One of the biggest day-to-day problems with care for homebound seniors is the sheer boredom that sets in over time. While there are things that can help fill the time, such as reading new books, doing puzzles, playing games and watching a little bit of television, home care companions can also do easy crafts with their senior for a welcome change of pace.
– Creating homemade greeting cards are a good way to help the homebound feel connected and to give back to the community. Use construction paper in bright colors, folded over to make a card, and give the senior markers, rubber stamps, stickers and other decorations to make Get Well, Happy Birthday and Just Because cards. These cards can be sent to the local hospice, hospital, rehabilitation facility or veteran’s hospital.
– Establish a pen pal relationship with a local classroom of children. Teachers often welcome a new way to tell stories from the past and increase children’s awareness of life beyond their own daily routine. In return, older adults feel reinvigorated by getting mail and enjoy the funny, sweet letters from children.
– Use boxes of photographs to create memory books, accompanied by stories and anecdotes from the past. Caregivers can listen to a story by the senior and type it up, then print the story and cut the paper down to size and add to the scrapbook. This makes for a beautiful and unique heirloom and a great way to preserve history.
– Watching birds can be a restful and entertaining way to spend some time. Make your own bird feeders by spreading peanut butter generously on a pinecone, working it into all of the spaces on the pinecone and then roll the pinecone in birdseed. Wrap a piece of yarn firmly around one of the top pieces and tie a firm knot, then create a loop with the rest of the yarn to hang the bird feeder on a branch near a window.
– Many seniors know how to knit, sew and quilt. Put these skills to use by making baby hats and booties for the local hospital or tiny blankets for the neonatal intensive care unit. Alternatively, the individual can knit socks, scarves, mittens and hats for friends and family.
– Make some bath salts by putting one cup of Epsom salts and ½ tsp. lemon oil into a jar and stirring well. Add color by putting in two drops of yellow food coloring to the jar and mixing. Allow the senior to decorate the jar and the lid to complete a lovely gift to donate or give to friends and family. Be sure to keep some to use at home as well.
Home care companions often find that fun and simple crafts for homebound seniors help them feel more involved, perk up their minds and encourage them to use some of the skills and abilities they already have while even learning some new ones.