People with limited mobility, whether due to illness or frailty, often face feelings of isolation and boredom. To address these challenges and enhance their well-being, it is crucial to provide residents with meaningful and engaging activities that can significantly improve their quality of life.
This is one of many free activities.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

People with limited mobility, whether due to illness or frailty, often face feelings of isolation and boredom. 

In long-term care facilities, residents with limited mobility may have a range of conditions, including mild dementia and more severe health issues. They often do not leave their beds unless staff assist them into a wheelchair or a comfortable chair. 

To address these challenges and enhance their well-being, it is crucial to provide residents with meaningful and engaging activities that can significantly improve their quality of life.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Someone is Your Time

One of the most precious gifts you can offer is your undivided attention. Let them know that they are loved and valued, and that they have not been forgotten. If you find yourself short on time, find volunteers who can help you in this meaningful endeavor.

Here are some one-on-one activity ideas that can help you maximize the time you spend with residents. Tailor these activities to suit the individual preferences and needs of each resident.

15 Uplifting Activities for People with Limited Mobility

1. Learn Some Words in a New Language:
Learning a few words from different languages can be a fun and engaging way to connect with non-English speaking residents. Simple phrases like "good morning" or "hello" can brighten their day and foster a sense of inclusion.

Related: Learning Opportunities for the Elderly in Long Term Care

2. Enjoy Brain Games:
Provide books with riddles, quizzes, word searches, Sudoku, and arithmetic logic puzzles. Solving puzzles together not only stimulates the mind but also creates a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.

Related: Collection of Riddles

3. Write a Letter or Read a Poem:
Encourage residents to write cards or letters to friends and family, or read poems aloud to them. This activity promotes emotional expression and reminiscence, fostering meaningful conversations.

Related: Poetry to Share

4. Visit the Garden:
Ensure that individuals with limited mobility have opportunities to spend time outdoors, even in shaded areas. Exposure to natural light and fresh air can improve their well-being and circadian rhythms.

Related: Outdoor Activities

5. Provide a Bird Companion:
For those who enjoy solitary activities, consider introducing a feisty budgie as a companion. This can provide comfort and a source of distraction in their own room, with assistance from staff or volunteers for care.

Related: 15 Activities for Loners & Introverted Seniors

6. Entertain with Old-Time Movies & TV Shows:
Offer a selection of magazines, books, and DVDs based on residents' preferences. Watching movies or TV shows and discussing them afterward is a wonderful way to engage and connect.

Related: Holiday Movie Recommendations for the Elderly

7. Offer Comfort Gifts:
Consider providing comforting items such as warm socks, satin pillows, tote bags, or sensory blankets. These thoughtful gifts can enhance their comfort and sensory stimulation.

Related: How to Make TwiddleMuffs

8. Provide a Relaxing Massage:
Consult with senior health staff before giving massages to bed-bound residents. Using essential oils for hand or foot massages can provide comfort and relief while facilitating conversations.

Related: Aromatherapy for the Elderly

9. Indulge in Delicious Food:
Discover residents' favorite foods and offer them as a special treat. If you have a diverse group, engage relatives in group cooking sessions to prepare dishes from their countries of origin.

Related: Cooking Activities

10. Get Active with Upper Body Exercises:
Engage in upper body exercises through activities like balloon games or singing songs with actions. This helps residents maintain physical function and adds a fun element.

Related: Activities Incorporating Exercise

11. Become a Beauty Therapist for the Ladies:
Offer pampering sessions by moisturizing their faces, combing their hair, doing their nails, and applying lipstick if desired. This act of care can boost self-esteem and well-being.

Related: Beauty Therapy Activity

12. Make Paper Airplanes with the Men:
Spend quality time with male residents by learning to make interesting paper airplanes together. This activity can spark creativity and reminiscence.

Related: Paper Planes Reminiscing Game

13. Stimulate the Senses with Mobiles and Wind Chimes:
Hang mobiles with various themes from the ceiling, allowing residents to enjoy visual stimulation. Changing the mobiles weekly can keep their environment fresh and engaging.

Related: Sensory Stimulation with Wind Chimes

14. Play Music:
Music is a powerful mood enhancer. Tune in to their preferred radio station or provide an iPod with a playlist of their favorite songs. Explore music from their culture if they speak a language other than English.

