7 Winter Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living Communities
Winter months can be a dreary and boring season for anyone, especially seniors. Shorter days and poor weather conditions make it hard for seniors in assisted living communities to get out and stay active.
Fortunately, there are plenty of winter activities for seniors in assisted living communities to keep them busy, healthy, and in high spirits. Let’s look at a few of the ways seniors can still enjoy an active lifestyle, even when winter weather won’t cooperate!
1. Music to Their Ears
Music is the perfect way to brighten spirits, despite the dreary weather conditions in the winter. Whether your loved one is enjoying a choir performance, a music class, or even a televised concert hour, music is the perfect activity that doesn’t require going outside. Many assisted living communities offer regular musical classes or performance, so encourage your loved one to catch the latest music-themed entertainment provided at their community.
And, the benefits of music go beyond improving spirits, too. Studies have shown that music has the power to increase mobility, coordination, and overall cognitive abilities. In fact, many senior communities offer music therapy as a way to maintain and improve seniors’ memories.
Concerts and classes are a great way for seniors to socialize with each other, too. They will get to know each other better, while reaping all the personal gains music brings.
2. Take a Trip to the Salon
Few activities for seniors in assisted living communities can improve spirits and self esteem like taking a trip to the salon! Getting dolled up for the day is the perfect winter activity. Fortunately, most senior living communities have their own salon conveniently located on-site for residents. A day of pampering is just steps away! Plus, many senior living communities offer group trips to salons or spas, so your loved one doesn’t need to worry about driving or braving the cold on their own.
For women, a haircut, manicure, pedicure, or facial will do wonders for their self esteem. And the men can enjoy a trip, too! Scheduling a haircut or a shave is a great reason to get out and about. Plus, when your loved one looks nice, they’re sure to feel great about themselves!
3. It’s All Fun and Games
Playing a game is one of the best activities for seniors in assisted living communities any time of year, not just winter! Games like puzzles, dominoes, cards, and more are the ideal activities for those cold winter days when seniors are cooped up indoors.
Many senior communities have scheduled game nights, which offer seniors an opportunity to have some fun and socialize. Big group games like Bingo or Scrabble tournaments give seniors a chance get to know other community members and help new members build connections with their neighbors. Wii games are also very popular in senior living and encourage residents to move around while interacting with others and having a great time. Check out this article about Middlewoods' residents competing against dozens of other local seniors at an annual Wii tournament. (We even took home some awards!)
Games can have cognitive benefits, too. Jeopardy is a great example. Whether seniors are watching Jeopardy on television each day and playing along, or playing an at-home version of the game, recalling facts helps improve memory.
4. Let’s Do Lunch
Lunch outings, like shopping trips, are ideal winter activities for seniors in assisted living communities. They can take a group trip to have lunch and catch up with their friends, while still avoiding the cold. Encourage your loved one in a senior community to plan lunch outing with their friends and visit their favorite spot or even try new types of cuisine. Are you skeptical because your loved one can't drive any longer? Don't worry! Assisted living communities offer transportation services for local errands, shopping trips and doctors appointments. There are also out-trips scheduled for all residents to get out of the community and go to movies, restuarants, museums, and casinos on a regular basis.
Going to lunch is a great opportunity for you or your family to connect with a loved one in a senior living community, too. Whether it’s a regular weekly trip or a surprise lunch outing, you can spend some quality time with your loved one and enjoy a delicious meal together.
5. Creative Crafts and Projects
Crafts and projects keep hands and minds busy! So, doing a craft is one of the best cold weather activities for seniors in assisted living communities. Crafts can range from beginner level to expert level, providing a challenge for any senior.
There are so many fun winter craft ideas for seniors, but here are a few to start with:
- Filling snow globes
- Making holiday or seasonal wreaths
- Knitting, crocheting, or sewing
- Sketching or painting
- Making bird feeders for the spring
- Arranging winter flowers
- Scrapbooking memories
While these crafts provide a great place to start, the possibilities are endless! Each of these crafts will help seniors engage the creative part of their brains and at the end of their craft time, they’ll have a project they’ll be proud to display.
6. Treat Them to a Shopping Trip
Few outings make seniors feel better than treating themselves to a little shopping trip! Whether your loved one wants to buy a new outfit, supplies for their craft projects, or just get out of their community for a little bit, shopping trips are ideal.
For seniors, this is a great winter activity because they can go out, without having to stay too long in the cold. This is why many assisted living communities schedule group shopping trips for seniors. Even if they don't need or want to purchase anything, shopping is a good way for senior to exercise, too. They can stay active by walking around closed shops or malls, while steering clear of winter weather conditions.
7. Let’s Get Physical
Exercise classes are the best way to stay healthy and keep joints moving, no matter what the weather is like. Because many assisted living communities offer a variety of daily exercise classes, your loved one doesn’t have to go far to stay active and socialize. Classes like aerobics, yoga, or indoor swimming offer the perfect chance for your loved one to get moving.
Staying active and engaged in their community is so important for your loved one. To ensure they have the best quality of life, even in the winter, look for a senior living community that offers all of these activities and more. In the right community, your loved one will thrive, even in the cold winter months!
Want to learn more about how you can contribute to your loved one’s healthy lifestyle? Get this free guide on 82 meaningful visits you can share with them.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.