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How Caregivers Can Help Seniors Stay Active When They Can't Leave Home

By Rachelle Ehlert

The fear and spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has push many people to shelter in place. Suddenly, people are restricted to their homes. Since the disease is especially dangerous for seniors, it’s important that families help ensure that their loved ones can remain at home. But remaining homebound can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.

 

It's essential for your loved one to stay active, both physically and mentally, during any period of home quarantine. When your senior is homebound, it's easy for them to stop exercising and taking care of themselves. Here's a look at some fun activities to keep your senior engaged and active when they can't leave home.

1. Board Games

From Scrabble and Clue to Monopoly and the Game of Life, there are many games that your senior loved one can play together in an afternoon with their caregiver or select members of the family. These games will provide mental stimulation as your senior plays, making decisions about the best way to win. To keep their minds active, look for board games that are strategy-based and not just random chance. Some games are also available as mobile apps.

2. Genealogy

With the growing popularity of DNA kits and the search for ancestors, it's becoming easier to conduct research on your family tree. When unable to leave the house for a period of time, your senior loved one can enjoy genealogy. There are many websites and historical societies with information available online. In some cases, you can access the information for free or at a flat fee. Discussing and researching the family tree helps your senior loved one with access to older memories and helps them feel happier. 

3. Seated Yoga

One of the biggest dangers for seniors is an unexpected fall, and it usually happens because of poor balance. Your senior loved one can practice seated yoga a couple of times a week to improve flexibility and balance. If your loved one requires ambulation assistance, a caregiver can help them with some of these exercises.

 

There are numerous videos for seated yoga on YouTube, and you can try several until you find one your senior enjoys. You can choose a session that lasts around five minutes or look for a longer workout. As your senior loved one practice chair yoga, they'll become more active and improve their balance without leaving the house.

4. Indoor Gardening

Does your senior loved one love to play in the dirt? Indoor gardening might be the best activity to keep them active both physically and mentally. Your senior can start small by using mason jars to create an indoor herb garden. They can use the herbs in their meals for added flavor. Vertical indoor gardens have become very popular, and your senior can grow some basic veggies in their home. This task keeps your senior physically active as they plant seeds, move dirt, and water their crops. 

5. Book Club

With modern technology, your senior can become part of a book club without ever leaving their home. When the book club meets, your senior can video conference in with the other participants. This is your senior's chance to become more social with others without leaving the house. There are even online book clubs and forums to discuss the book your senior is currently reading. Reading offers wonder mental stimulation and can help your senior have a more positive outlook on life.

 

If your aging loved one is unable to read themselves, a caregiver can read aloud to them. Family members can also read books over video or voice calls.

6. Movie Night

Whether your loved one enjoys recent releases or movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, your senior can plan a movie night or afternoon once a week. You can rent or buy a movie for them to watch — just leave it on their doorstep to minimize contact. As a special treat, your senior can enjoy microwave popcorn or their favorite movie theater, such as Junior Mints or nachos. It's a good idea to pull all the blinds and turn off the overhead lights to give the room the appearance of a movie theater. However, your loved one may want to keep on a small nightlight to in case they need to get up during the movie. 

7. Physical Therapy

If your loved one has suffered from a fall or mobility issues, their doctor may have proscribed physical therapy exercises. These exercises target very specific muscle groups to help your senior regain a full range of motion. While unable to leave home, your senior, and a caregiver if needed, can work on these exercises. These exercises will help keep your senior active and improve the overall quality of their lives. 

8. A Special Dinner Out

While seniors can't really go out for dinner, they can enjoy it in. One night a week, encourage your senior to dress up like they're going out to a restaurant. You can ask their caregiver to set up plates and silverware in the formal dining room. Next, order your senior's favorite meal from their favorite restaurant and have it delivered. Many of the new delivery services, such as Uber Eats and Door Dash, cover almost all the local and chain restaurants. The best part is that you can ask for a "no contact" delivery to further protect your loved one's health and well being.

9. Start a New Hobby

If your senior loved one has always wanted to learn to paint or quilt, the time they have to spend at home is the ideal to start a new hobby. You can order the supplies and ship everything your senior needs to get started directly to the house. YouTube has a lot of how-to-do-it videos that help your senior learn a new skill from needlepoint to baking a three-tier cake. 

 

At Caring Senior Service, we understand the challenges your loved one faces when they can't leave the house. If your loved one requires assistance with the tasks of daily living, we are still here to help. Call us today to learn more about how we can assist seniors stay happy, healthy, and at home during COVID-19.

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Tags: Coronavirus

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