With self-isolation as the new normal, you may be missing your usual outings with family, bridge games, religious services, book clubs, or casual social visits and other ways you like to be entertained.
That makes staying entertained while staying safe at home is now more important than ever. Here we’ve shared dozens of suggestions adapted from dailycaring.com for games and puzzles, books, radio shows, and podcasts, music, cooking shows, crafts, documenting life stories, senior-friendly exercise, and free online learning.
1. Have fun with crafts and hobbies
Coloring is an activity that can be adapted for any level. Plus, there are hundreds of free templates to print that are available online to keep you entertained for hours on end!
We share some top free options in this article – Free Coloring Pages for Seniors: Our Top 5 Picks.
This art form is fun and adaptable to any skill level. Learn to fold origami flowers, boxes, airplanes, ninja stars, and other projects in these free tutorials from The Spruce Crafts.
Bringing a bit of nature inside is a fun project. A simple way to try your hand at indoor gardening is to save your veggie scraps and regrow them.
This guide from Rural Sprout shares tips for regrowing 20 types of vegetables and herbs.
It’s fun to watch new leaves sprout and an excellent way to ensure that you have some fresh greens and herbs on hand.
2. Play fun games and puzzles
DIY bean bag toss—The bean bag toss game is so simple, yet so entertaining if you’re safe having family or friends over!
Make your own with this quick DIY version that cleverly uses a cardboard box for the targets.
You can use anything small and non-bouncy for the bean bag (so it will stay put after it’s thrown). And if keeping score would make things more exciting and keep you entertained, mark the holes with numbers.
Find jigsaw puzzles that are right for your cognitive or physical ability level – Activities for Seniors: Jigsaw Puzzles
These large print crossword puzzles are fun and easy on the eyes – Free Large Print Crossword Puzzles for Seniors
Or, buy a book of crosswords so you can choose the level of difficulty or theme to keep your mind entertained – browse these options.
These puzzles that use numbers as placeholders are surprisingly addictive – Free Printable Sudoku Puzzles for Seniors
These nostalgic games haven’t gone out of style:
- Checkers – try this large-sized soft board with easy-grip pieces and tic-tac-toe on the back or this 3 in 1 game set that includes checkers, chess, and backgammon.
- Bingo – try this larger home bingo set with plastic balls and markers or this smaller set with wooden balls and markers. You could also play right away for free with a free online bingo caller and printing your own bingo cards (choose “one numeric bingo card per page” for the largest size).
- Connect Four – This is a vertical tic-tac-toe game that’s fun for all ages and will keep you and your loved ones very entertained.
- Yahtzee is a fun dice game that keeps the brain sharp. You could also play for free if you have dice at home, print your own score sheets (PDF), and follow the official game rules (PDF).
- Card games – all you need is a deck of cards and a friend or neighbor to play! Here are instructions for a variety of card games, in order from easiest to most challenging:
- War (2 min video explanation)
3. Document your life stories
Record your life stories with your smartphone or write your own memoirs.
- StoryCorps is an organization that collects and shares stories. They share a list of great questions to ask yourself when in need of story ideas.
- The Legacy Project also shares an extensive list of life questions to keep help jog your memory.
4. Listen to books, radio shows, and podcasts
Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks (books on tape) allow your older adult to listen to almost any book they like.
Listen to sports
Sports fans may enjoy listening to re-broadcasted sports games on the radio.
Listen to radio shows
Some older adults may enjoy listening to radio talk shows, spiritual broadcasts, science talks, and other such programs.
Many radio stations even make these programs available online for free.
Listen to podcasts
Explore the world of podcasts with this slideshow of Top 15 podcasts of 2020 from Oprah Magazine.
Podcasts are like radio shows covering almost any topic you could imagine and are available for free online and will keep you entertained for hours.
5. Enjoy music
Top hits for 90+
Top hits for 80+
- Great Records Of The Decade: 40’s Hits
- Greatest Songs Of The 1940s
- Dinah Shore
- Doris Day
- Nat King Cole
- Patti Page
- Tony Bennett
Top hits for 70+
6. Watch cooking shows
Even if you don’t plan on cooking, there’s something so fun and relaxing about watching someone else cook and be entertained.
Along with the many cooking shows you’ll find on network and cable TV, we love these excellent free YouTube channels:
- Food Network – top TV chefs like Ina Garten, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, and more.
- Epicurious – amazing videos aimed towards the home chef.
- Bon Appetit – expert chefs and delicious recipes from a leader in the food industry.
- America’s Test Kitchen – highly qualified cooks perform thousands of cooking tests every year to develop the best recipes and cooking techniques.
- Food Wishes – Chef John shares his fun-to-make and easy-to-follow recipes.
- Everyday Food – the Martha Stewart Living food editors share videos with easy recipes and time-saving cooking techniques.
7. Stay active with senior-friendly exercise
Exercise is a great way to maintain strength and balance and stay active and boost mood and the immune system.
Our top senior-friendly exercise routines:
- Chair Yoga for Seniors: Reduce Pain and Improve Health
- 3 Easy Tai Chi Videos for Seniors Prevent Falls, Improve Balance and Strength
- Head to Toe Gentle Seated Chair Exercises for Seniors Improve Range of Motion
- 12 Easy and Gentle Seated Stretching Exercises for Seniors in 4 Minutes
- Seated Tai Chi for Seniors: 3 Simple Routines Improve Flexibility and Well-being
- Easy & Effective 10 Minute Chair Exercises for Seniors
We’ve also got dozens of more senior-friendly exercise suggestions.
Bold online exercise programs
To help seniors during the coronavirus pandemic, Bold is offering all new members a free 30-day upgrade to try the Premium Membership (no credit card required). Click the red banner at the top of their homepage to learn more and sign up.
Bold is an online exercise program for older adults, customized for age, strength, and fitness abilities. Take a quick quiz and get a tailored exercise program to improve balance, strength, or flexibility. (We aren’t sponsored by or affiliated with Bold.)
8. Learn something fun and interesting
Our top picks:
- Resilience Skills in a Time of Uncertainty – from the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera
- The Science of Well-Being – from Yale University on Coursera, popularly known as the “Yale Happiness Course.”
- A wide range of courses in culture from Harvard University
- Explore a large selection of courses from Khan Academy – it’s all free, just create an account
- Watch Bob Ross’ soothing painting lessons free on Twitch
- Learn from MasterClass instructors in free “live” sessions available to watch anytime on YouTube – including former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, famed makeup artist Bobbi Brown, and expert baker Dominique Ansel
9. Try relaxation techniques
The recent (and major) changes in lifestyle are stressful for everyone.
Try these free techniques to relax the body and mind:
- Do Nothing for 2 Minutes – just listen to the relaxing waves
- 3 brief meditations – scroll down to see 3 meditation options (3 and 10 minutes)
- Mindful breathing meditation – a 5-minute video that helps you relax by focusing on your breathing
10. Resources for connecting to others
There are organizations working hard to connect seniors during COVID-19. Check some of the ones we like below.
And remember, you can always call us Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to chat with one of our staff members too! We love to talk to seniors. (541) 678 – 5483. Or check out our Not Sure Where to Start page, for a list of things we can help you or your loved one with today.