During the holidays, many groups take time out to host different events for a local senior center (such as Bridgeport Place Assisted Living). While all of these activities are appreciated, most centers would enjoy a group that would commit to an hour or two once a month, or at least several times per year. This will allow them to offer additional activities for their seniors without having to commit the manpower or staffing. Coming up with a varied list of activities to do would make this fun for you, your group, as well as the seniors that you are benefiting.
Arts and Crafts
While not everyone is artsy, there is a lot of fun that can be found in trying. Engaging seniors in various arts and crafts will not only help them exercise their hands and fingers, but it will also serve to keep them mentally strong. Being able to display something that they have made on their own (or with your assistance), will only come in second to the enjoyment that they will receive from spending time with you and your group. Poll your group for ideas that they would like to lead or participate in.
Watching things grow appeals to the nurturing spirit in most people. Providing the seniors the opportunity to plant something that they start from a bulb or a seed, will not only give them ownership, but is a really inexpensive activity to do. Live plants will accent their living environment, as well as contributes to cleaner air quality. Ask the center about allowing you to care for an area, or a raised bed that your seniors can transplant their plants in later.
If you are doing this activity during the winter, consider using bulbs such as paperwhites, hyacinths, or even tulips. All three of these are easy to force into blooming, and will produce early spring color indoors. Once they quit blooming they can be replanted outside, where they will bloom the following season.
There are not too many people who do not enjoy playing various types of games. Seniors are no exception. Something as simple as Bingo can really bring out the competitive spirit in them. Consider bringing in inexpensive prizes. If you choose to play for small sums of money, such as a penny, nickel, or dime per card, ensure that management is alright with this idea beforehand.
Card games are also very popular with seniors. You would be pleasantly surprised the number of seniors you will attract with any of the most popular card games. Consider hosting a poker night, and evening of gin rummy, or a day of bridge.
Seniors are easy to host activities for. They are just as interested in the personal interactions as they are the activity. Schedule this event more often to get to know some of the wonderful seniors your location has to offer.