Social isolation has long been a serious issue for older adults, and isolation and loneliness leave individuals feeling disconnected, misunderstood, and stressed. They also increase one’s risk of death by at least fifty percent.
Emphasizing one’s social wellness is just as important as physical and mental health because every aspect of one’s health is interconnected. Better social health has benefits from a stronger immune system, to lower stress and a longer life.
At televëda, we work to combat the effects of social isolation on seniors through providing interactive live stream classes that encourage engagement and relationship-building.
But, if you’re looking for some easy ways you can support senior citizens’ social wellness on your own, try these five fun social wellness games for the elderly. Whether you’re a senior care worker, or have an older loved one, prioritizing their social wellness will keep them happier and healthier for much longer.
And of course, let’s make it fun!
Trivia is a great opportunity for seniors’ to work their mental muscles and enjoy the company of their friends. Virtual trivia allows for healthy, safe socialization where the players can have fun and socialize from the safety of their homes or senior community rooms.
Trivia is a fun opportunity for social health because you can meet new people, discuss the new information you’re learning, and build camaraderie by playing with new teams every week. Plus, it’s great for boosting memory and recall too!
To play virtual trivia, you’ll need a live stream, a great question bank, and maybe some fun prizes! For step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own virtual trivia, check out this link here.
Or, you can find organizations that are already playing virtual trivia, and help seniors get connected. Facebook has several virtual trivia groups, and other companies such as Sporcle or Trivia Hub Live offer lots of virtual trivia options.
However, note that you’re catering to seniors, and a traditional trivia night may not be the easiest for them to follow along with. For an older population, smaller, intimate groups usually work best. It’s less overwhelming, and easier for seniors to interact with all players, which is one of the main points of a social wellness game! Plus, seniors may need extra audio and visual aids, which may not be provided with pre-made virtual trivia events.
At televëda, we created Brain Games specifically with these parameters in mind, and our senior communities love it.
Charades is an interactive, no-touch activity that is a perfect social wellness activity for seniors during lockdown.
If you’re at a senior center, bring residents to their doorways to participate, and put your “actor” in the center of the hallway to get started! For higher engagement, get ideas from each on what to act out, but make sure you’re the only one handling the cards or written charade ideas.
Players must interact with each other to be successful at this game: you can’t play charades alone!
All sorts of balloon games are fun, distant, and cheap to make! For “Balloon Volley,” blow up balloons and gather cardboard tubes, like from a paper towel roll. Or, purchase fly swatters (around a dollar each) for each of your players. The longer the better, to give your seniors some reach!
Keep all your seniors at a socially safe distance, and release the balloons! Your seniors will have to work together to see how long they can keep the balloon, or balloons, in the air. Keep count of the hits, or bring a timer, and see what some teamwork can do.
Teamwork builds trust and encourages communication, helping your older players form relationships as they play. Plus, hitting balloons for a while is a great, safe workout!
Want more balloon game ideas? Check out this great resource from Golden Carers for more.
To keep seniors safe, make sure to follow all social distancing policies. Hallway bingo and virtual bingo both do this successfully. If you work within a senior community, set up a different bingo for each hallway. Pass out newly printed cards, and start calling out numbers!
If you’re working with seniors in different locations, virtual bingo is the best answer. Like virtual trivia, you’ll have to make sure your live stream bingo is accessible for all the players, and created specifically with seniors in mind. Make sure they can print bingo cards from within their own home or community before playing, as well as have a way to mark their sheets.
Time for some socialized education! Finding online classes for seniors is an effort that’s worth making. Live stream these classes to your residents rooms (find out how to do that here), or if you’re working with an individual senior, set up a live stream on their personal device.
Choosing content can be tricky, which is why televëda has curated experts from around the world to teach our communities. If you want to see some of our offerings, head to our classes page here. You can also live stream museum tours or tourist attractions, and then make sure the seniors have time to meet and discuss what they’ve learned.
And there you have it! Five fun social wellness games for the elderly. Maintaining and supporting relationships with age can not only keep seniors feeling better, but also living longer and staying more independent.
Understanding the benefits of promoting one’s social health is important for not only the older population, but for the world as a whole. Loneliness and isolation impacts all of us, and the only way to combat it is by working together: literally!