At-Home Activities for Older Adults

At-Home Activities for Older Adults

Cheryl McClure, CEO of You’re First, joins us to discuss games, crafts, exercises, art therapy and more at-home activities for older adults! We are all stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. You’re First LLC was created over 10 years ago to support the physical and mental needs of seniors. Their vision is to deliver a lifestyle for clients and family members that is free of health related worries.


Large print crossword

Keeping the brain active is an integral part of elderly care, and crosswords are perfect for working the grey matter. Most elderly people have some decline in vision, so photocopy and enlarge a crossword that you and your loved one can complete together. You can source cryptic crosswords for keen wordsmiths or choose easier or general knowledge options for the less academically minded.

Card making

Firm card, craft glue and a range of fabrics, feathers and paper can all be used to create cards for birthdays, Christmas, Easter or just to keep in touch with friends and family. Scraps of ribbon, tissue paper, wool, glitter, sequins and even dried leaves and flowers could be added to provide extra texture or sparkle, and your parent will enjoy sending their masterpieces to family and friends on special occasions.

Seated exercises

Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous to be effective, and there are lots of exercise routines that can be done sitting down. It’s essential to use a comfortable and stable chair – a dining chair is ideal, but it needs to be one without arms.  Texercise from the Dept. of Aging is a great exercise tool.

Search online for seated exercise classes that you can both join in with or download exercise plans aimed at the elderly from the internet. If your parent has dementia, then you might find that some simple games aimed at toddlers might be beneficial, such as clapping along with nursery rhymes or doing the actions to ‘The Wheels On The Bus’, which will also stimulate long-forgotten memories.

Memory game

All you need is a tray and a few household items, such as a box of matches, a napkin ring, a pen, a cup and saucer, a notebook, a purse, or any other small items that you have to hand.

Set the items out on the tray and allow your parent a few minutes to study them. Then cover the tray with a cloth or tea towel and see how many items they can remember.

Another memory game match game – cut a deck of playing cards in half (for poor eyesight they make giant playing cards).  Turn the halves face down; they match the top half of the playing card with the bottom half.

Scrapbook Your Favorite Memories

 Scrapbooking is a great way to commit your favorite memories to paper. These memories and images can be shared with family members. To create a beautiful book, you’ll need:

  • A large notepad or scrapbook template
  • Images of your favorite memories
  • Glue sticks and double-sided tape
  • Markers, pens, and anything else you’d like to use to decorate

Creating a scrapbook is personal, so take your time and highlight your favorite life memories. This project can be as simple or complex as you’d like, and you can always have someone assist with putting the pages together if dexterity is a challenge. If you do need someone to help, ask a close friend or family member and make it a fun opportunity to socialize and connect with them.

Balloon Volleyball

Sit across from each other and bat the balloon back and forth.  Good for exercise and fun for all.

Music Therapy

  • Da Da that tune
  • Download favorite music on IPod with earphones
  • Use an empty coffee can as bongos – keep time with the music

Art Therapy

  • Make jewelry using large beads and stretchy string
  • Mosaic art using buttons, tiles, colored paper, dyed eggshells dried
  • Painting
  • Door hangers
  • Drawing with colored pencils or chalk
  • Color pencil coloring books
  • Make windchimes
  • Rock painting


  • Planting vegetables/fruits/flowers in pots
  • Nature walks in the back yard – incorporate Bird watching
  • Flower arranging
  • Make cookie cutter bird feeders
    • Make a Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder in 8 Simple Steps 1. Mix the Envelope of Gelatin and Water in the Saucepan 2. Add Peanut Butter 3. Remove Saucepan from Heat 4. Prepare Your Cookie Cutter Molds 5. Fill Molds with Birdseed Poke a Hole in the Birdseed 7. Allow the Mold to Cool for a Day and a Half 8. Hang Them Up


  • What am I saying – sentences with jumbled words
  • Name that tune
  • Family Feud
  • Various board games
  • Indoor or outdoor scavenger hunt

Indoor shopping

  • Set up a store inside your home to shop
  • Set up a jewelry store in your home – using items you already have but maybe haven’t seen or worn in a long time.


Virtually Tour US National Parks

Virtually Tour the Palace of Versailles

Watch live cams of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Virtually Tour the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC


For more resources visit our Monitoring the Coronavirus page, join our Common Ground tele-conference and Zoom caregiver support group calls and download our In-Home Gathering Place Activity Guide.