When it comes to organizing your senior living social calendar, finding new, unique, and meaningful activities for your residents can be a challenge. As the warm weather sticks around, why not use it to your advantage? Many fun activities for seniors, such as trips to the beach, are simple to organize and don’t require much of a budget or any additional tools. In fact, for some activities, you only need an app.
Add some of these fun summer senior group activities to your calendar to increase resident participation and encourage mental and physical exercise! With an exciting and dynamic schedule, your senior or assisted living community will thrive and stand apart from the rest.
Fun On-Premise Senior Group Activities
Deliver a Healthy Dose of Competition
Engage residents in outdoor yard games by organizing teams and having them compete with one another. You can also consider collaborating with another local senior center or community for more fun, socialization, and healthy competition!
Incorporate some traditional yard games like bocce ball, horseshoes, and badminton, and offer creative games such as giant jenga or life-size dominoes and kerplunk. With a larger selection of games, you can accommodate each resident’s level of ability. Try exploring Pinterest to discover ideas for creating your own lawn games from scratch. If you know of a local boy scout troop or volunteer groups, they may be able to help build games for your residents.
Paint a Masterpiece
Set up painting easels outside in your courtyard or on the lawn with clean canvases or thick card-stock. If your facility doesn’t have paint sets, you can make use of recyclables such as empty egg cartons. Squeeze paint from a tube into each section of the cartons to create easy, low-cost painting pallets.
Allow residents to paint whatever they desire or mix it up by suggesting themes and bringing in props for still-life paintings. If the area surrounding your facility offers beautiful landscapes, you can move the activity around to provide residents with inspiration.
Create a Colorful Garden
Have your residents help make a garden at your facility! Straw bale gardens are great for seniors because they minimize bending and eliminate digging. They’re also easier to maintain over time.
If you opt for a vegetable or fruit garden, residents can assist with planting, watering, and harvesting each item. The vegetables and fruits can then be incorporated into your facility’s menu, and you can have seniors participate in preparing them for serving. Not only will this encourage healthier food choices, it will also provide residents with a sense of pride and value since they grew and handled the food themselves.
Take a Meditation Moment
With the help of useful apps like Smiling Mind, Insight Timer, and Stop, Breathe & Think, you can guide residents through daily or weekly meditation sessions to encourage wellness and increase focus. These sessions are perfect for quiet, shaded areas in which residents can embrace nature and clear their minds at the same time. Plus, the sessions only require a single app, so it’s a simple, cost-effective activity to add in between other activities that may require tools, props, equipment, or extra time for set-up.
Set Up an Outdoor Concert
Put on a concert for your residents by setting up a stage and placing chairs on your facility’s lawn. Bring in a local musician or singer, or have a local school choir perform. Whether the music is soothing or upbeat, residents are sure to love the entertainment. If you can’t seem to find anyone to perform, you can ask staff and residents about their talents and turn the concert into a talent show!
Fun Off-Premise Senior Group Outings
Find a Petting Zoo or Animal Cafe
It’s been proven that interaction with animals is beneficial for seniors. In fact, research suggests that pet therapy can help people cope with depression and stress-related disorders. By working senior activities with animals into your senior living schedule, you’re sure to boost your residents’ moods.
Find a local petting zoo to provide seniors with the opportunity to pet and feed animals such as sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, and horses. If there aren’t any petting zoos near your facility, you can also try searching for an animal cafe. Animal cafes serve food and beverages to customers as cats or dogs roam around and play within the building. Seniors would even have the ability to pet and hold the animals throughout the length of their stay.
Apps like Mind Body make it easy to search for local fitness and wellness activities around your senior living facility. You’ll be able to find traditional fitness classes like swimming or fun, trendy sessions such as Laughter Wellness classes. Laughter Wellness classes use both laughter and fitness to incorporate cognitive-behavioral therapies, decrease negativity, release muscle tension, and enrich relationships.
Consider Animal Yoga
Combine the best of both worlds with animal yoga! This type of yoga allows individuals to experience a relaxing yet strengthening workout with animals such as cats and goats. One community from Country Meadows in PA tried out a goat yoga class and it ended up being a hit with the residents. The activity connects nature, animals, and deliberate movements to enhance cognitive skills.
Take a Crack at Geocaching
Geocaching takes traditional scavenger hunts and games of hide and seek to the next level. With the help of a mobile app, leaders can assist seniors as they navigate and explore new places in nature. Once they reach the location on the GPS, the seniors can take a look around to find the geocache treasure! This type of activity promotes focus, strengthens problem-solving skills, and gets participants up and moving. It’s great for encouraging seniors to stay active both mentally and physically.
At a craft show, seniors can browse, socialize, and become inspired to become more creative in their downtime. If your residents have already taken up crafting, they may even be able to participate in the show by showcasing their creations. Find a few art-inspired events in your area with helpful apps like Evensi, and plan to go at a time that’s expected to be less busy. This will allow residents to be more independent and take their time at each craft table without feeling anxious or pushed to move faster.
Experience a Local Farmer’s Market
A farmer’s market displays and sells anything from fresh foods to homemade items. Much like craft shows, each stand features something new. Since these markets usually have an abundance of locally-grown fruits and veggies to choose from, you can turn a trip to the farmer’s market into a cooking activity once the group returns to your facility. Allow residents to shuck the ears of corn they picked out or peel and slice the carrots and cucumbers they chose.