Fun activities for the elderly in nursing homes

Updated April 17, 2017

Younger people sometimes forget that the elderly enjoy a good, old-fashioned fun time just like everyone else. Many older adults are confined to nursing homes because of health issues or a desire to live among their peers, which can make creating lighthearted activities for them a challenge. But it isn't impossible, and it is definitely a blast once they're able to participate in these activities.


It is usually thought of as a hobby for craft-loving housewives. But scrapbooking provides a creative outlet and a beautiful way to preserve treasured memories. It is a project for the elderly that requires the help of volunteers, who may be needed to act as eyes and agile hands for cutting with scissors. Scrapbooking allows the elderly the opportunity to reminisce while putting together timeless keepsakes for loved ones.

Prom Night

Proms don't have to be just for teenagers. Hosting a prom night in a nursing home provides a plethora of opportunities to bring out seniors' quirkier qualities. Nominating a king and queen, and giving other awards for "class clown," "most optimistic," even "most likely to succeed" can add a new level of fun and youthfulness to the evening.

Ask for donations of formal wear for the event, and enlist volunteers to help with hair and accessories. Discourage a lot of make-up, as it can look tacky on the elderly. Pass out corsages, and don't forget that even those in wheelchairs enjoy being "spun" around the dance floor. Choose music from the residents' teen years, and have your best amateur photographer take prom pictures for the evening.

Talent Shows

The focus is often on keeping the elderly in nursing homes entertained, so it is forgotten that they also possess various talents and gifts. Allowing them to express themselves through dance, comedy, the arts, music and drama is a perfect outlet for their natural creativity and talent. Giving them a venue to share it with others is a sure-fire way to mix it up with more than traditional card games or movie nights. Make talent night an anticipated evening by inviting friends, family and members of the community.

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About the Author

Renee Miller has been writing professionally since 2008. Her accomplishments include being featured in Harlots' Sauce online magazine in January 2009, among others. She studied communications at Auburn University. She is currently a designer for an upscale floral design shop. She decorates homes and businesses, designs wedding flowers and is known for her exquisite sympathy designs.