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How to spend more meaningful time with the elderly

How much meaningful time do you spend with your elderly relatives? Do you just sit and chat to pass the time? There’s nothing like a good catch-up, but sometimes easy to forget how much fun life can really be—irrespective of age!

Participating in fun activities with older people helps make them feel truly alive and engaged. Simply put, the world becomes a more wholesome place.

If you’re wary that Aunt Ethel wouldn’t take kindly to too much excitement, we’d like to highlight the numerous wellbeing benefits that come from having fun – many of which can restore or prolong the vitality of our loved ones:

  • Improve brain function and outlook

For older people interested in maintaining and improving their memory, having regular fun can stave off memory loss by enhancing creativity. In addition, engaging in playful activities increase optimism, reduce your stress and prevent depression.

  • Establish, enrich and even heal relationships

There is a definite relationship between social interaction and general wellbeing, and yet loneliness is a significant problem for many seniors. Participating in group activity or spending time with family can increase trust, empathy, and intimacy.

  • Enhance vitality

Creating plenty of fun moments can be a good way to boost immune systems in the elderly as well as reduce risk of illness and distract from existing pain.

Where you come in

So, this all sounds great, but it can be difficult to come up with creative ways to have fun with old people, particularly when there’s mobility or memory impairment.

We’ve come up with a list of activities that can be inclusive of everyone. Some may require a little more physical ability, but ultimately, any additional planning will only require the sourcing of a wheelchair for hire!

Learn a new game

From traditional card games to wackier modern board games, learn how to play or work on improving your skills. They’re a great way to enjoy leisure time, but they also refine many cognitive skills.

Rustle-up something delicious

Every family has tried, tested and continuously requested recipes for foods that you all love. You can ask to be let in on a big secret and be taught the family way to make something wonderful by doing it together. Cooking and sharing food together is a nostalgic and loving way to pass the time.

Find out where you came from

It’s natural to want to know where our roots lead, so ask your loved one about your family’s history, and pull all of your new knowledge into a family tree. Top tip: record these sessions so you can listen back on these precious moments and share them with future generations.

Give a little wiggle

There are plenty of ways to be in motion, even with limitations. A short walk in the fresh air is really restorative, or you could consider low-impact fitness activities from home from chair exercise DVDs to console video games like Wii Golf!

Pamper them

Touch is essential for our physical, emotional and social health – it was the first of the five senses to develop when we were born. The need for positive touch, the connection, and reassurance it can bring is literally in our DNA.

Lovingly giving a massage, pedicure, manicure, or even just applying moisturiser onto their hands or legs can help them relax as well as feel connected to another human.

A night on the town

Unless you live somewhere very rural, there are always plays, concerts and musicals taking place, from the open-mic night at the pub to a polished West End production. These can be culturally enriching, and there’s a real benefit of having something planned in the calendar – it’s great to have something to look forward to!

Teacher’s pet

Local colleges in particular are fantastic for running adult-learning courses with no other goal than to pick up a new skill and share the pleasure of discovering something new, from watercolour classes to sugarcraft.

It can also be really useful to seek out a tech-based class to help seniors improve digital skills for using their mobile phone or computer so that they can continue to communicate with their friends and family.

No matter what you choose to do, spending time with elderly friends and relatives will be enriching and satisfying for you both. It’ll prevent the melancholy of loneliness and enable both of you to have a great time! You never know, you may inspire even more people to participate and have adventures of their own!

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