Social interaction is an evidence-based practice for ensuring mental and physical health across all population groups. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many senior citizens have become wary of community participation and interaction.
Further still, movement restrictions and social distancing orders enacted to reduce or prevent community spread of the disease have made socializing difficult. This has predisposed the elderly to having more mental problems than would otherwise be normal.
As the situation continues, it’s become necessary to seek alternative ways of doing old things. How will the elderly keep mentally active while maintaining social distancing as prescribed? The answer to this, is what this article is about.
Mentally Stimulating Activities for the Elderly (while Social Distancing)
There are several activities that a senior can undertake to keep his/her brain active while maintaining social distance. They include:
1. Utilize Technology
There is no better time to learn and begin to actively use technology than now. While many seniors are often averse to technology, it can certainly help fill the time. From playing a wide variety of games of online games like solitaire to interacting with friends through social media platforms, technology will keep your brain active.
2. Playing Games
Much more than playing online games, word and card games can be played. Games have been shown to improve cognitive health and reduce the possibility of dementia. Incorporating this as a daily activity is certainly a fun way to keep mentally active.
Reading may be considered a mentally exhausting task by some but it can also be a really stimulating activity for the brain, and more importantly, it can be done alone. Whether you will need to pick a book from the library, buy one or just surf for new information online, just make up your mind to read what you find.
Reminiscing about the past can be quite therapeutic. More than just remembering the past, why not write about it? You can also write letters to your future children or to friends far away. A day is going to come when someone will read what you write and appreciate your thoughtfulness in leaving such a memoir behind. This, in addition to keeping your brain active is why writing is a good activity. If you can write, by all means, write away.
Many organizations now have platforms that allow you to volunteer from home. If there is something you are passionate about, then volunteering for it may be a good way to keep at it. The satisfaction that comes from success at such an endeavour has been shown to help improve brain health significantly.
6. Movie Nights
Small community groups can choose dates to watch movies together while maintaining adequate social distance from one another. Everybody can come with their popcorn/snacks and drinks! This opportunity to get out among people you know will certainly help the seniors.
7. Stay Physically Active
It is quite easy to become sedentary when you’re stuck at home without much to do but eat and watch TV. That’s why it is important you decide to remain physically active. Physical activity is inherently linked to mental health as an improved level of physical activity will also boost mental health. The beauty is that you can keep physically active without ever leaving your house. Stairs climbing, yard walking, stretching, rearranging the house and many more, are all examples of simple everyday activities that can be done totally mentally active.
In all, keeping an activity calendar can help you plan, schedule, monitor and track whatever activity you are doing. This will help you to stay committed and keep your goals in sight. You can easily create one yourself or adapt activity calendar templates available online.
Social distancing notwithstanding, you can certainly remain mentally active as an elderly person!