing eye related problems increase.
Many seniors live with macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye. These conditions can make it more difficult for seniors to find fun activities that they can do.
Many seniors just get discouraged and give up. There are things we can do to help a senior with failing eye site.
These things may seem simple to us but for a senior with vision problems, it can make a huge difference in their lives. Someone’s interest may vary but hopefully some of these suggestions will help you get started.
1. Going outdoors: Many seniors can go months or longer without leaving their homes. For someone with poor eye site it can be really difficult for them to go out. Taking a senior to the park or a walk can really help with depression, improve sleep, keep vitamin D levels healthy and help a senior socialize. There is nothing like fresh air to lift someone’s spirit.
2. Swimming: The benefits of swimming are huge, especially for seniors. According to asccare.com swimming improves your heart health. It is gentle on your joints and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Swimming increases flexibility, improves muscle strength and tone. It also gives your mental health a boost. This can be difficult for some seniors to do on a regular basis but if you can add it to the list of some other activities swimming can be very uplifting for a senior.
3. Music: Listening to music can be beneficial to seniors especially if they are home bound. A study published by Oxford University Journal, found that memory can be improved by listening to music. Music can take us back in time and help with recall. A song can spark a memory of the past so it can help with short or long term memory. Some seniors may find it hard to find the dials on a radio. Click Here for my review on a radio that may help with this problem.
4. Have fun in the kitchen: It is tough for a visually impaired senior to navigate their way around the kitchen. This is something that may require some help from a friend or a family member. Not to mention it can be a lot of fun…Preparing a meal together helps with socializing. Conversations can flow easy while making a good batch of cookies or making a favorite old recipe. Helping someone with preparing their own meals can help with self esteem and independence.
5. Playing Games: Games are a good way to keep your mind active. Almost all games these days can be adapted for people with vision problems. Games can also help with multi-tasking, attention, reflexes and can be a great way for a senior to socialize.
Conclusion: At any age it is important to have fun… For senior’s it can be challenging to find an interest or a hobby that best for them. You can combine several activities together to help them stay active. Being active is great for the mind and the soul. Fun can help with depression and take the focus off of their pain.
There is always something we can do to help a senior stay active. Sometimes a senior needs help with some of these activities. Even a simple walk in the park can have some great benefits. Spend some time with a senior doing activities, you will both get something out of it.
Cook a meal together, play a game, make a painting, listen to music. It is about spending quality time together and having fun in the process…
Thanks for reading my post on activities for seniors. Please leave a comment down below. I would ♥ to hear any ideas that you may have on how seniors can have fun and maybe I can add them to this post.
Dan, founder of seniorsafetyadvisor.com