Have you been wondering how to entertain your elderly parents when visiting in the winter? Enduring the long, dark days of the season can get frustrating, but a visit from loved ones is a pleasure they always look forward to. What can you do indoors during that time? Let’s discuss a few activities to enjoy together in assisted living, compiled by our team of activity directors at United Methodist Communities.
Attend a Class or Activity at the Community with Them
If your parents are new to the community, they’ve likely shared photos of their children and grandchildren with their new neighbors and even told an anecdote or two. Attending a class or activity during the visit with your elderly parents is a great way to see who they socialize with, and experience a bit of their daily life.
Staying active in the winter is especially important for older adults. Even if your visit falls during scheduled workout time, they should still be encouraged to attend their exercise classes. Whether resistance training, tai chi, aerobics, or yoga, go with them where possible and make sure you dress for the occasion. They might even surprise you by taking you to a fast-paced Zumba class!
Window Bird Watching
Birdwatching is a family activity that can be practiced anywhere, during any season – even in winter. Although many of New Jersey’s summer birds fly south in the winter, there are year-round residents and even birds that migrate to NJ from up north. If the community where your elderly parents are staying is near open water or along the coast, you might see tundra swans, loons, bufflehead ducks or northern gannets.
Year-round bird species you can search for through the window when visiting your parents include American goldfinches, titmice, woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, sparrows, and many other species of finches. And although not everyone loves squirrels, they can be very entertaining to watch through the window on a cold winter’s day.
Arts and Crafts Day
Do you remember doing arts and crafts as a child? Why not have an arts and crafts day when visiting your senior parents in the winter, and leave something behind that will make them smile when you are not there? Paint rocks with them, do scrapbooking, or work on a memory quilt together.
Do you have an elderly relative with dementia? The Alzheimer’s Association states art projects create a sense of accomplishment and allow for self-expression. Their tips for planning an art project for an adult with middle to late-stage Alzheimer’s are:
- Keep the project on an adult level
- Build conversation into the project
- Help the person begin the activity
- Use safe materials
- Allow plenty of time to complete
A Simple Board Game or Movie as a Family
Other than sports, nothing brings out everybody’s competitive spirit more than board games. When you visit your parents, and the debate about the latest hockey scores comes to no conclusion because everybody disagrees, it might be time to sit down for a simple board game. If the grandkids are small, chutes and ladders can be fun. Monopoly, card games or chess also makes for a wonderful visit.
Memory loss is one of the more recognizable signs of dementia. When visiting a parent or elderly family member with dementia, consider taking an old home movie to watch with them. They might not remember the occasion, but it is still something you shared together as a family.
Just Be Together
When you are not sure how to entertain elderly parents, sometimes just being together is enough. Many older adults develop hearing problems or become sensitive to noise and might feel overwhelmed by board games and other activities. Quiet things to do when visiting in the winter are watching the snow fall or sitting together enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. After all, being together, and spending time with each other, is all that matters.
For more information about our senior living communities in NJ, please visit our website. If you have any questions about the activities or classes we offer, contact our team today. We look forward to hearing from you. https://umcommunities.org/
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/umc-corp/blog/how-to-entertain-elderly-parents/