Activities For elderly: Positive and Negative

Gone are the days when birthday celebrations and bingo would highlight the lives of seniors especially those in assisted living. Many people today offer a wide variety of activities for elderly so that they can stay stimulated and engaged as much as possible.

Seniors have diverse abilities and interests and so there are diverse activities that they can engage in regardless of where they are currently living.

An ordinary day for an elderly person can seem slow and uninteresting, but it is always important to keep them engaged and happy at all times. It is important to appreciate the fact that some older adults lose their ability or part of their dexterity due to their age.

There are many conditions that can lead to this such as fall injuries, severe arthritis, and even stroke. When they have such conditions, there are some hobbies that may not be possible for them. However, it is important we appreciate that just because this happens does not mean that the elderly person cannot have any good time at all.

Inspiring play

activities for the elderlyThere are some of us who think watching the television is fun. However, it is a passive activity that is more fun when you are not alone, so we need to dig deeper. It is important to look for other activities where the elderly can participate at some level.

There are many possibilities, but you have to think of personal capabilities and interests. You have to think of the voluntary activities that even other people would be willing to join in. When you are engaged in something that is rewarding and enjoyable, you will definitely go a long way.

It is also important to discover that older people like physical activities when their bodies can allow. They love nature, sports, yard and gardening work, jogging, and even walking and other kinds of physical pursuits. Other activities can include socializing, puzzles, games, own hobbies, crafts, and the all-time favourite – reading.

The point I am trying to make is that fun is actually a personal decision and you have to make that decision. Even if advanced age or disability can limit your activities, there are many opportunities for having fun and playing that you can discover along the way.

There are activities that can be easily adapted so that they can meet your own physical needs and abilities. It is essential for the elderly to pay close attention they need to do things that allow them to be happy and things that make them feel lighter.

Make it a great priority

There are definitely so many activities that the elderly can engage in. This means that there is no reason to remain bored and locked up just because your age is advanced or you are dealing with various physical incapacities.

Being elderly gives you a chance to revisit all those childlike qualities that you once had. It is time to celebrate again and having as much fun as possible. Everyone deserves a smile regardless of how young or old they are.

Ideas on activities for the elderly

There are many ideas that can give you inspiration as to what activities are ideal for the elderly. You should go for some that could suit you or your loved one best and then make it happen. They include:

1. Active sports and games

Many games involve some level of physical activity. This is the ideal way of having the elderly person exercising and to improve their hand and eye coordination.

It is the best way to give an elderly person the reins of the physical world and this can be very gratifying, especially when you have been able to compete and overcome obstacles. Some good examples of great physical games for the elderly include, but not limited to:

  • Tennis
  • Bocce
  • Shuffleboard
  • Pool
  • Miniature golf
  • Golf
  • Lawn, and indoor bowling
  • Horseshoes
  • Traditional and beach volley
  • Frisbee and ball tossing
  • Croquet
  • Pickleball
  • Badminton
  • Curling

2. Karaoke, dancing, and performance

The activities that fall under this category allow an elderly person to actually live in the present. These activities arouse feelings of joy within the elderly as they engage. Dancing helps your body to connect to the healing and exciting rhythms.

Singing, whether done perfectly or badly, in front of an audience allows you and other people to enjoy some level of humour especially when not taken too seriously. Performance in other ways is also fun. This can include activities like standup comedy and even acting skits.

It is such things that actually remind you of the fun of storytelling, especially when you do them in the most creative or new way. Some activities include:

 Telling jokes

 Acting in plays

 All ages, and seniors karaoke

 Swing, salsa, ballroom, and line dancing

 Joining a dance troupe

 Acting and writing skits

 Reading to groups of kids

3. Social gatherings such as parties

Socializing can be one of the best ways that you can add some fun to an elderly person’s life. This is especially true when they can remember about the good old days and also touch on topics that interest you, good conversation elevates the moods of the elderly as well as their outlook.

