5 Therapeutic Activities for Seniors

Feb 9, 2023

When someone hears the word therapy or therapeutic, maybe they think of talking to a counselor or seeing a physical therapist. While these things are therapeutic, simply spending a day outside, cooking a meal, doing a craft, doing something for another person, or learning a new skill can also be therapeutic.

Being surrounded by other residents can be a significant benefit for seniors who retire in a senior community. When participating in different activities, it’s often more enjoyable for the residents to do things together.

Plus, having a friend to do things with may encourage an older adult to get out and participate when they might have preferred to stay in their room. 

What Is a Therapeutic Activity?

There isn’t a single answer for what a therapeutic activity is because it can vary so much from person to person. An effective therapy for one person may not be effective for another.

Essentially a therapeutic activity can be any activity meant to restore or maintain a person’s quality of life, or slow the progression of skill loss in different areas. For example, anything from various social or outdoor activities to arts and crafts could be therapeutic for different people.

Therapeutic Activities for Seniors

Rather than choosing only 5 specific activities, we’ve broken this information into 5 categories to try and include as many potential therapeutic activities as possible.

Spending the Day Outdoors

There’s something special about spending time outside. If you’re looking for a free, all-natural therapeutic activity for an older adult in your life, turn to the outdoors. Researchers are constantly linking spending time outside (specifically in nature) with improved overall health. Not only can spending time outside help with mood, but it can also reduce stress and help with focus.

Even without the option of walking through a forest or a green space, there’s still a lot of merit to getting outside and spending an afternoon in the sun. This simple act of relaxing can be a form of therapy.

Cooking & Baking

Even when following a recipe, cooking and baking require focus and use memory skills. For some people, creating delicious dishes is their happy place. But it’s more than just enjoying making bread or putting a meal together. Studies indicate that there could actually be deeper mental health benefits when cooking or baking.

Arts & Crafts

Hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity both tend to decline as we age. This is a natural part of aging, for the most part—arts and crafts could be a great way to help slow decline. For example, when using scissors, the senior needs to focus and use small movements.

And if an older adult has severe limitations with their dexterity or ability to move, creating art is something that can be customized to fit the individual’s abilities.

Learning New Skills

You’re never too old to learn something new. And learning new things is a great way to keep your mind healthy and improve your cognitive abilities. The act of learning something new is the key, so it doesn’t really matter what it is.

Some senior communities offer things like dance classes, exercise classes, or yoga. But other new skills a senior could learn include some form of martial art, photography, knitting, painting, or cooking.

Do Something for Someone Else

Depression is a common issue among older adults, so doing activities that help lift mood is almost always a good thing. Interestingly enough, focusing on someone else can actually help. When we do something nice for other people, something happens in our brains: serotonin and dopamine get released. Both of which are mood-lifting chemicals that our brains need.

Who Benefits From Therapeutic Activities

There are far too many therapeutic activities to list everyone who can benefit from them. Some activities help our mental health, others our physical health, and still others our spiritual and emotional health.

One advantage of many senior living communities is that they often have organized activities for residents. So, deciding where to retire may involve multiple community tours to find one that provides the services and amenities that will improve your quality of life and allow you to enjoy your golden years. 

Find the Community That Fits

There are plenty of reasons to choose Chestnut Ridge in Wallingford. But everyone is unique in their personalities and needs, and we want to get to know you. If you or a loved one is considering retirement in beautiful Wallingford, PA, give us a shout.

Our compassionate team is available to answer your questions about the community and the area. We can also book a community tour so you and your loved ones can see it for yourselves.