Winter can be as magical as impractical. The cold calls for hot cups of coffee or cocoa, and the shorter days can mean more rest and quiet. If you have a loved one in an assisted living community or nursing home here in the Arvada or Denver area, you might wonder how you can help brighten up their days. Here are some ideas for next time you visit.
Stay inside and watch a movie together. This can be a lot of fun for both of you. Bring out the blankets and hot drinks or snacks and make sure your senior is comfortable as you set up your own little movie theater. Plan to suggest a few titles including some movies from when they were young adults and let them choose. It may bring back memories and start a whole conversation on how things were back in the day.
Games and activities. It might be cold outside, but inside it can be warm and happy. Think about a new game you can bring Grandma that would help bring some fun and cheer into her life. Does she like cards? Board games? You could also help her start an activity that could last her long after you leave. Perhaps a colorful puzzle of the beach if she’s an ocean lover. Once you get the puzzle situated for her, she’ll be able to work on it little by little and you can check in on her progress. Games and activities can be a great way to establish a relationship with an elderly person, or build on a long established friendship. For those seniors in a Memory Care program with Alzheimer’s, dementia or some form of memory loss, it’s a good idea to get in touch with their caregivers and find out what games or activities would be helpful and mentally stimulating for them.
Assisted living communities often offer lots of comfort and activities for residents. But going out somewhere fun with a family member can be exciting and special. There are many places where you can stay indoors and keep your loved one warm. A short walk outside may be possible. Just make sure to keep them bundled up with a warm drink ready for when you come back inside! Still, in general, indoor activities will likely be much more comfortable for them. Try a coffee shop and let them order off the menu. If they aren’t into coffee, hot chocolate or tea is very likely to be on the menu as well. If your senior is able to walk or is wheelchair bound, you may be able to take them to a local mall for a stroll around some shops. This is a great activity for those who are more mobile, or who are able to sit in a wheelchair for longer periods of time. Or, plan a spa day with pedicures!
Sometimes its important for seniors to just sit down with a hot drink and tell you stories about the past. Being together with them and letting them remember and share their wisdom with you can mean so much for them. Plan a little time. In these days when everything is instant and there is so much rush, it can be very beneficial to take some time and slow down. You can learn so much and give so much at the same time just by being willing to listen.
Reading. Depending on your senior’s preference, good old-fashioned books or even audio books may help keep them interested on a snowy February day. Their preference may be strongly determined by hearing or vision deficits. Find out what interests them. Perhaps its old westerns or fun historical romance novels. Giving them a book or magazine can bring them hours of enjoyment. Plus you’ll have something to talk about when you get together next time. You can also find out if your loved one’s senior community offers residents a library.
Preparing for spring. It’s cold out now but warm days are ahead! You can help bring them some hope. Encourage your loved one to start becoming more active as possible. Remind them that spring and summer days are coming soon, along with outdoor activities and outings. To help them prepare, find out what exercises are recommended for them. It could be just a few short walks a day even inside. Watching spring flowers grow also gives hope that spring will soon come. A pot of flowers could be fun to water each day. They can watch the plants grow and bloom into colorful flowers.
Winter can be spiced up with great indoor fun, even long after the holidays are over. It’s the time to make use of Christmas gifts as well as new inspiration that you can bring them! Have a little fun too and help them live life to the fullest as the last weeks of this Colorado winter wrap up.