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10 fun & engaging activities for bedridden seniors

10 fun & engaging activities for bedridden seniors

We understand how stressful and unhealthy it is for our elderly to be stuck in a bed or have limited mobility because of several possible reasons. In this article, we’d love to help you make your patient’s moment in bed fun with these engaging activities that you can incorporate into your daily caregiving routine.

As a caregiver, we both know that there are ways for our bedridden patients to still maintain an active life. Below is a list of fun activities and exercises for older adults that you can do to help them improve their health physically and mentally.

  1. Video Chat With Family And Friends
  2. Participate in A Book Club
  3. Enjoy Arts and Crafts
  4. Do Physical Exercises
  5. Listen and/or Play Music
  6. Play Games and Puzzles
  7. Listen to Audio Books
  8. Watch Movies and Television Shows
  9. Try Pet Therapy
  10. Cook with Family

There are plenty of activities for the elderly that you can do in bed to train your patient’s brain and body so they can still feel happy and healthy. You might think that these can be stressful and tiring but It’s not really like that. In this article, you will discover 10 entertaining and fun exercises that make caregiving easier.

Click on the banner below to download your own Farmoderm Activity Kit for the Elderly!

5 simple and fun activities - banner

Reasons Why People Get Stuck in Bed

Leg injury or fracture, osteoporosis, stroke, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease are just some of the reasons why people, especially the old age, get stuck in bed or have limited mobility. Other reasons why they need to rest in bed for a period of time could be postsurgery or physical injuries.

Well, nobody ever wants to get stuck or feel frustrated because they can’t do an easy daily task like going to the bathroom or making breakfast on their own, right? However, you can be an angel in disguise who can help them to still enjoy their life regardless of their limitations.

The Importance of Having an Active Lifestyle

Having an active lifestyle is possible even for a bedridden person. Activities such as those we’re going to share below are crucial in keeping them happy and mentally healthy. Doing these will help avoid the worsening of any physical illness. In some cases, it can even slow the progression of a patient’s disease. Maintaining a healthy exercise for example helps reduce sleep problems.

Below are exciting activities that work for most bedridden people but before you jump right to it, here are some things to consider:

  • Become aware of what they want and like to do. Ask his/her physician, therapist, or family (or past friends) so you can choose activities that are safe and will excite him/her.
  • In some cases such as dementia patients can feel over-stimulated by overwhelming crowds, noise, or activities. Choose games and activities that prevent them from feeling such.
  • It takes time to finally find your bedridden patient’s sweet spot. Continuously encourage them to do exercises they feel comfortable with and find new ones to vary.
  • Allow them to enjoy the process and not focus on achievement.

Some people think that caring for the elderly can be quite a lot to handle but this list is the total opposite. The suggested exercises for older adults below for example don’t cost a penny and the activities are super simple. Let’s go through it one by one, shall we?

10 Activities for Elderly

There are many activities seniors can do in bed to train their brain and body so that they can still feel happy and healthy. You may think they are stressful and tiring, but that’s not quite the case. In this article, you will discover 10 fun and engaging exercises that make caregiving easier.

Here you will find a simple and practical kit for the elderly to download!

1. Video Chat With Family And Friends

Not all seniors live near their family and friends. If they do, it is not always easy to set up visits with one another. This can be even tougher to seniors who are bedridden because they do not have the option of getting up and going out to see their loved ones.

Take your time and set up video conferences with the patient’s family and friends. It is a great opportunity for both sides to catch up. Receiving warm messages and positivity will definitely help lift up the patient’s spirit thereby contributing to the maintenance of a good mental health.

2. Participate in A Book Club

If your elderly patient is a bookworm, consider joining her/him in a virtual book club. If you can’t find any, you may start one online and gather fellow bedridden seniors who are interested. Maintain a small group so it’s easier to manage. Finally, invite a family of each member to join during sessions to assist their patient.

Reading books can help your elderly prevent major brain damage. For example, an old book that they used to read when they were young could remind them of good memories.

Below is a list of great books that is appropriate for elderly patients:

Anziana allettata che legge

3. Enjoy Arts and Crafts

Crafts are considered visual arts and anyone can create artistic pieces. More often than not, an elderly woman is able to sew. If your patient is, give her a simple sewing project that can be done in a bed.

Aside from sewing, you can introduce any of the activities for elderly listed below:


Origami is the process of folding paper into structures, decorative forms, or shapes. This is an activity for elderly that exercises the hand and brain while making shapes. It also improves focus or concentration, fine motor skills, and hand and eye coordination.