It gets even more interesting when things are kept at a jovial level. You should never shy away from attending parties and gaining memberships to clubs. It is also advisable to plan events as well and invite people. You can have all kinds of parties and include a theme like:

  • Ugly wear night
  • Mexican fiesta
  • Murder
  • Casino night
  • Oscars
  • Jungle bash
  • Pirates
  • Arabian night
  • Masquerade

4. Traditional puzzles and games

These are activities that are a favourite for all age groups. They are popular with the elderly because they have more time on their hands. Card and board games are great ways of socializing. Friendly completion and challenges are always welcome.

There are puzzles that help you to actually sharpen the mind and also give you that important sense of accomplishment. Some good puzzles for the elderly include:





 Chinese checkers

⇒ Bingo

⇒ Pictionary

⇒ Yahtzee



 Jigsaw and crossword puzzles





 Go fish




5. Interacting with animals

It is hard, even impossible to resist the playfulness and affection of the cuddly animals. Animals love having fun and playing is beneficial. This means that the elderly can benefit the animals while at the same time getting something from it.

Finding an animal that you can play with is not hard even in circumstances when you don’t even have a pet. Animal shelters love to welcome people who are willing to interact with them.

6. Outdoor activities

There are many outdoor activities that people indulge in. As for the elderly, they can try out bird watching and gardening. When the weather is good, the elderly can have a great time outdoors. The outpours can actually do a lot of good to our mood.

The natural world has a lot of sounds, sights, smells, and so many other delights. Many activities when we are outdoors proving to be a lot of fun. You feel like you are exploring. It also allows the elderly to feel that they have a connection with something that is way larger than themselves. Some activities include:

  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Bird watching
  • Boat rides
  • Picnics
  • Hiking
  • Kite flying
  • Nature photography
  • Metal detecting

7. Crafts

Arts and crafts are fun for the elderly too. When we are younger, we love playing with Popsicle sticks, glue, paints, and even crayons. These are moments in a child’s life that give them so much meaning and they help the brain to get imaginative.

You can recapture the same feelings by engaging in crafts regardless of your age. There are so many ways in which arts and crafts can be used by the elderly as a fun activity. Some ideas include:




 Pastel drawing



 Acrylic and oil painting

 Finger painting

 Card making

 Clay modelling





 Making jewellery


 Making cards

 Making quilts

8. Active learning

Learning new things is always interesting and something we do so as to better ourselves at some things. It opens up some new avenues and more possibilities come out when we do this. You can actually experience so much playful optimism that builds on itself and this leads to even more opportunities and discoveries.

There is no limit to the areas that can be explored. It is important to follow one’s impulses and curiosity from time to time. No one is ever too old to engage in something new. You can learn things such as:

  • Magic trick performances
  • Play an instrument
  • Decoding hieroglyphs
  • Write stories
  • Learning professional photography
  • Cook exotic meals
  • Write code
  • Speak a new language
  • Design websites
  • Learn computer

9. Excursions

Going out and doing something that is not ordinary is always a great way of having fun. There are so many chances out there, especially when you can do it in a group so as to share your expiries.

Just because you are elderly does not mean that you won’t enjoy field trips with like minded individuals for social bonding, the excitement, and the laughter. Some events and places that the elderly can consider include:

 Comedy clubs

 Theme parks

 County Fairs


 Sporting events



 Adult arcades

 Science museums

 Beer festivals

 Art shows

 Visit wineries

Activities for the elderly with very limited mobility

activities for the elderlyAs we mentioned earlier, there are many activities that elderly people who have limited mobility can engage in. Some of the activities that can be perfect for them include:

1. Reading

Reading is fun since it does not require too much physical strain. The best part is that the elderly usually enjoy some peace and quiet once in a while, just like everyone else. Reading helps them to keep the brain engaged and it also improves memory, improves their sleep, discourages cognitive decline, and even reduce stress.

The best thing about reading is that it is quite diverse. With technology today, treading doesn’t necessarily mean taking a book and lifting it to your eyes. If an elderly have some dexterity issues, there are many options to think of.

You can use physical magazines or books. Also, you can use an e-reader or even listen to audio books. Listening to audio stories is also a great way to have fun. They can look at photographs and learn about new topics that hold their interest. So as to enjoy more, the elderly can organize book clubs where they can interact and read together while socializing.

