Seniors who are home-bound may find it difficult to ward off depression and isolation. There are a lot of things that can be done to keep a home-bound senior’s mind active, alert, and to keep them feeling engaged. Making a special trip out of the house may be difficult if not impossible, but many things can be done at home to brighten a senior’s day.
It’s important for seniors to feel like they’re still able to contribute. No one wants to feel useless. Try leaving a few household tasks undone for the senior to complete, such as folding the laundry, sorting family photos for an album, or putting away the silverware. Each of these tasks can be completed despite physical or sensory limitations. Furthermore, doing these tasks with a friend, family member or caregiver provides companionship at the same time.
Nostalgic television shows or movies can greatly entertain seniors and keep their minds actively engaged. Obtaining DVD copies of “I Love Lucy” or maybe an old Humphrey Bogart film is very easy. Seniors will reminisce while watching programs that they remember from younger days, and they will enjoy watching them with company. This is a particularly safe bet, because while not all seniors are interested in the same things, you can count on them being a fan of at least a few films.
While going outside on a walk or a drive may not be an option, accessing the backyard can provide some thought provoking entertainment. Birdwatching is a great activity! Seniors can try their hand at identifying various bird species while sitting in their backyards, listening to the birds sing. A guidebook to local birds will give an older person something to study and think about as they go about their day.
In order to further stimulate a senior’s mind, try interviewing them. Recording their history, and the family history as they know it, can be a gift for future generations. It can be videotaped or written down. Structure the questions beforehand, and make sure that each question is slightly related to the previous. Leading an older person gently from topic to topic will help keep their minds active and sharp, while avoiding confusion or embarrassment.
It’s too easy for a home-bound senior to become depressed and feel isolated, which can then lead to physical illness. Simply visiting a senior center or an older loved one who is home-bound is all that it takes to make them feel included in life. Playing games, introducing new activities or just holding a conversation with seniors will stimulate their minds and raise their spirits. The mind needs a challenge, just like it does when we’re all young. Just because someone’s legs don’t work as well as they used to, doesn’t mean they’re too old to have fun.
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