As a family caregiver, you know that your loved one needs your time, attention, and care. But it can be challenging to find activities for caregivers and loved ones to enjoy together, especially if you or your loved one is dealing with physical or mental limitations. The good news is there are plenty of fun, creative activities that you can do together and they don’t require a lot of energy or resources. In this post, we’ll share some fun and engaging ideas for spending time together that will help you connect and have some fun too.
The activities you can enjoy with your loved one are countless. Here are a few to start with:
Explore Arts and Crafts: Arts and crafts are great for boosting creativity and reducing stress. A study published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing found that engaging in arts and crafts can help reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness among older adults. You can try painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting, or even scrapbooking. You can create something together, or you can each work on your own project while enjoying each other’s company. Most of these activities can be adapted to your loved one’s ability, so get creative and have some fun!
Play Games: Games are a fantastic way to bond and engage with each other. Try playing board games, card games, or puzzles. These activities will stimulate your mind and provide a fun and exciting challenge for both of you.
Listen to Music: Music has a powerful effect on the mind and can provide a mood lift. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, music therapy can help improve communication, mood, and memory in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. You can listen to your loved one’s favorite songs or explore new music together. You can sing along, dance, or just listen and relax.
Read a Book: A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that reading can help slow down cognitive decline and improve brain connectivity in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Reading or a trip to the library is an excellent way to escape reality and get lost in a good story. Alternatively, you can read to each other, take turns reading, or listen to an audiobook. This activity can be especially helpful for those with memory loss or dementia.
Gardening: Gardening is a fantastic way to connect with nature and get some fresh air. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that gardening can help improve physical and cognitive function in older adults. You can plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables. Raised beds or pot gardens are a great option for those with physical limitations.
Cooking and Baking: Cooking and baking are wonderful activities that can stimulate the senses and provide a fun and rewarding experience. You can make a favorite family recipe or try something new. Depending on your loved one’s abilities, they can read the recipe to you or cook alongside you. Cooking and baking are great activities for those who enjoy being in the kitchen and can even encourage healthy nutritional habits.
Watch a Movie: Watching a movie is an excellent treat and a great way to unwind and relax. You can watch a classic movie, a new release, or a favorite TV show. You can almost never go wrong with a trip down memory lane via a favorite movie or tv show.
Remember, the goal of these activities for caregivers and loved ones is to connect and have fun. They can be adapted to your loved one’s abilities, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Spending time together is essential, and these activities are a great way to do just that.
Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.