Related: The Benefits of Individual Music Activities for the Elderly

15. Put together some jigsaw puzzles
Large jigsaw puzzles with beautiful images can be a source of entertainment and reminiscence. These puzzles can be placed on the bedside table for easy access.

Good Luck!

Remember the best gift you can give a person with limited mobility is your time; just being there to hear them or hold their hand and helping them feel loved, valued, and connected.

We'd love to hear your feedback!
What activities have you found to work well for people confined to bed?

Save time with 1000's of meaningful
activity ideas for every occasion.

Enter your email address to collect your free activities.

✓ 100% Privacy ✓ No Spam

Comments   Post a Comment

Mel 20th Sep 2023
what are the different activities that can be suggested to an elderly who is bedridden and have arthritis in fingers?
The person loves to talk but have dementia
Susan 23rd Sep 2023 Activity Director
Hi Mel
Talking is a great activity so let this person talk
Singing is also a great thing to do
If you want to be creative, then you can take a song and change it or add to it
One I’d like to do is if you’re happy and you know it and think of all the things you can do that start with every letter of the alphabet or just random things see how many he can remember which will help the memory
Bobbie 18th Dec 2022
Our residents are very fond of an inflated dice, I call it ‘math dice’ they roll the dice twice, then they call out the answer, I write it down and the winner is announced after everyone has had a turn.
Susan 19th Dec 2022 Activity Director
Good idea, Bobbie
Marion 9th Aug 2021
My husband has Alzheimer’s along with Adisons, diabetes, illeostomy, and small tumour, on his kidney, and is awaiting to have a cancer removed from his face. I am finding what I can do to give him a break from being continually in bed he sometimes sits in his chair but I would love the help to get him in his wheelchair carera s don’t have the time. If you know of any organisation that could help I would appreciate it as I do not want him in a nursing home.
Susan 9th Aug 2021 Activity Director
Hi Marion
I am sure there a resources in your community
You could contact an elder care association Alzheimer’s Association
You could also think about hospice care
It’s not just for end of life but for those who need extra
Hospice will provide many resources for you
Helen 24th Jun 2021 Home Manager
For us at Heartfelt if someone is mobile there is nothing like a bit of sunshine. A stroll in the garden.
We have a man coming back from hospital having broken his femur. Not possible to operate. Need every idea to keep a busy deaf man in bed for 2 to 3 weeks. the fishing pole with magnet sounded good. thanks,
Donna 30th May 2021
These are a few suggestions that come to mind. I hope they are helpful.
For some people a Tablet may be ideal. Games, books to read, or Audio books, movies, puzzles, articles of interest, are available on them, often free. It may not be known that some people use to crochet. Inquire of family about this. I have crocheted for years, so maybe some of these people use to do that. You Tube has a lot of learn how to's on it Some may draw, sketch or doodle. Others may like to journal.
For those who may be in bed most of the the curtains each day so they can see outside. Arrange their bed by the window if possible. Sunshine makes people feel happier. Bird watching is a fun thing to do, too. Get them a bird book for their state.
I have limited mobility myself. I try to find things I can do seated so much. I find that it can be creative coming up with new or interesting things to do. I'm not big on television watching. But Audio books are helpful.
Responding to blogs in comments are also a way to feel useful and helpful to others. It's the next best thing to visiting someone when you are limited in going anywhere.
Susan 31st May 2021 Activity Director
Hi Donna
Thank you for all your helpful suggestions
Susan 4th Aug 2020 Activity Director
Hi Mary
I am also very sorry for your condition
Just out of curiosity are there any exercises you can do even if they are simple
I assume you have seen a therapist that has reevaluated your situation
Perhaps you can ask someone who cares for you about simple exercises
Also besides what Solange has suggested have you tried meditation
You probably will have to modify this activity to suit your needs but you get the jist of it
Are you able to talk on the phone even if you have to use the speaker feature??
I am sure you can get a conversation going with some friends and family
Are you able to use a smart phone because there are many games that are mind stimulating you can play that will help you pass the time
I hope this helps and I hope you keep a positive attitude because that is so important
Mary Lister 3rd Aug 2020
I am bed bound and can only lay on my right side 22 hrs. a day. Can not sit up at all due to double sciaticas. What can I do for stimilation in this confined pisition? Thank you!
Solange 3rd Aug 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Mary, I am very sorry for your troubles. I hope you get better soon. Meanwhile, a media device propped up near your bed could stave off boredom. Also, you could 'travel' with Golden Carers in the "Armchair Travel' activity on a large TV. You could also have a positive and enthusiastic person to talk to, read you the news (good news!), or if you are an animal lover you could have a kitten to cuddle or a dog visiting you. I hope you find strength with each day; and that each day brings you closer to a full recovery. Sending love your way.
Ellen Palumbo 14th Jun 2020
I bought a go fish game from Hobby Lobby. It has 2 fishing poles and fish with magnets. It helps with her coordination.
Susan 15th Jun 2020 Activity Director
What a good idea Ellen thanks for sharing
Yanina 29th Jun 2019 PSICOLOGA
me encanto, muchas gracias
Susan 30th Jun 2019 Activity Director
Podríamos ser de ayuda
Elaura 3rd Dec 2018
So glad I found this! It's getting rough. She's bored and agitated. She always wants something, but can't ever tell me what when I ask. 83, multiple strokes, but she can still manage to get herself out of her diaper and out of bed with the rails up. Then she hollers because she's cold and can't go anywhere.
Trying the music, coloring books, and stuffed animal today.
Talita 8th Dec 2018
Thanks so much for your feedback Elaura!
pam 27th Mar 2018
You could try activities that stimulate the senses like tray clothes that have different materials with various texture sewn on to them or materials that rustle. Use things like rain tubes. use cuddly toys or dolls [ cuddling a doll can bring out feelings of nurturing and purpose]. It is a bonafide therapy for people with dementia.
Misbunny 21st Mar 2018
I thought yeah when I found this list for my Mom bed ridden at 76 from MS in a nursing home. Well dang it I've all ready done it all and more but she still refuses to participate in life unless she can do it like she did "For 40 years" which is no longer physically possible. Yikes I could just give up....
sarah fisher 15th Jan 2018
These are gr8 ideas but what about the bedbounds who can't talk? Apart from nailcare and massages is there anything else?
Solange 15th Jan 2018 Diversional Therapist
Hi Sarah,