You can help your patient fold easy origami figures like the dinosaur T-rex, a flower, butterfly, bird, or fish.

Crochet or Knit

If your bedridden loved one doesn’t suffer from arthritis or other painful limb conditions, crocheting could be a relaxing activity. Studies also show that it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 50%. This may be because by learning different stitching techniques, good memory is practiced.

Build with Clay

Working with clay offers a sensory experience that can feel therapeutic. Create pots or simple structures as a form of spending quality time together.

How about making necklaces or bracelets out of clay beads? Here’s how:

  1. Purchase a clay such as polymer or mix your own air dry clay
  2. Get your clay and shape them into rounds or oblongs like the size of a gumball.
  3. Using your fingers, press two sides just to make some indentations.
  4. While the clay is still wet, use a toothpick to poke a hole from one side to the other.
  5. Paint the beads if you prefer and let it dry.
  6. Once dried, you can now string them up on a thread or ribbon of your choice.

6. Paint on Rocks

Painting, either with brushes or fingers can help improve fine motor skills. If your elderly family member loves gardening, allow them to paint clay pots with their chosen design. Help them plant flowers in it afterward.

Here’s another fun project called Kindness Rocks:

You’ll need:

  • smooth river rocks (you can find some in your yard or buy a bag from a craft or home improvement store)
  • acrylic paint
  • paint pens
  • paintbrushes
  • outdoor sealer or outdoor modge podge


  • Make sure the rocks are clean from any residue so that the paint and writings will stick.
  • Paint the rocks with a base coat choosing any color of your choice and let it dry.
  • Write your favorite kindness quotes using the pens.
  • Seal it now using the outdoor sealer to make sure the message will stay longer on the rocks.
  • Let it dry and apply a second coat of sealer. Let it dry completely.
Uomo su una sedia a rotelle che dipinge

4. Do Physical Exercises

Being bedridden obviously limits the amount of movement seniors can do, but it is still important for them to get some sort of physical activity into their daily routines. These can help them improve their blood circulation, maintain and build muscle, and increase their heart rate, motion range, and flexibility. Always consult with your patient’s doctor before executing any form of physical exercise.

Exercises for Seniors at Home

If your patient does partake in exercises for seniors like those listed below, make sure they prioritize safety. Ideally, a family member or therapist should be around to monitor and help them if necessary. This is to prevent them from injuring and overworking themselves.

Hand Exercises

Palm Stretches

    • Open the palm.
    • Extend the fingers as much as the patient can, then count to 5 seconds.
    • Press the thumb using each finger.
    • Relax.
    • Repeat on the other palm.

Wrist Rotation

    • Stretch out the hands in front of the patient.
    • Let the patient turn his wrists.
    • Count to 8 then reverse the rotation.
    • Finger Exercises
    • Let the patient curl the fingers into a fist.
    • Then open and extend the fingers. Repeat 8 times. OR
    • Patient spreads his fingers apart from each other while feeling the stretch. Then put them back together while maintaining the stretch. Repeat the process 8 times.

Finger Exercises

  • Let the patient curl the fingers into a fist.
  • Then open and extend the fingers. Repeat 8 times.
  • Patient spreads his fingers apart from each other while feeling the stretch.
  • Then put them back together while maintaining the stretch. Repeat the process 8 times.

Arm Exercises

  • Raise your patient’s right arm as high as he can. Arm should be straight above the head.
  • Slowly put down the arm.
  • Repeat for 5 counts and do the same with the left arm
  • Next, stretch the right arm forward.
  • Slowly put it down.
  • Repeat for 5 counts and do the same with the left arm
  • Finally, stretch the right arm sideward.
  • Slowly put it back down.
  • Repeat for 5 counts and do the same with the left arm.

Shoulder Stretches

  • Let the patient sit up with back straight if he can.
  • Then shrug the shoulders in relaxation.
  • Sit back up then shrug the shoulders again. Repeat.

Leg Lifts

  • Help your elderly patient lay comfortably in bed.
  • By keeping his other leg still, let him move the other one sidewards (or upwards if he can).
  • Repeat for 5 counts. Do the same on the other leg.
Anziani che fanno esercizi

5. Listen and/or Play (if possible) Music

Choose a selection of your and your patient’s favorite songs. Handpick songs that bring back family memories or their youth and play it when you visit them. According to studies, classical music is perfect in certain environments because it brings peace, calming, and relaxing effects. Spotify and other platforms made it easier to find good playlists of the best hits from 40s, 50s, and 60s.

