Here are some suggestions you can share to help your parents to overcome boredom in senior living and make their days more enjoyable.
- Have Them Shake Up Their Routine
For some seniors, routine can be comforting. Breakfast at eight. Reading the newspaper at nine. Stretching exercises at ten. Watching a favorite TV show at eleven. Having a routine during the day can help some seniors feel in control of their lives.
But for other seniors, predictable schedules become boring. Maybe they don’t want to play bingo every Tuesday afternoon or do a craft activity every Thursday morning. Sitting in their room watching TV every weekend gets a little dull, too.
When boredom sets in, often the best way to alleviate it is to shake up their routine. Review the activity calendar at their community and suggest they do something they’ve never done before. Is dad skipping the weekly Happy Hour activity? Why not give it a try? Maybe mom would enjoy going to the Tuesday movie, instead of sitting in her room.
Also, look over the schedule of activities for something that you don’t see every month. If there’s a seasonal event—a Valentine’s Day party in February, for example—be sure to encourage mom or dad to participate. If their senior living community invites a singer or a dancing troupe to provide entertainment, have them attend the special performance.
And if nothing on the senior living schedule strikes their fancy, encourage them to challenge another resident to a gin rummy game or chess match.
- Learn Something New
While some people believe the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” that is not actually true. We can learn when we are older, and in fact, science proves that engaging our brains allows us to make new neural connections and enhance our brain health. In fact, one of the best ways to engage our brains and keep ourselves from becoming bored is the novelty of trying new things.
Here are some ideas for other activities seniors can try:
- Learn a new card game like bridge or canasta.
- Learn how to knit, sew, or embroider.
- Learn a musical instrument such as keyboard, guitar, or ukulele. Have your music teacher come to your community.
- Take up crossword puzzles.
- Make a New Friend
Encourage mom or dad to make a new friend. Chances are that there are always new residents are moving into their senior living community. Remind them that those new residents will appreciate a friendly greeting or conversation. Invite the new resident to join them for an activity.
Chat about your families, your interests and hobbies, your likes and your dislikes. Chances are you’ll find something in common.
- Find Their Creative Side
Being creative can involve a wide range of activities—from painting and sculpting to writing and storytelling. If they’re able to express themselves with art or dictate a story into a recording device, then the boredom they otherwise were feeling may just fade away. They might find themselves eager to get up in the morning to create something new.
- Get Physical
A lot of times, boredom is not really boredom but lethargy. Sitting or staying in place for too long can make you feel sleepy or listless. Conversely, getting out of their chairs to do a physical activity makes them feel more energetic, enthusiastic, and excited about life. Many senior living communities have walking or exercise clubs, so be sure to take advantage of those.
If something like that doesn’t exist, start an exercise group of your own. Participate in morning exercise routines that allows you to be more active and feel more physically fit.
- Put Something Special on the Calendar
Boredom typically occurs if one day melds into another without anything to look forward to. The key to alleviating boredom is to make sure they put events on their calendars that you know they will enjoy. It may be something as simple as writing down the days that a special relative or friend is coming for a visit.
Seeing those special dates on the calendar will brighten their outlook and help them realize that residing in a senior living community doesn’t mean them have to lose their opportunity to do the things in life they love to do.