50 Activities for the Elderly in Lockdown and Isolation

50 Activities for the Elderly in Lockdown and Isolation

Found In: Activities Articles Coronavirus: Covid-19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing chaos worldwide and this is a hard time for so many. We need to hang in there - these crazy times will pass. Here are some in-room activitiy ideas for residents to enjoy while in isolation.
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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing chaos worldwide and this is a hard time for so many. We need to hang in there - these crazy times will pass.

In the meantime, we need to adjust our activitiy planning in accordance with new rules and regulations. Many of us are now in complete lockdown situations. Here are some in-room activitiy ideas for residents to enjoy while in isolation.

Spiritual Activities

Providing spiritual support for people living in long term care is vital to their well-being. It is especially important now, as residents face the challenges of being isolated from friends and family.

There are also many guided meditation apps you can use.

Artistic Pursuits

The therapeutic value of drawing and coloring comes from the need to concentrate. Residents immersve themselves and ‘forget’ their troubles whilst in the midst of a coloring activity. Everyone needs a break from reality sometimes.



Residents will love these beautiful coloring-in templates and artist emulations for adults!


Craft activities like making cards, gifts, decorations, bookmarks and collages can be immersive and gratifying. You can find an extensive and varied list of craft activities here

Sorting & Helping Activities

Activities that make residents feel helpful are always wonderful for memory care. Everyone needs to feel useful and like they matter. Ask residents to help, cooperate, or contribute to give them a sense of satisfaction and belonging.

  • Colour sorting with paint colour swatches from paint store
  • Sorting out packs of playing cards
  • Leaving clothes and fabric for residents to sort by color, size etc.
  • Untying knots (a dozen sailor's knots for example)
  • Unraveling a wool sweater for recycling
  • Cutting squares of old clothes to make a patchwork rug
  • 17 Sifting & Sorting Bin Ideas

Phone Calls or Video Chats

Have family or volunteers call residents for a chat. It will lift their spirits and provide a welcome break. For an even more interactive and immersive experience, why not video chat using Skype, Google Hangout, or FaceTime!

5 Fun Technology Activities For Residents

In-Room Activity Packs

Gather a bundle of activities into a pack for residents to enjoy. Include things like:

Some people are also creating 'Bored Boards' - pockets of different activities for residents to select from displayed in a prominent position - word searches, coloring etc.

You may even consider making your own DIY Crosswords and DIY Word Search themed to your city, local area or care home to share with residents.

You may enjoy the activity cart suggestions in this article:
Portable Ideas to Reach Every Resident, Every Day

Armchair Travel

Travel videos can be fascinating to watch. Choose a country and some suitable YouTube videos to watch and then follow this up with themed activities based on the chosen country: word search, quizzes, coloring. etc

Themed Decorations

Following on from Armchair Travel, why not create decorations in the colours of countries you wish to celebrate. This could be for upcoming events and national days or just for fun!

Fiddle Boxes & Sensory Kits

Rummage, Memory or Sensory boxes are containers filled with everyday objects to assist people living with dementia to interact, communicate and reminisce. These activities can also be a soothing form of distraction.

Seasonal Activities

Continue to celebrate special calendar days with themed activities. For example, Easter is coming soon - why not decorate hard boiled eggs with dye, paint or using other coloring techniques? You can combine this with other related activities such as quizzes, trivia and even creating posters using pictures cut out from old magazines and posters.

Visit the Activities Calendar for a huge range of special days to celebrate.

In Room Gardening

You can enliven any room with a pot plant, and there a pot plants to suit any conditions! Residents should be encouraged to pursue this wonderful hobby, there are many hidden benefits to growing plants indoors.

