6 Fun Recreational Activities for Senior Citizens

6 Fun Recreational Activities for Senior Citizens
April 12 03:39 2022 by admin Print This Article

Geriatric Health or the health of senior citizens is a complex matter. As seniors step into their evening years, there are a whole lot of changes going on in their physical, mental, intellectual, financial and psychological lives. This presents various challenges to elders. Further, with complete breakdown of the joint-family system, and increased migration of younger generations in search of greener pastures, more and more elders are living alone today. This adds another layer of challenge to their lives. It also highlights the importance of staying fit and healthy so as to retain independence, and quality of life, in the older years.


In recent years, Geriatric Health experts have been analyzing health conditions of seniors, their lifestyle, and various activities that are available for them to undertake. According to them, there are various groups of activities that can ensure optimum physical, cognitive, emotional and psychological health. Their benefits are important for overall well-being and quality of life.


Let’s examine 6 such activity groups that are as much fun and recreation as they are therapeutic in value. The fun and recreation aspect is what makes it easy for elders to undertake them and overcome any indifference or resistance to the same.

1. Creative Activities

Creative activities refer to all those hobbies and activities that one enjoys doing, and which involves creating something new or transforming something that is there. This includes a wide range of activities such knitting, crocheting, gardening, painting, writing, pottery, sketching, and anything that is classified under arts and crafts. It also includes taking music or dance lessons, that is, learning a dance form, a different genre of vocal music, or playing a musical instrument.

All these activities cause a rush in the creative juices which stimulate the mind and intellect. It also releases feel-good hormones which aids in psychological well-being. Elders recovering from an ailment or a medical procedure are advised to indulge in their hobbies for the above benefits.

Among them all, Gardening requires a separate mention.  Working among plants and trees in the light of the day exposes the elder to sunshine, and stimulates both mind and body. People with a green thumb, or passion for gardening, can spend hours at a stretch on this and not feel tired or bored because of the satisfaction it offers them.

2. Games and Puzzles

With age, the brain too, like other parts of the body, goes through decline in different ways. The brain size shrinks, so elders are at a risk of mild to severe cognitive impairment. If not addressed in time, this can lead to dementia and in later years Alzheimer’s disease. To pre-empt these possibilities, it’s important to keep exercising the brain like one would do in their younger years. However, not every elder has a full-time or even a part-time job, so how does one jog their mental muscles?

Elders can team up with friends or join a club to play cards, or solve jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku on their own. Today’s Internet-savvy and widely-traveled elders may have exposure to the below games which they can enjoy playing online, or offline with friends.

Bingo, Monopoly, Backgammon, Scrabble, Uno, Poker, Bridge, Mahjong, Chess, Pictionary, Yahtzee, Rummy, Solitaire, Chinese checkers, Crazy Eights, Dominoes, Canasta, Cribbage, Go Fish, etc.

Elders with a penchant for music can sing along in online Karaoke sites.

Psychologists even advise making small changes to one’s daily activities, schedules or placement of objects in their home as these differences can make the person think. This is in contrast to set routines which do not exercise the brain much.

3. Sports and Physical Activities

While everybody understands the benefits of physical exercise, not everyone has the discipline or motivation to do them religiously day after day. One reason could be mobility issues which cause pain or discomfort to the elder. Another could be lack of a gymnasium or exercise options in close proximity. To overcome this challenge, elders can look at options that are less painful, easy to undertake, do not need much equipment, and which are fun too.

Examples include walking, brisk walking and jogging in the outdoors, yoga and swimming. Elders with a passion for sports can indulge in a sport of their choice like badminton, tennis, croquet, Frisbee, lawn bowling, indoor bowling, etc. In addition to the fun factor and the social interaction, elders can benefit from the improved posture, balance, gait, hand-eye coordination and flexibility that all these activities bring, which are similar to conventional exercise.

4. Reading

Reading is that good-old exercise for the brain which will never go out of circulation. The need to follow the content, and appreciate it, keeps the brain working. Reading improves memory, analytical abilities and vocabulary, while helping acquire knowledge or information in new topics. Reading is known to reduce stress, improve sleep and improve communication or articulation. Reading is also relatively inexpensive, effortless, independent of people and can be undertaken at any time of the day and anywhere. The freedom to choose reading content also makes reading more fun and less boring. For elders who are advised to keep their limbs moving all the time, sitting in one place for long hours to read may not be an option. Such people can listen to audio-books while walking, jogging or doing household chores.

5. Pet Therapy

Animals have been human companions since the stone age. Today they may not be beasts of burden like in the past. Today, animals are seen as an important component in therapy and disease treatment. Spending time with, and petting animals is known to reduce stress, improve feel-good factor and get all the positive juices flowing in the body. This helps improve one’s immune response and overcome disease better. Caring for a pet at home helps overcome boredom, laziness and indifference to life.

If keeping a pet at home is not possible due to various challenges, one can look at options for meeting domesticated animals in an indoor or outdoor setting. In many cities, therapists offer this option.

6. Outdoor trips and vacations

If reading makes a learned man, traveling makes a complete man, said a wise person. Traveling and spending time in the outdoors gives elders the required dose of sunshine or Vitamin D, and keeps the body moving, similar to physical activities mentioned earlier. Exploring new places and learning about their history and geography gives the same benefits as Reading, Games and Puzzles mentioned above. Spending time in the midst of nature, while boating, bird-watching or hiking can be soothing to the mind and body.

Today, travel is a sophisticated industry and travel options for elders is an organized business. There are various clubs and travel agencies that offer a wide range of options for elders specifically. People get to bond with elders of a similar profile. This improves the social aspect of their life, which in-turn helps reverse cognitive decline.

In addition to long-distance travel, one can explore localized parties, social gatherings, attending concerts, visiting museums, country-fairs, theater performances, art-shows, sporting events, comedy clubs, etc.


From all the above, it’s obvious that the elders of today live in a much better time and world than their parents or grandparents did. Caring for elders, and elders spending on themselves, are multi-million-dollar businesses today. In the process, both the number and quality of options available to keep elders engaged positively have increased with time. This goes a long way in maintaining their overall health and quality of life.

Reviewed by Dr Suresh S Venkita, Group Medical Director, Kauvery Hospitals

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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1 Comment

  1. Sofia Albert
    April 28, 14:13 #1 Sofia Albert

    I have witnessed pet therapy work and I would recommend it for the older people.

    Reply to this comment

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