Stimulating activities and ideas for older people

Stimulating activities and ideas for older people

Taking care of your client’s cognitive health 

We are all aware that as we become older, our physical and mental health may take decline. Often, we are no longer able to complete simple tasks such as climbing the stairs, remembering our favourite song or holding conversations like we used to. For our older clients experiencing these concerns, this can be a challenging and scary time. We often find older clients are embarrassed that they have lost some of their abilities, and they will remove themselves from social situations and stimulating activities for fear of further embarrassment. 

There are risks associated with your older clients detaching themselves from social situations, including a decline in thinking skills, the ability to participate in discussions, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. It’s for this reason that it’s imperative your clients are encouraged to participate in daily fun and exciting activities that will help to improve their confidence as well as their mental and physical health. 

What stimulating activities can you do with your clients?

Yoga and meditation 

Yoga is great for relaxing the mind and improving flexibility and strength. It can be adapted to suit the mobility of your client, so for those who are less mobile, why not look at chair-based yoga practice to keep them involved?

Meditation can help to improve your client’s well-being, reduce stress levels and increase patience. There are many guided meditation tutorials and videos available online, and the best bit is you can do them as much or as little as your clients want! 

Gardening and cooking

Gardening not only gets your clients out for some fresh air but can provoke memories of when they were younger. Try making bird feeders so your clients can see them in action, pressing flowers and making wreaths. This activity will give your clients a sense of community and spirit. 

Whether your client is an avid foodie or they love to help with preparing and serving, get them involved in cooking and baking. Not only is this a stimulating activity that requires concentration, but the end results are very yummy for all! 

Quizzes and competitions

Quizzes are often enjoyable and help to trigger forgotten memories. From music quizzes to general trivia, host a variety of quiz afternoons or evenings with your clients to stimulate their brains. 

Competitions like food tasting are always sure to go down a storm! Be sure to include a range of nostalgic foods your clients are likely to have had when they were younger to promote memories and fun!

Singing and Dancing 

You may know from our previous blog on singing that this stimulating activity can be very powerful for the mind. Singing is also a great way to relax and have fun. let your residents choose the songs they would like to sing to ensure they are comfortable with the tune and know the words. 

Dancing is a great pastime, whether you are actively participating or just watching from the sidelines. Movement can support strength and flexibility, whilst the music your clients are dancing to may take them back to times gone by! 

Board games and Jigsaws

We often see a range of jigsaws in care homes and day centres. Jigsaw provides a sense of accomplishment, can stimulate the brain and build social connections. Ideal for a small group of clients to work together. 

Games, including boards or cards, can help to encourage social interaction, and clients will be able to teach other residents and staff a thing or two! 

The mental and physical benefits of stimulating activities

Older clients with a diagnosis of Dementia can often experience a decrease in their ability to engage and interact with sensory activities. Being able to offer your clients opportunities to engage in stimulating activities is helpful in reducing and alleviating frustration and stress. There are a number of other benefits to both mental and physical health for older adults who participate in stimulating activities. 

Mental Health Benefits

  • Self-esteem boost
  • Improved stress levels
  • Better social interaction
  • Reduce depression and anxiety 

Physical Health Benefits

Whilst not all older people are able to participate in strenuous activities due to mobility, activities can often be adapted to suit a variety of clients, as seen above with chair-based yoga practice. Providing your clients with a range of stimuli they will enjoy could help to promote a sense of calm and trigger those all-important forgotten memories.  

Engaging in daily activities is an important part of caring for a loved one with dementia. A routine that includes healthy activities can help provide structure and familiarity, which can be especially beneficial as the disease progresses. Additionally, engaging in activities can help stimulate cognitive function and keep the mind active. With the right approach, engaging in daily activities can be a great way for those with dementia to stay connected and maintain their quality of life.

This may also interest you: 

Festive singing could help more than just your Christmas spirit!

Eyesight Deterioration Information for Caregivers

Making Memory Boxes with Older Adults

Keeping the mind active in older age is essential

As we have highlighted, there are many ways to keep the mind active, from board games and quizzes to outdoor activities and dance. Be sure to include your clients in the choice of activities you are providing so they can put forward their favourite pastimes. Offering your clients the choice will mean they are more likely to want to participate! 

If you are looking for ideas to plan with your clients, why not sign up for our newsletter and get great activities and information delivered straight to your inbox? Simply visit our contact page and subscribe to our regular newsletter. 

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