If your elderly is on a wheelchair, move it to the beat of the music. You can also encourage as much movement as possible while sitting to help them connect with the music.

Here’s one great Spotify playlist to make that feet start tapping.

6. Play Games and Puzzles

Another great way to stimulate the brain and slow down dementia is by playing games and doing puzzles. Board Games and card-based games are not only a fun activity but also an easy way to socialize. There are many board games available in store but feel free to choose what fits your patient’s interest and need.

If seniors want to spend time with fellow adult relatives, friends, or grandchildren, there are appropriate options for all ages. However, if they want some time to themselves or do not have anyone to play games with, then puzzles are a great alternative.

Puzzles of various types allow elderly individuals to engage their brain cells. It can also remind them of the past. They can challenge themselves with a jigsaw puzzle if they are a more visual person, or opt for crossword puzzles and word searches.

Aside from the aforementioned, word search, bingo, monopoly, magnetic scrabble, and sudoku are also perfect for your elderly. These will help keep them busy while training their brain and preventing loneliness.

7. Listen to Audio Books

Audio books are an excellent way for your elder patients to consume books especially if they have eyesight problems which is common for elders. Thanks to whoever invented it, they can enjoy unlimited novels like they used to when they were younger. This time might be different but for sure, the excitement is the same.

Check out LibriVox if you are searching for audiobooks. It is a free public domain which offers audiobooks read by volunteers from around the world.

8. Watch Movies and Television Shows

Spending prolonged periods of time sitting down or lying in bed is not always an ideal situation, but it is a perfect setting for watching movies and television shows. Seniors can re-watch old favorites or discover new ones. During gloomy weathers where they’re unable to go outdoors, they can enjoy a movie marathon or binge watch a television series.

Make it a social event by inviting family and friends over for a watch party. While watching or in between series, you could encourage breaks by doing some of the aforementioned safe exercises above.

Here are some TV series your elderly could enjoy. Why? These series have elderly people as protagonists. Many of these actors were also really famous a lot of years ago and your patient could recognize them.

  • The Golden Girls
    This is an exciting story of four women who lived together as roommates after being divorced/widowed. It is a comedy and drama show perfect for your elderly bedridden patients if they need some entertainment and a good laugh.
  • Hot in Cleveland
    This series is another great pick if you are looking for something funny to watch with your loved one. It’s a story of three 40+ best friends who landed in Cleveland and found a place where they could feel valued as women.
  • Grace and Frankie
    A show with a unique storyline, this is another must watch. It’s about two women who became friends upon discovering that their husbands were romantically involved with each other. The lessons and reality of life were portrayed really well in this show.
  • The Kominsky Method
    This is a Netflix series where two old gentlemen meet and share their stories of life together. One who is a former actor turned acting coach and his agent who lost his wife to cancer.
  • The Cool Kids
    The diversity of the cast in this show makes the story more interesting. It’s a fun story of four seniors who met in a retirement center. They’re trying to show that they can still become as active as the young age and want to alter what the society wants them to be.

9. Try Pet Therapy

Pet therapy benefits include improvements in mood, behavior (in people with dementia), and a calming feeling. Petting a cat or dog can be very soothing to some. Pets are also playful which adds a fun, lighthearted feeling to your elderly patient. Talking about bedridden people, they can’t handle a pet so you’ll be in charge with this.

Some senior care facilities have resident pets or offer pet therapy. Check with the facility where your senior loved one lives to see if it’s an option. The other option is bringing your pet to visit them in the facility.

Anziano allettato felice con un cane

10. Cook with Family

If the person is bedridden or with limited mobility, it could be impossible for them to cook. But if they are able, you could find a way to cook together. For example, you could ask for their personal cooking tips or hacks, or assign small tasks such as fixing the table, gathering or cutting some of the ingredients, decorating the cookies, etc.

Conclusion: Activities and Exercises for Older Adults

Sure there’s a lot of ideas for activities you can do or introduce to your patient or family member who is bedridden right now but it still depends on their unique situation. Make sure to consult with their physician or therapist especially when doing any physical exercises for seniors at home. Also, nothing beats asking the patient’s own preference so that they’ll feel more appreciated than forced to do any of the activities.

The list of exercises for older adults we’ve shared with you above contribute to minimizing the risks of dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease. The last thing we’d want for our loved one is to not feel happy with their life, right? We understand that so we’ve really put a lot of effort into coming up with this resource for you. Let us know what other activities and exercises have been working for your patient or family member.

Click on the banner below to download your own Farmoderm Activity Kit!

5 simple and fun activities - banner