Activities For Bedridden Seniors (34 Fun Things To Do Together)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Being stuck in bed on a permanent or even temporary basis can drain the life out of people. Here are lots of activities for bed bound seniors that are fun, entertaining, and engaging as well.

activities for bed bound seniors

Being stuck in bed on a permanent or even temporary basis can drain the life out of people. Here are lots of activities for bed bound seniors that are fun, entertaining, and engaging as well.

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It’s easy to lose interest in life when you’re bedridden.

Many seniors feel that their life is over if they’re bedridden, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are still many great ways that caregivers and family members can help bed bound seniors to pass the time by sharing in some great activities with bedridden seniors.

Activities to Entertain a Bedbound Elderly Person

Here are a few great ideas to help to get you started.

1. Read Together

Read them a book or allow them to read the book to you if they’re able. Either way you’re sharing time together and encouraging them. Don’t want to get sucked into a novel? Read them poetry or from a book of short stories.

2. Work Out a Riddle or Quiz Together

Two heads are always better than one and you’ll be amazed at how sharp their mind still is for solving riddles and quizzes. Work on a word search or crossword puzzle together. Again, what one of you doesn’t know the other one may well know.

3. Help Them to Write Letters to Friends and Family

Bring over a pack of nice stationary with you for them to write their own letter. Or, let them dictate one to you if writing is difficult for them. Take the letters to the post office for them. Then, encourage grandkids and other family members to write them back as well.

4. Peruse Old Recipes Together

Ask them for their favorite recipes. Then ask them what changes they made that weren’t on the card! You could even go a step further and make a few of the recipes for them so that they can enjoy them again. Use this Recipe Keepsake Book to keep track of them.

5. Give Them A Room With a View

Ensure that they have a great picture window in their room and plant some flowers outside of the window for them to enjoy. Add a birdfeeder or squirrel feeder to the view for even more entertainment. You could also add in some windchimes if they enjoy listening to them. Crack the window for some fresh air.

6. Watch a Movie or Program Together

Streaming services make it really easy to find something that you will both enjoy. You could also bring in a DVD player and binge-watch their favorite old-time television programs or movies.

7. Pamper Them

Give them a manicure or pedicure (or both as time allows) and paint their nails. Do their hair and maybe bring a nicely scented lotion that they will enjoy using at their leisure. It’s amazing how just a few minutes of pampering can lift up the spirits of a bedridden senior.

8. Look Through an Old Photo Album

Ask them who is in the pictures. Also ask them the story behind the pictures! You may want to jot down a few notes on this one so that you can remember later on who is who.

9. Invite a Friend Over to Visit

Then, serve them tea and cookies while they’re visiting. Have a tea party with them and make their favorites.

10. Ask Them to Share a Favorite Memory With You

Ask about their childhood or young adult life. What was their upbringing like? What was their favorite pet? Again, you may wish to take notes or record this for enjoying later on.

11. Make a Mess With Paper Airplanes

Bring along some white paper and make paper airplanes. Try different designs and discuss the dynamics. Have a race and see who can fly the farthest. 

12. Have the Kids or Grandkids Do a Skit for Them

They can act out their favorite books or a play or Christmas program they were in. Make sure it’s funny and will keep their interest.

13. Play Some Old Records

Play some of their favorite old records or use an online music streaming service to play their favorite oldies. You could go a step further and dress the part as well. Don’t be afraid to sing with them too!

14. Video Chat With a Friend.

Show the bedridden senior how to do video chats with friends via Zoom, Facebook or Skype. Then, leave the room and let them visit for awhile.

15. Give Them a Hand Massage

Give them a hand massage with a nicely scented lotion. Even just a hand massage can make a huge impact on uplifting their mood.

16. Let Them Beat You at A Game of Cards

Find out what their favorite card game is and challenge them to a game. To really lift their spirits, let them win!

17. Get Messy With Playdough 

Give them some play dough to work with. Try to make models of each other. This can help exercise the hands too! 

18. Break Out Their Favorite Board Games

Play board games (Yahtzee, scrabble, etc.). Play Dominoes. Play Bingo. Play Monoopoly.

19. Work A Puzzle

Work on a jigsaw puzzle together. Set up a puzzle board to store it on incase you don’t get it done in one sitting.

20. Introduce Them to Video Games

Get them a tablet and teach them a fun video game. If they really like it, get them a game console find some more games that they will enjoy.

21. Plan the Audiobook of Their Favorite Novel

Find out what their favorite novels are and play the audiobook version for them to listen to. You can play it on a phone, tablet, or even cassette and DVD rented from a library.

22. Set Up A Fairy Garden

Set up a fairy garden in a corner of the room for them to enjoy. Make up stories about the fairies and what their lives mugh be like.

23. Work on a Craft Project Together

There are many easy crafts that can be done at home. Some ideas include making a suncatcher, making a birdhouse, making potholders or creating a garland. These crafts are not only easy to do, but they can also be enjoyed by seniors and their families.

24. Have Them Teach You Knitting or Crochet or Embroidery

One way to do this is to have them teach you how to knit or crochet. Knitting and crochet are both simple crafts that can be enjoyable by anyone, and they can be a great way to keep your mind alert and your body active.

25. Help Them to Write a Memoir

Bring over a journal and encourage them to begin writing their life story. If they aren’t able to write you could write it out as they tell you and self-publish it for family members. If you need some inspiration, take a look at the Story of My life Workbook at Amazon.

26. Learn a New Language Together

There are lots of ways to learn new languages from books to tapes, to online services. Don’t want to learn a new verbal language? Then , try learning sign language together.

27. Write a Story Together

They tell you a sentence, you tell them a sentence, and then back to them. By taking turns you write the story together. It’s a fun way to pass an afternoon. Who knows, you may just write a great novel together. Not up to a novel? Write poetry together instead.

28. Tell Each Other Jokes

Laughter is good medicine after all. Make it a contest and see who go the longest without laughing. For extra fun, don’t be afraid to get (a little) dirty with it.

29. Wear a Funny Hat

See if they will say anything to you about it. Bring them one too and have a funny hat day. Wear a different hat every time you come over.

30. Have A Party

Have a party and make it a fun day by celebrating something such as “the sun is shining”, flowers are blooming, new pets, etc. You could also do this on their birthday or a holiday. Make sure to make them a special dessert with a candle to blow out (cupcakes are ideal for this purpose).

31. Play on a Whiteboard

Make turns drawing something and set an egg timer or something to see who can identify the most pictures.

32. Unravel an Old Yarn Project to Upcycle It

Grab on old afghan, blanket, or pot holder and untie the yarn. They may enjoy using this for a fun future project.

33. Pick a Theme for Their Room

Periodically, go with a theme day and decorate the room to match the theme. The beach, a mountain stream, fishing, are all great ways to celebrate something unique and fun.

34. Make Every Day A Holiday

Nearly every day on the calendary is some special day recognizing some event or famous person. Find out what the holiday is for the day you visit and research it. Bring over the informatio and discuss it together.

Do It Together

These are just a few of the many great ways that you can help to pass the time for someone who is bedridden. Whatever activity you choose to do, the key is doing it together!

How about bringing a gift along with you? Here are some of the best gifts for bedridden seniors.

Sources:

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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