What to Do When You’re Homebound: 7 Activity Ideas for Bored Seniors to Do

Before his dementia advanced, my grandfather was busy creating woodcarvings and other treasures in his workshop—his strong, work-worn hands guiding heavy pieces of wood through table saws with ease and grace. But when he lost the ability to walk, getting him to the workshop was next to impossible – not to mention he wouldn’t have been able to safely manipulate the tools and equipment.

For seniors who are bedbound or homebound (as well as their caregivers), it’s important to stay engaged and active in order to avoid depression, isolation, and boredom, which can sometimes lead to other physical ailments too (i.e. bedsores, insomnia, weight loss). Here are 7 activity ideas to keep seniors feeling busy at home:

  1. Explore the world via the World Wide Web. Some older adults are still hesitant about using computers, but there are so many ways to get online these days – and so much to do when there – that it’s often worth the time, expense, and effort of introducing it. Look up your alma mater, use Facebook and other social media platforms to keep up with friends and family, play games, research everything you’ve wondered about: the possibilities are endless!

  2. Mind the view. This is especially important for those who are bedbound. In the article Staying Happy When You’re Homebound, you’ll find great suggestions for keeping the view outside the window(s) interesting, and how they can be a source of ongoing intrigue and activity (i.e. people-watching, bird-watching, gardening).

  3. Board games don’t have to be boring. From Scrabble to solitaire and jigsaw puzzles to Jenga, games are a great way to connect generations and keep caregivers/careers from resorting to hours of mindless TV-watching. If you’re open to digital games, there’s a host of them online, and many retirement communities have found the Wii to be a wonderful way for seniors to stay physically active without leaving the building. You can even play games with friends and family members who are far away through applications such as “Words With Friends”.

  4. Write a letter or call someone — without using a computer. It’s such a simple activity but it has great benefits. Correspondence keeps you socially connected, gives you something to look forward to, and ensures that someone outside the house knows how you’re doing.

  5. Tinker. So maybe you can’t work on a vehicle or build a piece of furniture if you’re bedbound, but there are certainly smaller items you can take apart and reassemble, refurbish, and rewire. You can find manuals for almost anything online to help you if you get stuck along the way.

  6. Do something creative or learn something new. Drawing, knitting, crocheting, painting, calligraphy, working with modeling clay, writing poetry, listening to music or lectures: these can all be done at home (and even from bed). Can’t get to the store to purchase supplies? Use sites like Nextdoor.com or Facebook to ask a neighbor for help, or shop online at your favorite craft store to have supplies delivered right to your home.

  7. Work/volunteer. Whether it’s making follow-up calls, providing advice to businesses, or tutoring students, many jobs can be done from home these days. Learn more in this article from AARP: Work from Home Jobs for Retirees. Or do it the old-fashioned way: look up a few local non-profits in your phone book and call to see if they need any help.

Interested in exploring a home or commercial accessibility project? Type your postal code below to see if there’s a locally owned 101 Mobility® near you.