How to Keep Seniors Entertained with Game Nights


If you are planning on having some senior friends over for game night, or you are organizing one for your senior living community, it can be a daunting task. The usual questions apply regardless of age. What would everyone be interested in? Does everyone like to play cards? What sort of other activities would be nice as an alternative to games? Knowing the answer to some of these questions helps you to narrow down your choices. Luckily, there are numerous activities, games and events you can plan for a meaningful and fulfilling game night.

With Covid 19 ruining many game nights, creativity has forced many to developing new ways to keep everyone safe while still enjoying time together. The following offers many alternatives and ways to get together without exposing aging friends and family members to potential infection.

Technology for Fun and Games

Many residents at senior living communities enjoy racing their remote controlled vehicles in various hallways with residents cheering on the sidelines (standing on designated stickers for social distancing). Many classic game shows such as The Price is Right, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune have digital versions. Create your own game show setting and have family and friends in the audience cheering everyone on.

Gift Basket Creation

Staying busy, creating something beautiful, and giving a gift that will make someone’s day is the thought behind this idea. Select a theme such as Gone with the Wind,  Agatha Christie, or the Andy Griffin Show to create personalized activity baskets. Residents can obtain the necessary items to include in the baskets and have them delivered to their rooms for assembly. Many staff members at living facilities are taking the initiative to create the baskets themselves with each resident’s interests informing the creation of the basket. Personalized baskets filled with puzzles, special treats, DVDs, books and personal items can offer hours of enjoyment.

Travel by Recliner

While Covid has shut down most travel for the elderly, it is still possible to enjoy some of the best features of a trip. DVDs from various areas of the country, or around the world, can be played while residents sample cuisine from the area. Trip to Spain? Feature Spanish wines and cheeses, entrees and desserts. Sponsor a dance or have a performer come in to dance. Staff often dress in costume from the featured travel destination, or dress as flight attendants and push a snack card down the aisle.

Another fun “travel” activity is to project a laptop monitor onto a larger screen. Using Google Earth have residents suggest areas they would like to see again. Many would enjoy a look at favorite vacation areas, or even an area where they grew up as children. Allow time for sharing and discussion of the areas.

Sponsor a Memoir Workshop

Many companies now exist to assist in tracing one’s ancestry. Two companies that are most noted are Ancestry.com and 23andMe. In the workshop participants can learn how to research family trees, where to start looking and how to document discoveries. This is a great multigenerational project that the whole family can enjoy.

Green Thumbs Anyone?

Many seniors were once avid gardeners and would love to have their hands in the dirt once again. If the facility has open spaces out of doors where social distancing could still be observed, consider creating raised beds and creating a gardening club to grow flowers, herbs and vegetables. Most gardening centers are offering curbside service and purchasing the necessary items is easily done online.

Storytime

A wonderful online resource is called StoriiTime. This service connects seniors with children who are just learning to read. Seniors can read stories to the children, and the children can practice their reading skills with the senior. This is particularly good for those situations where almost complete isolation has become necessary.

Zoom Reunions

The ability to use a video platform has taken the world by storm. Family reunions are possible as long as everyone has an internet connection and the Zoom app. A visit with family members is often a great way to reconnect without risking exposure. Many staff take the time to assist with setting up the technology and work with family members to send out the invitations to family members. This also works great with high school or college reunions too!

Timeless Games

Perhaps a bit stereotypical but still a favorite is Bingo. Cards with large print that are easy to see and large markers that are easy to hold make this a perennial favorite. Checkers, chess, monopoly, and dominoes are also crowd favorites and may have been a staple of their childhood. For something different try printable party games. PrintGamesNow.com is one of the best for these and often have games that can be played with as few as four or five people.