2. Hobbies

Hobbies are great activities as well. If you have limited mobility, there are some activities that don’t need one to move around such as crocheting, knitting, cooking, and even baking. You can also do some indoor gardening on containers or practice languages.

A musical instrument is always a great activity. If you ever had any hobbies when growing up, it is a great chance to try them so as to beat the boredom.

3. Exercise

Even when you are not mobile, there are many great exercises that you can try out to get that body moving. There are many chair yoga and chair exercise routines that the elderly can try out. There are also some routines that can be done with a walker offering the much-needed stability.

4. Creativity

It is great when you can get creating as it is a fun way for the elderly to spend their time. Sculpturing, painting, drawing, and coloring are all great for people with limited mobility. The projects could include making recipes, organizing albums, and even creation of scrapbooks.

Creativity also brings about many health benefits. Such activities are very helpful to people with chronic ailments so as to reduce negative emotions and start new and positive ones. It reduces anxiety and stress, thereby making medical outcomes to be much better.

5. The great outdoors

Going outdoors doesn’t mean that you have to jog or run around. Being outside is an activity in itself. Being surrounded by nature boosts the minds and improves your mood incredibly.

Getting an elderly person to just sit at the porch or near a big window can do them a great deal of good. When you can get fresh air and view the scenery is enough to keep you going and happy.

6. Visits

A visit is one of the best ways to engage an elderly person with limited mobility. Family and friends, especially those with babies should visit the elderly as much as possible. You could even tag a pet along. Everyone loves to be around young children since they bring about so much cheer and joy thus reducing stress to a great extent.

7. Games

Puzzles and games are a great source of fun for the elderly with limited mobility. There are many games that can be played alone or with a group of people. This is a great way to enjoy one on one time with your visitors and friends.

Bonding is an essential part of an elderly person’s life and so it should be taken very seriously. Classic games, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles and many kinds of card games can be great for the elderly.

8. Music, TV shows, movies

Being in front of the TV all the time is not always a great thing health-wise. However, when you watch a movie or a few TV shows, it can be soothing to look forward to once in a while.

You can watch TV and then intersect it with a hobby. For example, you could catch a documentary that relates to something that you are learning about. Different channels that have a specific theme can also be helpful since it can give you even more inspiration.

Music has and always will be therapeutic. Just listening or even singing along can be a great way to spend your time. Music reduces pain, anxiety and even stress to great levels. It improves a person’s sleep and also helps with memory.

9. Charity

Even when you are not mobile or even homebound, it doesn’t mean that the world has stopped moving. There are many people out in the community in need of a kind deed. You can take time to give back to the community by engaging in charity. This is a great way that an elderly person can get the feeling of belonging. It gives a sense of purpose to them.

You can contact a local charity, a hospital, or any religious organization so as to discover new projects that you can give a hand to. You can do some creative crafts like knitting or crocheting hats, blankets and so on. This is one of the best ways in which an elderly person with limited mobility can feel like a part of something.


Being elderly does not mean that life has to stop. Everyone needs a lift to inspire them and the elderly are no different. Just because you cannot engage in one activity does not mean that there aren’t others that can give you a purpose. We forget that life can be fun too despite the many limitations that we may experience. Activities make us feel alive and connected. The world becomes a very vibrant place to live in when we can actually allow ourselves to let go and have as much fun as possible.

There are great activities. There are also the not so great ones, according to society such as joining swinger clubs among couples or among the elderly community. Regardless of what everyone thinks, if you are alright doing it, one should feel free to engage. Joyful pursuits are amazing pastimes that can make an elderly relive the youthful years without any wild expectations since they have already experienced so much. The best thing about fun activities for the elderly is that they are not high paced. If you enjoy playing and having fun, it is normal and it is very necessary. Take time to have fun and life will be so much easier regardless of how old or young you really are.

Written By
Kate Mallord is a health blogger. In the year 1988, She graduated from the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. Kate is an exemplary doctor. She has always devoted herself to caring for older adult patients. Read More