Best activities for older people to try in lockdown
11th March 2021
Lockdown has been a tough experience for many and knowing how to keep occupied has been a struggle, especially for those with limited mobility who many are not able to get out of the house as much as others. There are lots of activities that are great for keeping your mind and your body active and productive, but it can be hard to know which activities will suit you.
Rebecca, a freelance writer and UK lifestyle blogger at Rebecca J L Smith explains a little more about how keeping your mind occupied is great during times like this: “Lockdown can be a lonely and frustrating time - even if you aren't alone. For many older people, the unfortunate fact is they are alone and lockdown makes a lonely time become even lonelier. Keeping occupied keeps the mind busy and helps them to stay connected with others even if they aren't having face to face contact.”
Keep reading to find a selection of activities suggested by various bloggers and potentially be inspired to try a new activity.
Cooking is something many of us find a chore as it is a necessity for households most evenings, but cooking doesn’t have to be a burden and for many over the various lockdowns it has become an escape.
Over the last year, more and more people have turned to their kitchens in order to avoid boredom and have tested their skills on new and creative recipes. Cooking is a great hobby for those who struggle to move about on a daily basis as it insists you stay on your feet for long periods of time.
Nancy Farmer, a Physiotherapist at Elwell, a go-to caregiving hub, offering information and support to people looking after their parents, spoke about how she thinks cooking is one of the best past-times for those who want to become stronger as well as learn a new, tasty skill.
“As lockdown rumbles on, it’s never been more important to find activities that help older adults stay physically and mentally active. As a physiotherapist with a passion for elderly rehabilitation, I encourage my clients to view physical activity as a movement, and not exercise. This way, it’s more manageable and becomes easier to build movement into every day. My top tips are: What do you like to do around the house and how can this be your daily movement? For example, cooking is a great physical activity – standing at the cooker can build up muscle tolerance and help you improve balance. Thinking of it like this can help people feel proud that they’re keeping active.”
Many of us know that exercising is a great way to boost mood and improve the wellbeing of our body and our minds, so lockdown is the perfect time to get stuck into a new exercise routine. You can start off slow and work up to a level you feel comfortable with, you could even start off with some simple walking around your garden in order to avoid other members of the public.
Lia Thompson, Activities Coordinator at Gracewell of Camberley Care Home spoke to us about exercising during the lockdown and this is what she recommends:
“Lockdown has been a tough time for everyone. Physical activities are essential to maintain everyone’s mental and physical health. Different exercise classes can be fun and beneficial for older people, for example, seated dances like Zumba and garden walks. After exercising you gain motivation, energy and can keep your own morale up. From experience, I can really see the benefits in older people.”
She continues and explains some of the simple activities you can corporate into your daily routines: “Lockdown has made people bored, agitated and complacent. Keeping busy is vital... Go for a walk, do the daily cleaning tasks, explore new cooking/baking recipes. This is so important during this period, you have to push through. Keeping yourself occupied helps the day pass by and brings you one step closer to normality. We will all get through this, we are all strong, just never give up on yourself!”
2020 was a great year for avid gardeners due to the wonderful weather that was seen over the spring and summer months. Gardening is a great hobby that eases anxiety and stress but it is also a great form of exercise and keeps the body and muscles nimble and supple.
“I know from my own experience that keeping busy during lockdown can make all the difference to physical and mental health,” says Catherine Hughes, home and garden lifestyle blogger at Growing Family. She continues, “I think one of the best activities older people can try is gardening. It’s a socially distanced way to spend more time outdoors, and because you’re literally outside your home, it’s easy to take a break when you need to or just grab a quick few minutes when you feel like it.”
Catherine also continues to explain how gardening is also a great way to bring a sense of calm and purpose for those who practice it: “Gardening is also a brilliant way to engage with nature, which is proven to help boost your mood and promote a sense of calm. In addition, working on a project in the garden is a great way to keep active, and it can provide you with a real sense of purpose and achievement.”
