Activity Ideas

Senior Community Activity Ideas During COVID-19 Quarantines: Part 8

January 19, 2021

As we begin a new year, it is as important as ever to ensure your residents remain safe while reducing the dangers of prolonged social isolation. To help, here is another installment of our activity idea series for your community. From giving life to the hokey-pokey dance to a new spin on the beloved classic bingo, we hope these ten activity ideas, for senior communities during COVID-19 quarantines, help to get your creative juices flowing.

  1. Envelope Poker Run

In a usual poker run, participants travel from checkpoint to checkpoint, drawing cards at each one. The participant with the best poker hand at the end of the run wins and receives a prize. This spin on the classic poker run idea is to have the cards drawn over time, Monday to Friday to be exact. To play this game, deliver a random card in an envelope to each resident each day of a week. Make sure that you take note of the cards when the resident opens their envelope to keep track of their poker hand. At the end of the week, one of your residents will have the best poker hand and will win a prize! Try a $25 gift card to Walmart; it never fails.

Here is a list of the best poker hands to assess which resident won your poker run.

Check out the original idea here.

Image via Propdog

  1. Isolation Hokey-Pokey Using Homemade Shakers

This is an isolation-friendly game that you can play with seniors using homemade bottle shakers! To make a bottle shaker, take a small to medium sized plastic bottle of any kind (like a used pill bottle) and fill about 1/3rd of it with dry foodstuff. Ideas are using rice for a gentle sound or popcorn seeds for a harsher sound.

The dance follows the instructions given in the lyrics of the song, which may be prompted by a recording, staff, or another resident if playing in a small socially-distanced group. A sample instruction sequence with shakers would be:

You put your [right arm] in,

You put your [right arm] out;

You put your [right arm] in,

And you shake it all about.

You do the hokey pokey,

And you turn yourself around.

That's what it's all about! Yeah!

Enjoy watching a video of residents doing the Hokey Pokey to a '50s version of the song & click here to check out the original idea!

Image via Alibi

  1. Playing Dice or Cards While Reminiscing

Sometimes, simple wins out. Prepare your residents their favourite warm drink, like a coffee or tea. Next, get a simple card or dice game out on the table, and start playing for half an hour to an hour.

This is the perfect opportunity to have stress-free one-on-one time with residents, and to decompress yourself. You can share stories, talk about how family is doing, talk about your residents’ proudest moments. Really, it's a time to talk about anything, no competition required.

Image via You are Current

  1. Recorded Reading Session for Elementary School

Holding a session with willing residents to read an elementary grade book will get your residents to give something precious to their community. Since many schools are closed or online, and reading is lifelong fun, what better way to give back than by sharing stories! Residents are loving this idea. Many record their reading and then share it on Facebook. Especially now that many schools are online, creating online material also helps the teachers that are adapting through this change.

Check out the original idea here.

Image via QZ

  1. Making Masks for Donation

All residents can participate in this fulfilling activity. Face masks can be made with any breathable fabric that is machine washable. You can use old t-shirts for example.

There is also a method of making masks with or without sewing. Residents who are adept at sewing would enjoy using their skills to create permanent face coverings for donation to their community or to local schools for example.

Masks that do not need sewing are less permanent, but are more easily made. These would be a perfect fit for residents without sewing skills or for residents with less than perfect hand-eye coordination.

The CDC explains how to create both styles of masks here.

Image via Tucson

  1. Colouring Bundle

Chantiel Hoeppner had the great idea for an affordable system to create colouring bundles for her residents! The bundle includes:

  • Approximately 5 drawings to colour which are stapled
  • Approximately 5 coloured pencils of the same colour pallet, tied with a rubber band

Her trick to creating these bundles cheaply is to purchase 1 colouring books and make photocopies of the drawings going into the colouring bundles. Another resource-saving idea is to break the colouring pencils in two to make more pencils, and share with residents.

The original idea can be found here.

Image via Facebook

  1. Social-Distance Bingo with Megaphone

Tiffany Grace has been helping residents continue to play bingo with a few ingenious modifications to the game! Instead of having everyone in the same room, residents stay in their own rooms, and plastic bingo cards and chips are brought to them. Then, she uses the Let's Play Bingo website to draw the bingo numbers used in the game. Once a number is drawn, she announces it to residents with a megaphone while walking the halls. As well, walking the hallways lets her attend to individual residents when needed. After the game is finished, she collects all bingo materials in a bag from all residents and disinfects them. That way, no one comes into contact with another's bingo game and germs. Even if it's not what they're used to, this style of bingo is going over well with Tiffany's residents!

Click here for the original idea.

Image via Facebook

  1. Wisdom Tree

Jamie Hott had the idea of creating a wisdom tree to engage residents and staff in sharing their ideas, and as a medium for learning.

A simple tree trunk can be posted on the wall, with a station near it supplied with leaves from the dollar tree, a sharpie, and sanitizing supplies. This can be a community-wide project where ideas are added during an entire week, with one person writing one idea each. Following this, the tree can stay within the community for weeks for staff and residents to absorb the wisdom of their peers.

Adding ideas can even be made into a coordinated and engaging activity, versus being passive, by designating certain days of the week to be days where only residents born within a certain decade will add their wisdom. A reward can be given for each resident that participates, like candy. This strategy lends itself to being able to deliver the leaves to the rooms of those residents whose birthdays match the decade of the day, and then collecting the wisdom at the end of the day to be posted on the wisdom wall.

Check out the original idea here.

Image via Facebook

  1. Word in a Word Game

This is a simple game in which you write a word on a white board and have your residents form other words with it, either using the letters of the word or by finding smaller words written within. Use a word with 10 letters or more to make the word discovery more interesting!

10 example words are: California, everything, aboveboard, Washington, basketball, weathering, characters, literature, perfection, volleyball, depression.

More words can be found here!

Click here for the original idea.

Image via Pinterest

  1. Enjoy Music Together

Music has a universal ability to boost your mood, reduce agitation, and increase happiness and engagement. It’s also a wonderful activity to share with your residents during one-on-one time. You could sit and listen together, have an impromptu sing along, or listen as they reminisce over memories. Bring a selection of songs that came out when they were young and ask which they like the most. This is meant as a relaxing activity, and for you and your resident to get to know each other. If you’re not sure they’re enjoying the music, watch their body language for clues. If they seem agitated, switch to something more soothing, lower the sound, or switch to a different activity.

Check out the original idea here.

Image via Albawaba

We hope you found some inspiring ideas to try out with residents in your senior living communities. It is everyone’s mission to ensure the safety of all our loved ones while making sure everyone maintains a good mood, staff and residents alike! Every resident’s well-being is at the heart of what we do. Take these activities to your residents and see how you can improve their day!

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Book a demo of the Welbi platform or chat with us, and we can show you first hand how we can help keep your community safe, organized, and running smoothly. Always.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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