Without consistent participation in activities, it's easy to worry about lack of involvement, and wonder how to keep residents and members entertained. Ensuring that there is enough variety by intentionally curating carts with different items could help increase reach while keeping all residents happily active!
There are endless opportunities for community interaction when you have your activity cart. Every senior housing facility has unique needs, so be sure to tweak the following tips based on what works best in your environment. Here are some creative (and favorite) activity ideas for seniors to meet even the most reserved resident.
Different Activity Cart Ideas for Senior Living Activities
Seniors are becoming more and more tech-savvy, and in the last two years technology has taken a front seat to how we connect with those we love. The pandemic has made virtual communication commonplace, and older adults are quickly catching up to the pace: according to research, over 60% of seniors ages 65 and over have a Facebook account.
For your Technology Cart, provide:
Tablets or laptops to allow residents access to the Internet and online games (poker and solitaire are usually popular).
Be sure iPods are already loaded with music playlists (choose nostalgic music genres guaranteed to make them smile)
Add some classic movies and TV Shows.
New devices like Facebook Portal allow residents to connect with loved ones with minimal tech experience. Include headphones for privacy during phone calls.
One of the best ways to encourage seniors to try the technology and explore their interests is to try an online class or event through Televeda. Televeda offers countless activities and lessons that encourage residents to interact with each other, and new members they meet through the platform.
With resident homes slowly opening up to visitors, it's the perfect time to reintroduce some fun. Leave this cart near the front desk or activity room so when friends or family come to visit, they know where to find it.
These carts are terrific ice-breakers, especially when grandchildren haven't seen their grandparents in months (or even years).
Popular offerings in the Family and Friends Visitor Cart can include; playing cards, cribbage boards, UNO (the kids love this, and it's easy to learn), board games, and puzzles. Label plastic resealable bags, and fill them with activity booklets or magazines like puzzles, word games, Sudoku, mazes, and others!
A doodle book with markers is always an accessible offering with residents who like to draw or grandchildren who need to keep little fingers busy when visiting, leaving behind a memorable picture for grandma or grandpa.
Arts and Crafts Cart
While this activity cart idea is commonplace in many senior residents, it's always a popular solution when addressing how to keep elderly entertained. Be sure to change this up with pre-made kits such as rag dolls, stained glass art, birdhouse kits, as well as watercolor and adult coloring books.
If you want to get them started on something new, try a virtual “paint-by-numbers” sticker board, Let's Stick Together! Members can join virtually from anywhere, as can their families and friends from anywhere in the world, and work together to make some fun creations! This is an affordable activity that allows
Various paints and supplies with terracotta pots are fun additions for those with a creative flair and a green thumb. Speaking of...
Green Thumb Cart
Research shows that growing plants improves mood, lowers anxiety, and increases wellness. Many older adults love gardening, and when living in an urban residence, gardening is often one of the difficult hobbies to accommodate.
A green thumb cart is a fun and creative idea that lets seniors get their hands dirty. Offer up various pots (bonus points if they have been previously painted by residents using the "Arts and Crafts cart), potting soil, and a variety of easy-care seedlings.
Consider getting creative with Bonsai plants and sheers or for a "less mess" option have artificial greens, flowers and plants with pots and foam or wreaths to unleash the gardener within.
These plants can be used to decorate the resident rooms or common areas, refreshing the entire space, and benefiting everyone! Plus, it keeps residents extra engaged as they continue to care for their plants through the air.
There is nothing more fascinating than learning about other countries and cultures or reflecting on vacations past. This fun activity idea includes large coffee table books of trips worldwide, National Geographic magazines and trivia cards with fun facts. With the rise in virtual travel and virtual museums, residents love the opportunity to log in on their tablet and take a virtual tour of Italy or visit a museum.
Travel & Leisure offer tours of the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and several others. Be sure to include a headset and a mini globe, for this fascinating cart.
Holiday Card Cart
One holiday or another is always around the corner, and often conjure up fond memories and traditions of days gone by. Have a holiday cart full of fun DIY card-making options from stamps and glitter to holiday-themed magazines and scrapbooks.
Be sure to include watercolor pencil crayons and pre-folded cardstock and envelopes.
Christmas or Hanukkah? Decorate this cart with garland, twinkle lights, and holiday symbols: they’ll be feeling festive in no time. Valentine’s Day? Hearts, glitter, stickers, and more!
This also gives you the opportunity to bring bingo into the mix! Use the holiday carts (or art carts) as a time to decorate holiday-themed bingo cards that you can use for themed bingo games (check out a full list of themed bingo games here). Talk about a win-win!
Conclusion: Activity Carts Can Be Unique!
Unique activity cart ideas generate participation and ensure that there's something for everyone. Encourage volunteers and staff to mix up activity carts every so often and remind your seniors that they can engage in fun activities at any age.