Fun ways to keep you and your loved one active and engaged

As  your  loved  one  becomes  less  mobile,  you  may  find yourselves  spending  more  time  indoors. Try some of these fun activities to help keep them inspired and active.

When you’re caring for a loved one it can sometimes be difficult to find fun activities to do together, especially if mobility or poor eyesight are an issue. Here are some fun family activities you can do together that should help to keep you both active and interested. To talk to someone about other things that might be useful to your older loved one, call Bupa's Aged Care Support Line.

When looking for activities, take into account your loved one’s personality, mobility and interests, but keep in mind that ability and enthusiasm may vary from one day to the next.

Golden oldies

  • Card  and  classic  board  games  such  as  snap,  happy  families,  fish,  Scrabble  or  Chinese checkers  stimulate  the  brain  without  demanding  intense  focus  and  concentration.  Be prepared to bend the rules to keep the game moving.

  • Jigsaw puzzles. If there’s a table that is accessible but not essential to daily activity, set up a jigsaw puzzle so people can work on it whenever and for as long as they like. It’s an activity  friends  and  family  can  join  in  with  when  they visit.  Op  shops  can  provide  an endless supply of puzzles, so you need never run out.

  • Crosswords for seniors, sudoku and other  puzzles in the daily newspaper provide brain training. 

Jigsaws are an activity friends and family can join in with when they visit.

Elderly people playing cards

Food for thought

  • TED talks. Seriously addictive, these are short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) on an endless range of topics, from science to business to global issues. View them free any time of the day on your computer, tablet or smartphone. 
  • Old photos. These provide an endless source of entertainment, laughter and memories. Make collages and frame them, pick out the best and make a family tree, sort them into boxes for different family members. 
  • Record memories. Write a family history for the younger generation. It doesn’t have to be formal, but anything you do capture will be invaluable to them. Bring out some old photos, keepsakes, a favourite dress/coat/hat or piece of jewellery, and ask about the story behind it. Have a device handy (smartphone or tablet will do) to record conversations when your loved one starts reminiscing.

Child’s play

  • Ring toss/knock ’em down/skittles. Most of the equipment for these games can be homemade (as a joint exercise, if the person is up to it). Collect PET bottles and cans, decorate them, half-fill with sand then set them up for destruction! Rings can be made from cut-out plastic ice-cream-bucket lids – wind wool or string around them for safety and better grip.

  • Bowls. Both carpet and lawn bowls can be played from a seated or standing position. Petanque (or boules) are perfect for playing on a rough surface outdoors and are available from most sports stores.

  • Singing. Find out your loved one’s favourite songs and download them so you can have a singalong together.

  • Blowing bubbles. Indoors or out, this is a delightful way to spend a few minutes reconnecting with the inner child while exercising the lungs.

Find out your loved one’s favourite songs and download them so you can have a singalong together.

Remember, there is no rush when it comes to having fun at home. Be patient with your loved one. Focus on one thing at a time and give your loved one the space necessary to do their best, while still caring for the caregiver – you.

Bupa aged care support line

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