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How Can Caregivers Help Seniors Remain Engaged?

For better physical and mental health outcomes, and better overall experiences, it’s important for seniors to remain engaged. But what exactly does it mean for seniors to be engaged? And how can caregivers provide a more engaging experience?

Senior Engagement: The Basics

In this context, engagement refers to paying active attention to an experience or an activity, wherein the person doing the engaging is both interested and involved in the activity. When seniors are better engaged, they’re at much lower risk for mental illness, they have better mental and physical health outcomes, and they even have less susceptibility to certain forms of cognitive decline.

Because the definition of engagement is so broad, seniors can find engagement in a wide range of different activities. As long as their attention is kept and they remain actively involved, you can keep seniors engaged.

Obviously, there are going to be some limitations based on the mental and physical health of the person for whom you’re caring; in this article, we’ll cover some of the best activities that almost any senior can find engaging.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to stay in shape, and it grows even more important as people grow older. Even light forms of exercise, when repeated regularly, can maintain bone and muscle health, improve overall physical health, and keep seniors cognitively engaged. Depending on the physical health and fitness of the senior for whom you’re caring, you may be able to participate in activities like bike riding, light resistance training, water aerobics, or simply walking.

All these activities can be mentally stimulating, but spending time outside is especially valuable. Consider going to new places while getting fresh air.

The Power of Gifts

Giving occasional gifts to seniors is also a great way to keep them engaged. Not only is this a pleasant surprise that can instantly make them happy, but the gift itself has the potential to keep them engaged with a new hobby, activity, or experience. DailyCaring’s list of gift ideas for seniors is a great place to start if you’re looking for ideas. No matter what your budget is, or who you’re caring for, you’ll likely find at least some ideas to help you procure an interesting, engaging experience.

For example, you could purchase a digital “smart frame” that functions as a high-tech picture frame, or a new jigsaw puzzle that can provide them with hours of entertainment.

Mental Exercises

Games, puzzles, and mental activities are all great ways to keep seniors mentally engaged. They also tend to be both safe and accessible, so they can be enjoyed by almost any senior, in any environment. Jigsaw puzzles are a classic physical activity, and many seniors enjoy doing crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, and other variety word and number games.


Socializing is also important to help seniors remain engaged. As the caregiver, you’ll be socializing with this senior on a regular basis, so these are just a few ways you can be more engaging:

·       Remain calm and friendly. Try to remain calm and friendly at all times, even if you’re having a difficult day. Having an approachable, warm demeanor will make it easier for the seniors under your care to open up to you.

·       Ask lots of questions. Ask lots of questions when talking to seniors. They may find it easier to talk to you if you provide them with these meaningful openings – and asking thoughtful questions shows how engaged you are.

·       Pay full attention. Finally, try to give seniors your full attention when they’re talking to you. If you try to multitask or if you ignore what they say, they may no longer open up to you.

There’s only so much socialization you can provide on your own, so consider recommending the following:

·       Volunteering. If this senior is in good physical health, they may be able to volunteer for a local organization. It’s a great way to meet new people and do good at the same time.

·       Social activity clubs. Many seniors benefit from joining social activity clubs, where they can learn new hobbies and engage with people their age.

·       Family. Though not always practically possible, it’s valuable for seniors to be engaged with their family, attending family events as often as possible.

·       Digital connections. If your senior has issues with mobility, or if they don’t have many nearby family members, they may benefit from making more digital connections. Smartphones and tablets can connect them with people all over the world.

With these strategies, you can keep the seniors in your life more engaged, and therefore healthier and happier. Every senior is different, so make sure you keep their interests and personality in mind when selecting new activities and engaging experiences.

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