25 Top Activities For Seniors In Assisted Living (All Year Long)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Seniors tend to live healthier and happier when they are engaged both physically and mentally. And in assisted living, a lot of fun opportunities await them. Keep on reading, as we share with you some of the top activities for seniors in assisted living for them to try and enjoy.

Top Activities For Seniors In Assisted Living
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People have the same basic needs regardless of age: to learn, have fun, explore, and live life to the fullest.

Activities for seniors living in assisted living do much more than just pass the time. They are a great way for seniors to lead healthier, happier lives. 

Assisted living communities to offer various activities that suit residents’ varying interests and abilities.

Here are some of the top activities for seniors in assisted living to help them stay physically and mentally active:

1. Christmas Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

Christmas is a time when being away from home can be emotionally difficult. Keeping a senior’s spirits up means it is a lot easier to keep their health up. Fortunately, there are numerous Christmas activities for seniors in assisted living to enjoy.

Here are five fun activities for you and your senior loved ones in assisted living to do this Christmas:

Gift Wrapping

A well-loved tradition during the holidays is exchanging gifts. Gift wrapping is an act that doesn’t require too much energy, which makes it a great Christmas activity for seniors.

It is also relaxing and allows seniors in assisted living to unleash their creative side. Make gift wrapping more fun for your loved one using different art supplies like art papers, colored pens, and ribbons.

Cookie Decorating

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies with your loved one is a classic holiday tradition. It is the perfect intergenerational Christmas activity for both seniors and children.

In assisted living facilities featuring full kitchens, you can make holiday memories with your loved one in senior living with all the warmth of family. 

Holiday Crafting

Holiday crafting is one of the favorite holiday activities for children and one of the numerous popular Christmas activities for seniors in assisted living facilities.

Holiday crafts not only make the perfect gifts that help spread the joy of the holidays to family members and friends but are also ideal for decorating your house or apartment.

Putting Up Christmas Decorations

Seniors in assisted living can be joined by their families to put up Christmas decorations and make their space homey and ready for the holidays.

You can also make DIY holiday crafts such as a Christmas wreath, cute stockings filled with designs, and a Christmas tree with family pictures with your loved one and put them up before the festivities start.

Watching Christmas Movies

Watching Christmas movies is one tradition that never seems to get old. Many assisted living communities have community theaters, which is the perfect opportunity to bring the extended family to a holiday movie in an assisted living community where their loved one is staying.

Alternatively, the senior’s assisted living apartment can be used as a DIY home theater.

activities for seniors in assisted living winter
Here are some winter activities for seniors in assisted living to keep their spirits high.

Winter Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

Winter can be both a boring and dreary season for anyone, particularly seniors in assisted living. Poor weather conditions and shorter days make it especially difficult for seniors in assisted living to get out and stay active.

Fortunately, there are numerous activities for seniors in assisted living to help them stay busy and healthy and keep their spirits high.

Exercise

Exercise classes are a great way for seniors in assisted living to stay healthy and keep their joints moving, no matter the weather.

Since assisted living communities typically offer various exercise classes, your loved one does not need to go far to socialize and stay active. Classes such as Yoga, aerobics, and indoor swimming offer the perfect chance for your loved one to get moving.

Building Snowmen (Using Fake Snow)

Host an indoor competition to find out who can build the best snowman using fake snow.

Just mix together flour to oil at a ratio of 8:1 (8 cups of flour to 1 cup of oil) to create moldable “snow” that assisted living residents can use to build snowmen. Provide ribbons and buttons for embellishing their snowmen. 

Birdwatching

Birdwatching is often assumed to be a summer activity, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Set up a birdwatching station close to the biggest picture window in the assisted living community where residents can view birds in the neighborhood using binoculars.

Set up a toaster oven close by to bake cookies and perhaps attract more residents to stop by and birdwatch.

Shopping Trip

Seniors in assisted living feel their best when they are treated to little shopping trips. Shopping trips are great whether the senior wants to buy supplies for their craft projects, a new outfit, or simply to get out of the community for a while.

It is an excellent winter activity for seniors since they can go out and not have to stay in the cold for too long.

Shoveling (Fake) Snow

Host a fun shoveling competition using plastic shovels and fake snow made of white-packing peanuts to find out who can shovel their pile of (fake) snow the fastest.

Don’t forget to rub the plastic shovels with cloth beforehand to create static electricity to make it a bit more challenging for participants to shovel the packing peanuts that will get stuck to the shovel.

3. Summer Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

The warm summer temperatures don’t have to be a distant memory just because your loved one is now in assisted living.

Finding an interesting activity that your senior loved one in assisted living that’s suitable for their abilities may require some planning and creativity, but it is definitely worth it.

And, since many assisted living residents do not have a car, facilities often provide transportation for events like these.

Here are some of the best summer activities that seniors in assisted living can enjoy:

Swimming

Swimming is a great summer activity for seniors in assisted living. It is not only gentle on the joints but also has numerous health benefits.

It improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and helps reduce the risk of heart and lung disease. For seniors unable to swim, wading or dipping their feet in the pool can be very enjoyable.

