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11 Fun Activities to Do With Aging Loved Ones


Elderly mother and daughter pushing a baby stroller

When you’re caring for an aging loved one, it can be tricky to see past day-to-day events. Finding leisure activities can help both sides reconnect, while avoiding stress. Whether your loved one has a high-degree of mobility or is more sedentary, what matters is that you are spending time with them and that they are getting attention and interaction.

Get inspired by these suggestions:


For Loved Ones with Limited Mobility:

1. Learn a new game
Board games, card games, word games, online games — pick something you both enjoy and either learn how to play or work on improving your skills. Not only is this a fun way to spend leisure time, but it gives you both something to do if you need a pick-me-up.

2. Cooking or baking
Focus on new recipes, techniques or ingredients. Or, if you come from a family of cooks or bakers, consider dusting off old favorites — nostalgia and togetherness can be a powerful medicine.

3. Create a family tree
Ask your loved one about his or her personal history and the family’s history, and pull all of your new knowledge into a family tree. Consider recording these sessions so future generations can hear the stories and connections for themselves!

4. Exercise
Even if your loved one has physical limitations, there are plenty of ways to be in motion. Consider daily walks, chair exercise DVDs or, even, Wii video games, which offer low-impact fitness and sports games.

5. Start or join a book club
A book club gives you and your loved one something to enjoy together while, at the same time, adding a great solo activity — reading those books — into the mix. Check libraries or online message boards for book clubs and, if you can’t find one, consider starting your own.

6. Pamper them
Never underestimate the power of touch. A massage, pedicure, manicure, or simply rubbing lotion on your loved one’s hands or legs can be help you connect and relax at the same time.


For Loved Ones with Good Mobility:

7. Head to the park
Pack a picnic lunch or snack and head to a park. Depending on your loved one’s mobility, you can spend the day strolling or, simply, sitting back and enjoying your surroundings and company.

8. Tour a museum
Find a museum that appeals to both of you, and head over during a quieter time — usually weekday mornings are much less crowded than afternoons, evenings and weekends. If your loved one needs special accommodations, be sure to check out the museum’s website in advance.

9. Seek out events
Wherever you live, there are likely plenty of performances, concerts and festivals happening every week or month, many of which will appeal to you and your loved one. Not only are these fun to attend, but scheduling them creates something fun for you both to look forward to.

10. Take a class
Depending on your mutual interests, this can be anything from a college course to art classes to cooking, writing, music or anything in between. You may even consider a tech-based class that helps your mom or dad improve his or her online skills that can also help parents stay better connected to family and friends.

11. Plant a garden
Whether it’s at home or as part of a community garden, this activity will give you both something to come back to again and again. Even if your loved one has restricted mobility, he or she can still come out and enjoy watching the garden grow.

For more information on caring for your loved ones, visit the Caregiving section of HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019

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