Activities for Men

How are you getting through the lockdown and isolation period? What activities are working for your residents? Please share in the comments below. Lets band together and share our creative one-on-one ideas! x

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Comments   Post a Comment

susan 26th Oct 2022
heelo this has very good activities
christopher 1st Jun 2022
Hello I'm here looking for some activity's to do with my memory care residents who don't really like to do anything very much. would you have any ideas on what I could do or create do more activity's with me!!!!!
Susan 5th Jun 2022 Activity Director
Hi Christopher
Have you tried any of these

Can you tell what the residente like to do and what they’re capable of doing??
You can use observation their charts talking to the family and staff??
Music is always a good activity to do because most can do it
Edie 25th Apr 2022 Recreation Aide
hi there i'm looking for ideas for camping programs and for Canada Day Week i'm a recreation aide. ThankYyou in advance
Edie 29th Apr 2022 Recreation Aide
Thank you very much for your ideas. Its been most helpful.
Susan 18th Sep 2021 Activity Director
Thank you for your input
It’s always appreciated
Amy Leung 17th Sep 2021
Thanks for the tips of activities. Since during the lockdown, Ive been creating difference projects such as family tree story telling, stimulations exercises with clapping hands, moving legs, printing difference coloring page such as secret garden, sometimes with themes and sometimes with themes and bible verse. my senior mostly are 90s and above, and they love me to plays 80s or 70s songs music for them and with them.
Talita 17th Sep 2021
Thanks for your feedback Amy. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job, they are lucky to have you! All the best x
Karen Elizabeth may Gallimore 27th Apr 2021
I'm looking for ideas for residents in a care setting, many with dementia, some who are bed care any ideas would be great thks
Susan 27th Apr 2021 Activity Director
Hi Karen
I assume that you want to do one to one activities ??
I think some of the activities in this group will help you
Shelley 2nd Sep 2020 Recreation
sending you HUGS, keep going!
Susan 1st Sep 2020 Activity Director
Hi Aviva
Thank you for sharing
You have some good ideas for keeping yourself in shape
You sound like a wonderful person
Aviva Cohen 30th Aug 2020
I am a disabled senior living at home under lockdown.
To maintain my sanity, I
study Jewish law,
Say Psalms,
Watch cute youtube videos,
paint emotional psychedilic type creative colorful paintings,
talk a lot on phone to my kids and friends,
a drop of very gentle stretching
a touch of housework- a very bit of dusting, sweeping, laundry, cooking- don't worry- not too much- believe me
Good luck
May we come out of this mess sane
Michelle Shields 6th Aug 2020
Our residents are also in lockdown and in their rooms. I have given craft and scrap booking activities out to around 10 residents and I’m purchasing more scissors etc to make packs for others. With only 2 lifestyle staff to 120 residents it’s overwhelming. A lot are just feeling lonely and are happy for the company, but with so many and just two of us it’s hard, especially as all the care plans and paper work is still required. Now they have requested we assist with feeds. So typical of age care not to employ more people instead just stretch the already stressed staff into covering other areas. So overwhelmed and undervalued
Tina 29th Jul 2020
The senior I work for loves to tell me about her years. I also ask many questions. I bought a writing pad and i wrote a bunch of questions for her to answer. She enjoyed it. She smiled and tapped into her memories. It was very pleasant for her. I recommend this to everyone.
Talita 2nd Aug 2020
Thank you Tina. Such a lovely idea.
Val Williamson 3rd Jun 2020
What about getting them to talk about their life as a child,teenager ,first job adult life etc of you have a radio system where they can all here it you can choose One of the topics aand see of a couple are interested they talk for whatever length of time you decide it. It could be done like a radio programe ( it May take a few days to get going its tria and error ) the subjects could be anything types of holidays thhey went on.cars they drove what ever theyll chose the subjects eventually.s
Susan 4th Jun 2020 Activity Director
Thank you for this Val
Doris 27th May 2020 Social Worker
I am a Social Worker at an Independent Senior Community. Your activities have been so helpful in keeping our community active and engaged during these difficult times. Thank you for your creativity.
Talita 1st Jun 2020
Thank you so much for your feedbackk Doris, it is so appreciated. All the best! x
Susan 19th Apr 2020 Activity Director
Great ideas Olwyn
Some are great for those in lockdown but I think some are not but thank you for sharing
Olwyn 18th Apr 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Everyone,
We are writing a composite story with individual sections and artwork. The final compilation hopefully will reflect life in our local farming district. I hope to display to in the hallway.
This week we are having a chocolate fruit fondue and pancakes, and have been baking bread and making easy slices. Party pies are a big hit at our seated hallway golf competition too. Our manager bought pansies in pots to decorate the tables, and we changed the decor more regularly. The local children wrote us lovely handwritten letters also at Easter. Of course we are doing face time ,.. I am thinking of having a silly hat day for the next face time.
Thanks for the inspiration and sharing
Paige 10th Apr 2020
These are great ideas! I am also a activities director and have been running out of ideas for our residents. I have leaned that an old fashioned drink and snack station has been a winner for all of us over here. nothing like a ice cold Coca-Cola or an old fashioned root beer. Or Pepsi cola and salted peanuts.
Susan 7th Apr 2020 Activity Director
Thank you Kelly for sharing
Good luck and good health to you
Kelly 6th Apr 2020 Lifestyle Coordinator
Good Afternoon All
Interventions we have had
Hallway Bingo through the PA system
Hallway sing a long and gentle music
Activity Books
Borrow Trolley with an assortment of books, dvds, cds , jigsaws etc to borrow
Ice Cream Trolley
Shopping Trolley
Happy Hour Trolley
Pen pal writing system with our volunteers that cant come in anymore
Pen pal writing system with sister sites
Video chats with families
Increase in one on ones
Exercises are being held in open spaces out in garden etc
Kay E 26th Mar 2020 Activities
I can only see one page when I try to download it, can someone please check this for me? Thanks!
Talita 27th Mar 2020
Thank you for pointing this out Kay, this problem has now been resolved x
Susan 24th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thank you Kristen
Kristen 23rd Mar 2020 Activity Director
We're doing multiple things!