Visiting a Place of Worship

Seniors often find visiting a religious place incredibly soothing. Perhaps there’s a certain church, synagogue, or mosque that your loved one hasn’t been to in a while that they would like to visit, or perhaps they would just like to show you around and share their faith with you.

Summer is the perfect time for this. It can be a meaningful experience that helps them reconnect with their faith.

Have a Picnic

Planning a picnic in the park or at a beach with friends or grandchildren is a great summer activity for seniors in assisted living.

Seniors can have a lot of fun outdoors while enjoying the fresh air and soaking up the sun. Moderate exposure to sunlight allows seniors to get vitamin D, which can help prevent infections, fractures, and falls.

Reading

Reading is always a fantastic activity for seniors during any season, but especially during summer. Seniors in assisted living can read while outside in the shade or inside.

A book club can be a great way to encourage seniors to read more and socialize more with others. If reading is difficult due to failing eyesight, consider alternatives such as large print versions or audiobooks.

Watching Movies

Movies provide seniors in assisted living with an emotional escape and can help them take their focus off their current ailments.

Movie therapy also provides seniors diagnosed with dementia with a way to relax. It is generally advisable to let the senior choose the movie to watch, but ensure that you have several genres available.

activities for seniors in assisted living outdoor
Outdoor activities are greatly beneficial to seniors.

4. Outdoor Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

Spending time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air may encourage seniors, especially assisted living ones, to engage in beneficial physical activity. Often seniors in assisted living participate in exercise classes or stroll the community’s walking paths.

However, there are many other outdoor activities that seniors in assisted living can participate in:

Hiking

Hiking can be an excellent activity for seniors in assisted living in most areas since it is a great way to spend time outdoors. It also provides an opportunity for seniors to sightsee or birdwatch.

Furthermore, seniors can choose the desired level of intensity based on their needs. While some seniors might enjoy light walks, others scale mountains instead.

Self-Defense Classes

Seniors in assisted living can also benefit from self-defense classes. Whether for sport or for practical needs, self-defense classes can be a great way for seniors to stay in shape and remain mentally aware.

Various options are available for seniors to choose from, including martial arts, Tai Chi, and many others for all intensity levels.

Cultural Day Trip

Day trips out to fun or cultural places can be great activities for seniors in assisted living. Options include visiting an art gallery, museum, or zoo and spending a few hours there.

Day trips are also good if seniors have children visiting with them – they can be an additional source of fun, but there’s less pressure on the seniors since the children will be distracted.

Gardening

Gardening is a great outdoor activity that’s one of the most popular activities for seniors in assisted living. It is a great way for seniors to get in some light exercise, stay active, and maintain flexibility and strength.

Gardening is also proven to boost mood too. Not to mention the rewarding aspect of the seniors seeing their efforts when plants bloom and grow.

Walking

Walking might sound like a surprising inclusion on this list, but it can be a pleasant way for seniors in assisted living to spend some time.

You can drive out somewhere so that your senior loved one can get some fresh air and enjoy some new scenery, as long as you don’t overdo it and keep them safe. Don’t forget to bring some water and snacks!

5. Ice Breaker Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

Ice breaker activities allow for group participation, which is a great way to get people interested in an activity or event and relax. The following is a list of some of the ice breaker activities for seniors in assisted living to participate in and enjoy:

Crazy Handshake

Crazy handshake is an excellent icebreaker activity for seniors in assisted living. Seniors should be split up into pairs.

Each pair then develops a creative handshake, and each individual then partners with another group member. They teach each other the original handshakes and create new ones together.

Dance

Set up a dance floor and encourage the seniors in the assisted living community to mingle and dance. Select music from past decades for seniors to enjoy instead of modern music.

Seniors can be allowed to choose their dance partners, or names can be drawn from a hat to pair dancers and have seniors switch dance partners every so often to encourage new friendships.

The Hot Seat

The Hot Seat can be fun to bring seniors in assisted living closer together and learn new things about each other.

Here is how it works: one person is selected to sit on the hot seat. Everybody then asks one question (it can be about anything). Just ensure that things don’t get too personal. The goal of this activity is to ask fun icebreaker questions and not to cause conflict.

Name Aerobics

Name Aerobics is a fun and interactive way for seniors in assisted living to learn each other’s names. The group stands in a circle facing each other.

A person is then chosen to start by introducing themselves by doing an action for each syllable of their name. The whole group then repeats the name and motions. The activity continues until everybody has introduced themselves.

Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie is a quick and easy ice breaker activity for seniors in assisted living. The game involves everyone writing three facts about themselves on a piece of paper – two true statements and one lie.

Each person then reads the statements they have written about themselves, and everyone else tries guessing which one is the lie.

RELATED: Fun Things To Do With Seniors In Assisted Living Facilities

Final Thoughts

Assisted living no longer means retiring to a rocking chair, watching TV all day, and playing bingo occasionally. Seniors today demand plenty of stimulation, adventure, and the opportunity to learn something new, and the activities featured here do exactly that.

Participating in group activities like these can help ease older adults’ transition to assisted living. It helps plug them into the social scene and make new friends.

Indeed, most residents of assisted living communities find that they have more opportunities for engagement than they ever had back at home.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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