some people playing draughts

Ten Activities for Elderly People with Limited Mobility

Limited mobility doesn’t have to mean limited fun. 

With a little creative thinking, there are plenty of enjoyable activities for elderly people that don’t require too much moving about. Consider their interests and passions, how their mobility affects them and then take your pick together.

Here are ten ideas for banishing boredom, nurturing well-being and adding a healthy dose of fun to every day.

  • Explore Hobbies Old and New

Whether revisiting an old favourite or embracing something new, hobbies are a great solution for those with limited mobility. 

It’s easy to choose one that suits the individual’s physical abilities as well as their interests. Computer-based hobbies such as genealogy or learning a new language are ideal, knitting and crocheting can be done from a comfortable chair and more physical activities such as playing a musical instrument or baking will be perfect for some.

Enjoying a hobby and indulging a passion will keep the mind active, prevent boredom and be a great conversation starter for visitors. 

  • Relish Reading

Getting lost in a book has no age limit. It’s one of the simplest and most satisfying activities for elderly people.

Whether you’re engrossed in a fabulous tale of fiction or learning about a historical great, reading is a great way to while away the hours. Indoors or outdoors, all you need is a good book or eReader and a comfy chair.

Regardless of age, studies have shown that reading can boost cognitive function, improve sleep and reduce symptoms of memory decline. 

For the elderly, reading can be an enjoyable solitary pastime in between visits from friends, family and home carers. And for those who want to combine their love of reading with socialising, book clubs are the ideal way to meet people and share opinions, thoughts and favourite page-turners. If getting out to a book club isn’t possible, reading the same book as your elderly loved one means you can chat about it together as you devour each chapter.

When poor vision or arthritic hands is an obstacle to reading physical books, there are thousands of audiobooks to choose from via services such as Audible and Audiobooks. All an audiobook demands are a pair of ears, a subscription and a healthy dose of imagination.

reading together
  • Get Creative

There’s at least a small spark of creativity in all of us and this doesn’t change as we get older. All things artistic are ideal for those with restricted mobility and deliver plenty of health-boosting benefits.

From crocheting and colouring to knitting and whittling, making and creating is a positive and productive way to while away some hours. 

Getting in touch with your artistic side and learning to do something new can help boost self-esteem, create a sense of accomplishment, reduce stress and stimulate cognitive function.

  • Embrace Your Outdoor Space

Limited mobility can be especially frustrating for those who used to enjoy their own little piece of heaven in the garden. Jobs that were once completed regularly such as weeding, planting and pruning might now seem off-limits.

But adaptations can be made to make an existing space more elderly-friendly. All it takes is a little creativity.

Installing raised beds at waist-height, creating or widening paths and ensuring all tools and equipment are within easy reach means green fingers won’t have to go into retirement just yet.

Greenhouse doors can be altered to allow wheelchair or walking frame access while inside staging can be placed higher to make sowing seeds and potting on more manageable.

If mobility does make physical gardening too difficult, simply watching the birds and enjoying the fresh air can do wonders for mood and energy levels.

dominos on a table
  • Get Engrossed in Great Games

When it comes to games and puzzles for those with limited mobility, the world is their oyster. Choose from solo pursuits such as crosswords, Sudoku, solitaire and jigsaws to pass the time between visits from family, friends and home carers. And when they do arrive, grab a pack of cards or favourite board game to share some fun together.

Online games can also play their part, especially for the competitive. You can challenge someone on the other side of the world to a game of Scrabble or play chess with a friend at the opposite end of the country. 

Games are one of the easiest activities for elderly people to enjoy from a comfortable seated position, boosting memory and mental health.

  • Help Charities

Getting involved with a charity is a simple way to feel engaged with the world, give back to the community and create a sense of purpose.

And supporting a charitable cause doesn’t have to mean leaving the house. Instead, find out what practical help they need that can be done from the comfort of home.

Knitting squares for blankets, putting care packages together and writing letters to children overseas will all feel like a helpful accomplishment. 

  • Welcome Varied Visitors

Having limited mobility makes wherever you call home even more important. If you can’t get out and about easily to meet people, who comes to see you takes on an extra layer of significance.

For those living in their own home, an ongoing relationship with a familiar, regular home carer, like those available at Holm, will help tackle loneliness and support overall well-being. 

And elderly people who are lucky enough to have close friends and family will welcome visitors young and older. Babies will raise a smile, especially if they’re happy to be cuddled and children of all ages will bring a burst of energy and fresh perspective through the doors.

Don’t forget furry friends too. Taking a pet along when you pop in to see a loved one will entertain and soothe. And for those in residential care, charities such as Pets As Therapy unite animals and humans together by bringing dogs to care homes and day centres.

  • Enjoy a Little Exercise

Limited mobility will clearly restrict physical activity, but it doesn’t mean that all exercise is off limits. It’s a proven mood lifter as well as helping to keep the body moving, boosting overall health.

At home, chair exercises are a great way to incorporate gentle but strengthening movement into a daily routine. Easy to follow and simple to do, they can improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls.

Chair yoga is also simpler than it may sound and can be done from the comfort of sitting down in a favourite seat. These poses and stretches have a wide range of benefits including improved strength and flexibility, lower stress levels, better pain management thanks to focused breathing techniques and increased coordination.

Elderly exercise enthusiasts can also do specific movements standing up using a walker for stability or simply focus on the feet and ankles to reduce swelling.

And for the more adventurous, aqua aerobics is a low impact workout that’s easy on the joints, boosts heart health and has the added bonus of meeting like-minded water fans. 

  • Get Out and About

Mobility issues don’t have to mean staying at home day in, day out. Encouraging a loved one to get out and about can work wonders for well-being. 

It may take a little extra planning and advance preparation but a trip out, whether near or far, can invigorate and inspire. And if they have a home carer, enjoying an expedition with familiar company can become a regular date.

Check out any accessibility issues first and then take your pick from a favourite park or stately home on a sunny day, a much-loved café or restaurant for a foodie treat or just a visit to the shops for a browse. 

man with headphones dancing
  • Music, Movies and Memories

No-one would advocate zoning out in front of the TV for hours on end every day. But, if leaving the house regularly is difficult, the telly can be a source not just of entertainment but also education and exploration.

The possibilities here are endless. Instead of falling back on the same familiar programmes, tune into new channels to learn about cooking, history, nature, travel or music. Maybe there’s a show on that reflects a new hobby to expand knowledge and spark conversation. 

For those who prefer the big screen experience, some cinema operators hold special showings for the over 60s, complete with a cuppa and a biscuit.

And don’t forget about the power of music. Listening to old classics and new favourites can reduce stress, anxiety and pain, as well as helping with poor memory and sleep patterns. Singing and dancing along can trigger happy memories, sending those endorphins sky-high.

playing the organ

Fun activities for elderly people will keep boredom at bay, help improve memory and mental health and support well-being. 
Find out how the dedicated home carers at Holm can bring some fun into your loved one’s day with regular home visits.

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