How Care Home Residents Can Stay Busy During Isolation

For care home residents, as a group, they fall into a highly vulnerable section of our society during coronavirus. As a result, steps are being taken to ensure whole care homes are adhering to the government guidelines regarding isolation, as far as possible. This includes limiting visitors, trips out, and external activity providers.

However, it’s really important that boredom doesn’t set in, or a sense of loneliness or isolation. Therefore, we’ve come up with lots of ideas of things care home residents can do – either alone or with others in the home – to keep busy and stimulated.

1. Get creative

From sketching to doodling and colouring to painting, immense pleasure can be taken from spending some time being creative. Perhaps encourage a new creative hobby such as crochet? You don’t need to be any good for it to be enjoyable.


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2. Out in the garden

We’ve been fortunate to have some glorious weather during lockdown and strolls in the garden should be encouraged. It’s a perfect time of year for watching spring erupt around us, with blossoms and colour galore. Other ways to enjoy the outdoors during isolation and lockdown could include potting and planting, like our green fingered residents. Or maybe create some homemade bird feeders.


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3. Do some shopping

It’s not possible to go to the shops, but plenty of stores are still delivering. Receiving something special in the post can put a smile on anyone’s face. Choose some new slippers, or maybe some favourite foods from a local farm shop.


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4. Make it complete with a jigsaw

Jigsaws are incredibly absorbing and bring with them an immense sense of satisfaction. A jigsaw is a perfect isolation gift for relatives to send in, or choose one from within the home.


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5. Challenge the mind with a puzzle

Whether you’re a Sudoku fanatic, love arrow words, or prefer a classic crossword, paper-based puzzles were made for lockdown. A crossword is a sure fire way for our residents to put their heads together and put the staff to shame!


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6. Don’t be bored with board games

Take a look at our suggestions for board games for people with dementia. Anyone can enjoy these, and unlike many in lockdown, residents have got each other and staff to be willing opponents. There are a huge range of board games that can keep care home residents entertained from Chess to UNO.

7. Journal

We’re living through an important part of history here and people of different ages are recording their experiences of life during coronavirus lockdown. Journaling also has the added benefit of helping to make sense of thoughts and is a wellbeing wonder. Journaling is a wonderful habit to cultivate at any time, but certainly in the midst of a world crisis.


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8. Get lost in a world of words

Books allow us to be transported out of isolation and the here and now, to wherever we want to go. From large print versions, larger font options on e-readers, to audio-books, there is a way for most care home residents to access the beauty of the written word. Reading or listening to stories fires the imagination and allows time to pass in an inspiring way.


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9. Get connected

From sending texts and emails to connecting with loved ones over video calling, staying in touch with family and friends is important. Visiting in care homes may not be possible, but that doesn’t mean that all important connections should be lost. From a simple phone call to a grandchild showing off their latest creation on Skype, staying connected is important.

10. Get mobile with yoga

You’re never too old for yoga, as this YouTube video of Chair Yoga for Seniors shows. Just some gentle stretching and movement can help you to feel energised and invigorated, banishing the stale feeling of lockdown life.


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11. Enjoy a movie

With long afternoons and evenings to fill, why not fill it with some old classic movies? Lots of channels are streaming extra films at the moment, and some subscription services have lowered their price. Care home residents, especially those with later stage dementia, may particularly enjoy watching children’s films.

12. Listen to music

Like books, music can transport us away from the here and now. Listening to favourite pieces can help connect elderly people to happy memories from the past. Being able to just sit and listen is a pleasure that can be enjoyed by anyone in isolation.

13. Record your life story

Families adore hearing about the intricacies of days gone in the form of their loved one’s life story. These recordings can become part of family history, and also an important connection for the future. Being in lockdown is a great opportunity to record some stories from your life.

14. Follow an online course

It’s amazing how many online course providers are giving low cost or free access during these lockdown days. Now may be the chance for care home residents to undertake that course they always wanted to do. Whether you want to know more about psychology, how to draw, or anything else, you’ll probably find it. OpenLearn, from The Open University, and Udemy are great places to start. You’re never too old to learn something new!


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15. Visit a museum

Yes really! You can ‘virtually’ visit a huge number of world leading museums from the comfort of a computer screen. From the British Museum in London to the Guggenheim in New York, you can wander their exhibits without leaving your armchair. Virtual museum tours are a perfect way of exploring the world without needing to break the rules of isolation. Whether you’re interested in art or artefacts, you’ll find something to feed your curiosity.

We know that isolation can be difficult, and we know that residents of care homes have the added challenge of missing their regular visitors, as well as often limited mobility or health difficulties. Hopefully these isolation suggestions for care home residents will help them to keep busy and entertained.