Puzzles and games
Games, puzzles and crosswords are proven to stimulate the brain and keep you occupied for long periods of time. If you have struggled to keep yourself busy during the various lockdowns, then it might be worth trying out one of these options, as Rebecca from Rebecca J L Smith recommends:
“I would recommend doing activities that keep their brain stimulated - especially if they won't be having as much face to face contact with people as they usually do. Brain training games, crosswords and Sudokus would all be good activities and there are some great and fun activities that have gone online in the wake of the lockdowns such as virtual choirs, virtual murder mysteries and so many more. These will help keep the brain stimulated and help the person still feel connected with others.”
Puzzles and games to keep you occupied:
- Word search
- Brain training games on iPhone/Android
Something that people may not think about whilst they’re at home is giving some tired furniture a bit of an upcycle. Whilst we have more time at home than usual turning old and tired furniture, clothing or any items around your home into something re-purposed is a great way to save money but it also allows you to get creative.
Upcycle My Stuff is a DIY and sewing blog focused on upcycling, reusing and repurposing the things we all already have lying around our house as well as things we would usually recycle or throw away and is run by Kristen, she gave us some recommendations and suggestions if you want to try upcycling:
“I would recommend upcycling projects for a few reasons. One you don’t have to shop for supplies, you just use what you already have around your home and two you can feel good about both making something and decluttering your space or reducing the amount of rubbish/recycling you send out your door. I would specifically recommend setting yourself a sort of challenge – last year I challenged myself to make as many things out of two of my husband’s old button-down shirts as I could. I managed to make 18 different things from a teddy bear to a zipper pouch and even a wall hanging.”
Almost anything around your home can be re-purposed with a little bit of creativity, so seeing what you can create from old and tired materials is a great way to pass the time.
Kristen continues: “I think any activity that involves making something is highly satisfying and can be great for mental health. Upcycling, in particular, has this super uplifting effect because you are in essence taking something that had no value before – it was unused, unwanted, about to be thrown away – and transformed it into something that does have value.”
Similarly to upcycling, getting crafty can help reduce stress, anxiety and improve wellness and is a great way to exercise the brain during times like these. Eileen Burns, Stress Management Expert, Therapist & Coach, Owner of Stress Coach Training explains the benefits in a little more detail:
"Hobbies don’t just reduce anxiety, stress, and other mental health challenges but are great for the soul. As we get older, we may not be able to do some of the activities we used to love to do but there are still so many new and old hobbies and activities that can ignite passion. Some of the most fun activities we can do as we get older are those that bring out our inner child; drawing, painting, writing, arts and crafts, model car kits. The list is endless and don't worry if you have any mobility or disability challenges, there are so many different activities available to try."
Crafts you can try from home:
- Model car kits
A unique option but one everyone can enjoy together digitally over the phone or on a video call and that is escape rooms. As all of the escape rooms are currently closed for you to visit in person, many of them are offering their services online for family and friends that want to enjoy them.
“There are loads of things you can do to have fun while at home. We love doing Escape Rooms online with the whole family,” says Laura from Savings For Savvy Mums. She continues: “There are loads of family-friendly Escape Rooms for all ages including Harry Potter themes and Space. They are not only funny and promote communication from the whole family, but they are also fun too. It’s important that we all keep occupied during lockdown whatever our age as staying in can make you feel lonely. Staying connected with friends and family while playing games online can really help battle that feeling while making you laugh.”
UK based online escape rooms:
Watching a new series
What better way to pass the time during a lockdown than to start a selection of new series to keep you occupied? Claire St from On The Soap Box highly recommends starting a new series to pass the time:
“I’d recommend watching something you enjoy on the television. It could be a soap opera, a comedy, or even a cartoon. If it’s brought you joy in the past then you should definitely revisit it, as television is one thing that hasn’t been taken away from us. It’s a good opportunity to escape from reality and to absorb yourself in a different place. You could also use television time to do some knitting or crochet. We can use the television to distract us from lockdown. Just make sure you don’t use it to overconsume news!”
Great new TV series to watch in 2021:
- It’s a Sin
- The Queen’s Gambit
- The Serpent
- A Perfect Planet
READ MORE: Best new series to watch in 2021
If you often struggle with your mobility and are often looking into stairlift prices, then these activities are great for you because they require minimal movement. Take a look at some of the suggestions and keep occupied through the next few months.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.