As the weather cools after the scorching summer season, fall-themed activities for seniors are a great way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Autumn activities for the elderly can include several safe, fun, and festive plans to engage the mind and body.
All the activities in this article can be adapted for any skill or ability level. For example, seniors who can’t walk too far may enjoy the sights of nature from the park bench or even an open window. Seniors with reduced physical capabilities might assist or observe cooking projects or help arrange food on a platter.
September Activities for Seniors
The fall season officially begins in September, and there’s no better time to start a new schedule of activities. Here are some September activities for the elderly to choose from:
Celebrate the apple harvest:
There are several apple-themed activities you can plan in September. Go apple-picking, an activity that is always more enjoyable with friends and family. Let the grandkids do the picking while seniors just sit back and enjoy the scenery. Later in the month, do some baking with apples. Apple pie, apple fritters, apple cake…use old family favorite recipes or learn some new ones.
Take a nature walk:
Fall is a perfect time to walk outside because the weather is more mild, and the colors are beautiful. Plan weekly walks in different local parks. You can build anticipation throughout the week by discussing where you will go and what you might see there. Be sure to review outdoor walking safety tips for seniors before hitting the trail.
Make a photo journal:
Summer is over, but you can still extend the enjoyment by making a journal with photos from summer activities. Include one or two photos on each page and use the rest of the space to describe the activity and the people in the photos. A summer photo journal will be great to look at on snowy winter afternoons.
October Activities for Seniors
October typically marks the middle of the fall season. These are some activities you could plan as a lead-up to Halloween at the end of the month:
Check out area fall festivals:
October is often the month when neighborhood fall festivals happen. Check your local community guides to learn which events happen when.
Indulge in some pizza:
Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? Have some fun making homemade pizzas or having a laid-back pizza party.
Prepare treats for Halloween:
Baking or making candy is fun anytime, but in October, there is the added excuse of making treats for the kids who visit on Halloween. Many homemade treats can be safely stored for several days or weeks. Plan to prepare treats in stages, and then set a time to fill goodie bags to give away.
The best Halloween costumes are homemade, but not everyone has the time or talent to make their own costume. Pair your senior with kids or neighbors to produce inventive costumes. Some seniors are good at providing ideas. Others will be able to execute sewing and gluing tasks. As long as everyone has fun, it doesn’t matter how scary the costumes are.
Halloween Activities for Seniors
Halloween feels like a kids’ holiday, but that makes it perfect for the elderly, too. Seniors often have the time to assist kids with their creative Halloween preparations. There is nothing better than seeing the older and younger generations spending quality time together.
Trick-or-treating with the grandkids:
Pairing elderly folks with younger kids for trick-or-treating can be a special treat for all. Match the walking capabilities of each participant so no one feels overwhelmed. Seniors get to show off their grandchildren while kids get special attention from their elders.
Depending on skill and ability, seniors can either carve jack-o-lanterns or decorate pumpkins with markers and other craft supplies. Get various sized pumpkins to make the final display more interesting. You can even throw in some white pumpkins if they are available in your area.
Put up Halloween décor:
If you decorate your home for Halloween, include your senior in the preparations. Ask for their help in arranging some table displays, putting up window clings or simply directing the efforts from an armchair in you home.
You are never too old or too young to celebrate Halloween. Candy and crafts are good for everyone.
November Activities for Seniors
While November activities for seniors tend to all have a Thanksgiving theme, they do not need to be centered around food. Food is a common Thanksgiving theme, though, and should not be ignored.
Throwing around the old pigskin may no longer be an appropriate activity for seniors, but there are other ways to get involved in a football tournament. Fantasy football is a great mental and social activity that requires very little physical strength. Seniors could even get involved in fantasy football play with friends and family who live far away.
Decorate for Thanksgiving:
Whether they plan to celebrate Thanksgiving at home or visiting family, seniors can engage in decorating projects in the weeks leading up to the big day. Depending on skill level, seniors might use various craft supplies to create place-cards or centerpieces for the Thanksgiving table. There is no limit to the number of Thanksgiving-themed projects imaginable for senior activities.
Build a menu:
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner has a slightly different meaning to everyone. Building a menu for the big day could begin with reminiscing about Thanksgivings-past. Dig out those old recipes and decide how you want your green beans cooked this year. Seniors could coordinate with the Thanksgiving host and other family members to devise a menu and delegate cooking assignments. Preparing some dishes in advance could extend this activity right up until the third Thursday in November.
Fall Activities for Seniors with Dementia
Fall is a great time to involve seniors in activities that engage them mentally, especially if they are showing signs of dementia. You may notice that your elderly loved one with dementia has better recollection of events in the past and experiences less anxiety when talking about the past.
Any of the fall activities listed above can be used to trigger pleasant memories. The sights and smells of autumn will likely transport your senior back to childhood times, where they are comfortable. Bake an apple pie and plan to spend the afternoon with your elderly loved one telling stories about their childhood. Open the window on a sunny autumn day and watch what ideas the smell of fresh leaves and distant campfires bring to mind.
Seniors with dementia do not have to be physically moving to be engaged in worthwhile activities. Often, they are happiest when their minds are focused on distant memories, and they can share those with you. Engaging children and seniors in fall activities together can also create lasting memories for those children to share when they are the elders.
Find an Elmcroft Community and learn about the fun experiences our residents have all year.