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Activities or Fun for Elders

Elders often suffer from memory loss and dementia. How we can help them to be active so that their brain remembers and recognizes happening around them? This is where activities can help. To create focus, memory and attention we can help them by making them participate in various games and fun filled activities. These activities also relieve stress, encourage language skills and cognitive skills, etc. all while having lots of fun. We all need to know that genetics is only a portion of what impacts our memories and brain function.

Gather elders and make them participate in several games at home, park or elderly care. You can also include elders in these games when you play with other age groups.

All this is for fun and make them live longer happily!

1. Singing: Singing in a group: Old movie songs, bhajans, patriotic songs, guessing the songs, guessing artists, musicians, composers etc.

2. Quiz: Asking multiple choice answer questions on various subjects.

3. Puzzles: Solving puzzles related to various subjects.

4. Rangoli: Art for older women who likes traditional art. They can use rangoli powder and if their figure shakes can use chalk.

5. Cooking: Simple cooking competition or cooking together makes it fun. Ask members to talk about nutrition aspects or their experience with food.

6. Debate and discussion: Allow each elder person to express their view on a particular topic.

7. Pick and speak: Write down one topic (umbrella, river, my favorite place, music, mother’s cooking, my sister mother, father, my pet, my favorite book etc) per chit and ask elders to pick and speak about the topic or subject.

8. Pass the pillow: Ask elders to sit in a circle, ask them to pass the pillow. Let a music play in the background. In between stop the music and person who has pillow should do an item act as suggested by others.

9. Math Bee: Reciting “times tables” like, “9 times 9 equals what?” If you got it wrong, you sit down. After 20 minutes, whoever was left standing got a prize. The other way to do this is the elderly participants will be sitting, and pass out a colorful card or piece of paper to hold. If they get the question wrong, they put their card in a basket. After the designated time frame, whoever still has a card gets a main prize. But everyone gets a prize just for participating. You can also do a similar exercise with addition or subtraction – which may be easier for certain groups.

10. Photo puzzle: Collect old photos from family, wedding pictures, newspaper, old actors, actresses, politicians, places etc and show the elderly participants. They must identify who, what, where etc. Have everyone the group bring a photo of themselves from when they were a little child. Write their name on the back. Put a post-it note with a number on the front. Attach them all to a bulletin board. Everyone in the group gets a pen and paper, with a list of all the numbers. After each number, they write the name of which adult in the group they think the child was. Whoever gets the most right wins a prize. Name tags can also be worn.

11. What I Loved to do as a Child: Elderly games can also involve fun reminiscing. For this one, go around the room with each person discussing their favorite activity or hobby when they were a child. Ask them to share a fun memory.

12. Identifying flowers and animals: This is lots of fun for anyone who loves gardening or nature, and is also a good memory exercise. Show them live beings or photos or pictures and ask them to identify.

13. Name That Tune: Musical elderly games are always a great favorite and this game is good for both the memory and mood.

14. The Best & worst advice I got: Elderly games that involve laughs are excellent mood lifters. Ask elderly persons to write the advice they got and let the read it loud. Those people get a prize.
15. Fill in The Hymn: Get phrases from some favorite old hymns and leave out the words. Participants and either call out the answer to fill in the phrase, or write them down. When someone gets one right, they can receive a prize. Or if writing them down, whoever gets the most right gets a prize. Or whoever turns their answers in first and gets them all right wins.

16. Identifying musical Instrument: This is particularly fun for those who have loved music in the past. Instrumental music is ideal for this game. You will need a music player with a pause button. Choose a song that is well-known (including classical) and that includes a variety of musical instruments – piano, guitar, drum, veena, sitar, tabla, saxophone, violin, jalatharang, harmonium, trumpets, etc. You can play the song all the way through first, if you’d like. Then as it plays, pause when a predominant instrument comes in, so the participants can either call out the instrument or write it down. This game encourages participants to stay focused and alert, and to recall information. Good music is calming and uplifting to listen to.

17. Identify the personalities: Generally elders like old movies, politicians, musicians and other personalities. Show them photo of personalities and ask them to identify and give some information about the person. Elders like to talk and share their knowledge and they will have fun.

Author: Sumana Rao