Word searches
Crossword puzzles
Individual Crafts/Painting
Reading short stories
Individual Boggle sheets
Hallway trivia and answer
Nail painting
Hand massages
Virtual Skype calling
Children making cards
Hallway bingo: Sachem
Passing out lunch trays
Coffee Room to Room
Hallway Name that Tune
What’s in the Bag?
Desiree Sebion 21st Mar 2020
Hello! My residents are on lockdown as well- the activity room is closed along with the dining room and any gathering space. I am very lost on what to do for the residents in this time because many of them seem uninterested in any kind of coloring, puzzles or word search
Susan 22nd Mar 2020 Activity Director
Have you tried calling the residents on the telephone
and engaging them in that way
You could also have volunteers call the residents
Try this article to may help you
Rachel 21st Mar 2020 Project Manager
Thank you for sharing!
Susan 20th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Susan 19th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thank you for this article
Many great suggestions
Susan 19th Mar 2020 Activity Director
Thank you for the information very nice of you to share
You are right food always make things better but you must be careful with infection control a wrapped sandwich is probably a good idea
But some places may not even allow that check with your facility before assuming it’s OK
Pamela 19th Mar 2020 Activity Director
As we await the results of a resident that was tested for the virus, we are on complete lockdown and isolation. No outside visitors, residents confined to their rooms.
Despite phone contact with family, this separation has understandably caused some anxiety for those who receive family visits daily. We finally found a use for all those boxes of donated note cards! It seems to have helped some of our residents to write a note to their sister, son or daughter and let them know "I'm OK". For many of our residents that means dictating a note to activity staff and simply signing the card.
We've also spent productive time cleaning out drawers - a chore, as well as good one on one time, is accomplished.
We are distributing a Puzzle of the Day to high functioning residents - those who participate will have a special catered lunch when the virus threat is over.
Don't forget a good old fashioned ice cream cart - an ice cream sandwich always makes things seem better!
Hang in there everybody!
Solange 19th Mar 2020 Diversional Therapist
Hi Pamela, what great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
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