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It’s cold and wet outside and the evenings are drawing in. But there are plenty of activities you can enjoy while caring for elderly parents in the comfort and warmth of their home. Here are 7 indoor activity ideas for you to enjoy.
While going out for a meal may not be possible, you can have great fun preparing a favourite dinner at home.
Cooking with your elderly parents helps them in many ways. They, of course, benefit from the social aspect of the task, and communicating as you cook will help keep their mind sharp. Then you get to enjoy a lovely meal together!
Consider recreating a meal from your parents’ favourite restaurant or making your own fancy afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Perhaps you could even recreate a cake from The Great British Bake Off!
Music is a great activity to lift everybody’s mood. With modern music technologies, it’s so easy to find and play your parent’s favourite tunes. Then you can enjoy a good old singalong. There is evidence that music and singing have a positive effect on people living with dementia, too. According to Age UK, “It seems to reach parts of the damaged brain in ways other forms of communication cannot”.
Older relatives often love to look through old photographs. So, dust off the photo albums and have a good old reminisce. Older people can find activities like this comforting and reassuring, especially given how chaotic the modern world is right now. Browsing through old snaps will stir old memories and your parents will soon be telling your stories about their lives. Photographs can be a great way to connect with people living with dementia, too.
Your elderly parents may also enjoy making a new photo album. We tend to keep our photos on our phones these days but looking at them on a screen is not quite the same. You could print a selection of photographs and help your parents put them in an album to keep for future rainy days.
Being stuck indoors can mean we all become couch potatoes. Getting moving is important for all our health and an important part of caring for elderly parents. We don’t need to run a marathon, some simple chair exercises or yoga poses can make a big difference.
If that doesn’t sound like something your parents would like, you could play a game such as hunt the thimble or just have a boogie to their favourite old tunes. If your parent has dementia, they might enjoy simple games such as singing along to songs like The Wheels on the Bus while doing the actions.
Whatever you choose, you’ll soon be laughing together while improving everyone’s health.
Arts and crafts are a great way to while away an afternoon. You can pick a hobby your parents used to love such as knitting or model making or try something completely new. It’s best to keep things simple at first. Making Christmas cards, flower arranging, clay modelling, drawing or colouring are great activities to try
Games offer the opportunity to be social and get the grey matter working. You can choose a board game your elderly parent loves or try something new. Family members living with dementia might enjoy simple games such as snap or bingo. You could also try the memory game, where you put several items on a tray and let your parents study it for a few minutes. Then cover the tray with a cloth and see how many items they can remember.
For a quiet afternoon activity, you could all settle down to a jigsaw puzzle or complete a crossword together.
After all the fun and games, you might be ready to settle down to some pampering. Gather some fancy toiletries and nail polishes and give your elderly Mum, or Dad, a spa day.
This another great social activity, but it also uses the sense of touch which is so important to human wellbeing. It is also an opportunity to take care of your parents’ hands and feet and make sure there are no problems.
The above activities don’t just stave off boredom, they help you connect with your parents and keep your relationship strong. They can also help your elderly parents stay happier and healthier, reducing the risk of many physical illnesses as well as low mood, anxiety and cognitive decline.
But most of all, they are a great way to make new, happy memories while caring for elderly parents.
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