There are a few good activities one on one; if you don’t have the time maybe a volunteer could help you. Here are a few suggestions that do not rely on speech:
- Read aloud for client (topics that interest him/her)
- Listen to Talking Books or music together
- Do a large print CROSSWORD together; answer the questions yourself but ask client if he agrees with you.
- Grooming hair and makeup
- Simple crafts: 'Hand of God' or unravel old wool sweaters
- Paint or colour a picture
- Plant seedlings together
- Make a poster together: client can point out where pictures go, choose and cut pictures
- Place client on a wheelchair and take them lunch/Church, Coffee drinking.
Susan 31st Dec 2016 Freelance Activity Co-ordinator
I go to a nursing home and all residents are in bed. It is very difficult to think of things to do with them, so thankyou for this x
leanne 4th May 2016 Carer
At our facility we have started taking coloring books and template's to our residents that do not attend activity sessions and like to spend time a lone. They enjoy showing the staff and other residents the progress of their work. Our care staff have also shown interest in what the residents are doing and some wonderful conversations have started.
Shelley 2nd May 2016 Music therapist
I like the idea of the mobiles, I purchase the picture mobiles that can hold 10 photos so the person in bed can see them hanging, as they can not see them on a bulletin board in the room. thank you for the ideas
Faith 5th May 2015 Diversional Therapist / Lifestyle Assistant
Is there any suggestions for people confined to Princess chairs majority don't speak or don't interact but this can change from moment to moment I find manicures work well but I can't do this all the time and music is a obvious one.
Sue 23rd Sep 2014 Lifestyle Officer
Thankyou these ideas are great, I love "The golden Carers"
Lesley 27th Jan 2014 Diversional Therapist
Lesley 27 Jan 2014
Thank you ! so much for the wonderful ideas and examples. I am so glad that I found this site.. It makes me feel as if I'm not the only person who has an uphill battle sometimes with various comments on how or what should be done for the residents. It is hard to do planning which I mostly do at home anyway and also the activitiy program, evaluations and reviews etc. in the time allocated. Congratulations to all the Lifestyle people out there we must feel proud of what we do as we are bringing some pleasure and laughter to our wonderful residents.!!!
Juliette 8th Jan 2014 study recreation therapist
I love this!!
No Avatar