by Julia Little
The weather outside may be gloomy, but that doesn’t mean people in senior living have to cut down on their level of activity. During the winter months, older individuals have a host of options for keeping busy, either by themselves or with friends. Here are a few ideas to keep away the winter blues:
Arts and culture
Do you have a talent for hands-on activities? Consider sharing your passion for the arts by holding a crafting afternoon with some friends. You don’t have to break the bank to provide everything you need for a few hours of fun. If you have a specific craft in mind, pick up materials from a local art supply store, or try one of Sunrise Senior Living’s ideas for simple but creative holiday decorations. You might want to whip up a few snacks as well. Turn on some music and it’s a real party.
If you feel like heading away from home for the day, consider an afternoon outing to a nearby art museum or gallery. Check online or with your local community center for exhibitions going on in the area, and finish off your trip by visiting a café or restaurant for dessert or a bite to eat. Going to local galleries might also give you inspiration for your own artistic endeavors in the future. Many art institutes offer classes in different mediums, such as clay molding, sculpture, oil painting, drawing or watercolors.
Games and sports
Arts and crafts may not be your cup of tea, but that’s alright – there are many options for a fun afternoon or evening. Consider meeting up with a few people to play cards or a board game, or invite everyone to bring over a favorite activity. A few simple but perennially popular options include Crazy Eights or Swedish Rummy, I Doubt It, and Go Boom. These and other games can be a great way to get to know new friends as well, and learn about an activity you may not have discovered on your own.
It might seem like winter is the worst time to get into a new sport, but there are a lot of indoor options for staying active and socializing. For example, many community centers offer classes in Pilates or water aerobics that combine fun and fitness. You might also enjoy an afternoon of bowling, which can be played with aids like bumpers and a ball guide. If you’re the tech-savvy type, you can try a video game such as Wii Sports, which offers virtual options of your favorite activities and a great way to keep moving.
Explore your space
No matter how long you’ve lived in a city or town, there’s always something new to find. Scan the paper for upcoming events, such as concerts, book talks or lectures that might be of interest. You can also try checking out tourist information from a local community or welcome center that outlines some of the highlights of your home town. Maybe there’s a popular museum that you haven’t been to in a while, or a favorite restaurant that serves up some of your most-loved dishes. Play tourist for the day and explore your hometown like a traveler might. You can also turn this activity into a fun way to interact with younger family members, especially those who are visiting from out of town. Take them to see your favorite spots or locations where you’ve built fond memories over the years. Encourage them to share their own stories of places near and far that are important to them.