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Fun Activities for Seniors in the Hospital

By Ben Cornu

Once a senior is treated in the hospital, they are more likely to be readmitted and have other overnight hospitalizations. The average length of stay for seniors in the hospital is 5 days, but that can vary depending on the type of treatment they require. During this time in the hospital, seniors can get bored, lonely, and even depressed. Having fun and engaging activities to do during the day can help them pass the time and maintain their spirits. Here are some things seniors can do during their hospital stay to avoid boredom. 

Movies & TV 

Most hospitals have TVs in their rooms, so watching movies and shows seems like a no-brainer. This pastime is great for seniors who don’t have a lot of energy because they can just relax in their bed. However, the content on TV might not always be to your liking. Seniors can have very particular tastes when it comes to movies and TV. If there’s a show or movie that your loved one particularly enjoys, you may want to bring a laptop or tablet to the hospital so they can stream it on a device instead of watching the hospital TV.  

RELATED CONTENT: Picking Movies Seniors Will Enjoy 

Books

Reading is a great way to keep a senior’s mind stimulated while they are passing the hours in a hospital room. Books have a magical way of transporting us somewhere else and helping reality fade away. A good book can keep a senior occupied for hours, or even days.  

If your loved one isn’t able to hold a book open, consider using a kindle or tablet that has books downloaded to it. Or, you can play an audiobook for your loved one so they can listen to the story without having to hold the physical book and turn the pages. 

Chat with Family 

Talking to a senior in the hospital helps pass the time and keep them caught up on what’s going on in their loved ones’ lives. When a senior is in the hospital with limited interaction, video chats and phone calls can help keep their morale up while they recover enough to go home.  

Of course, in-person visits are even better so seniors can talk to their loved ones face to face. In-person visits can also help family members gauge the true severity of the situation since many seniors may try to downplay what they’re going through. But these visits might not always be possible due to work schedules and physical distance. Thankfully, we have technology to keep us all connected.  

Card Games 

If a senior is able to move their arms and hands, then card games could be a fun activity while in the hospital. Most hospitals have rolling tables that situate perfectly over the hospital bed. The flat surface is the perfect spot to play cards. Card games can help with fine motor skills and even memory! And there are card games for a group or just for a single person.  

Here are some card game suggestions: 

  • Solitaire — in all its variations 
  • Free cell  
  • Uno 
  • Crazy Eights 
  • Old Maid 
  • Go Fish 
  • Rummy 
  • Bridge 
  • Blackjack 
  • Poker 
  • Cribbage 
  • Canasta 
  • Pinochle 

RELEVANT CONTENT: Planning for a Successful Hospital Discharge 

Chair Yoga 

If a senior is able to move around some and is feeling up for it, chair yoga can be a fun activity. Chair yoga involves yoga posts that can be performed while sitting down — raising arms, breathing, eagle arms, and more. Yoga can help reduce stress, boost confidence, and improve overall wellness. 

However, seniors who feel lightheaded, weak, or dizzy should not participate in chair yoga. If you’re not sure if you’re up to it, we suggest waiting until you feel well enough. You can also talk with the nursing staff or your doctor to determine physical activity that you should avoid.  

Video Games 

Video games aren’t just for kids! They can be stimulating and fun activities for adults. There are many different video games out there on a number of consoles. Some games require a laptop and can be played with a mouse or trackpad. More casual video games can be downloaded on a smartphone. Others might require a specific gaming system, like a Nintendo Switch or XBox.   

Playing video games can actually help improve memory and cognitive skills. They can keep a senior learning and thoroughly entertained. It can also just feel good to beat a hard level, giving seniors a boost of confidence. 

Virtual Reality  

Another type of technology that can benefit seniors in the hospital is virtual reality (VR). VR is an all-immersive experience that involves putting on a headset and viewing a simulated world. VR headsets can connect to smartphones, so seniors can hook up their own phones to their devices, or they can be purchased as standalone technology. 

Seniors can explore the top attractions of the world, tour museums, play games, discover fantasy worlds, and more with a VR headset. The possibilities are endless! 

RELATED CONTENT: 4 Practical Benefits of VR for Seniors 

Staying entertained in the hospital can help seniors keep their mind sharp and avoid depression, stress, and other negative psychological impacts that a hospital visit can have. Of course, always consider your loved one’s preferences and abilities when suggesting activities.  

And when your loved one is ready to come home, involve Caring Senior Service in your plans. We can help ensure a smooth transition by preparing the home for your senior’s arrival, being involved in discharge planning to fully understand your loved ones care plan, providing transportation, and more. Reach out to your local care team to learn more. 

personalized care for a safe transition back home

Tags: Senior Activities, Hospital