December 27, 2018

Grandfather and grandson playing chess.

Grandfather and grandson playing chess.

Winter is here, and for most of us, it means we’ll be spending more time indoors. Because it can be difficult for older adults to get out and about in the cold weather, it’s especially important to help senior loved ones stay active during the winter months. Here are a few fun indoor activities to enjoy throughout the winter season:

Play games

Games are a fun and engaging way to pass the time on cold winter days. Chess, checkers, cards, and classic board games are all perfect to play while visiting senior loved ones, whether you’re bringing along the grandkids or playing one-on-one. Playing games is well known to provide brain health benefits for people of all ages, helping us to exercise our critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

Listen to music

Music is powerful. It can help reduce stress, inspire movement, spark memories, and increase social bonds. For seniors, listening to music can be particularly beneficial. Consider creating a personalized playlist for your senior loved one or go online to show them performances of some of their favorite artists. Many senior living communities also host musical performances on a regular basis, making it easy for you and your older loved one to experience the joy of live music together.

Grow something

Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic activity that many older adults enjoy. Even when it’s cold outside, you can still grow an indoor garden. Simple house plants like succulents, tulips, or herbs are easy to grow indoors during the cold winter months. Best of all, the act of tending to a garden is known to help seniors reduce stress and anxiety and maintain their fine motor skills. Research finds that gardening may even lower seniors’ risk of dementia.

Get moving

The lack of sunlight in the winter months can make us all feel more tired and lethargic. However, not getting enough physical activity in the cold winter months can cause joint stiffness, pain, and weakness, which can be highly dangerous for older adults who are already at risk for falls or accidents. Encourage the older adult in your life to stay active in the winter by joining an exercise class, taking walks indoors, stretching, or even dancing. Most senior living communities have fitness centers and offer group fitness classes ranging from aerobics to Tai chi to yoga, helping older adults remain active, strong, mobile, and independent.

The cold, winter weather doesn’t need to keep you and your senior loved one from having some fun this season! We hope these ideas give you plenty of reasons to stay active all winter long.