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By: Emily Shoemake on

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Things for Seniors to do During COVID-19 Isolation

Miscellaneous

Social isolation is a term that we talk about frequently in regards to seniors, as isolation and loneliness are threats that many seniors face every day. With the current global status, just about everyone is taking this time to practice social isolation to help control the spread of the coronavirus. During this time of staying at home, it is important to continue daily activities to keep both your brain and your body active. 

The following are some ideas from crafting to exercise to virtual museum tours that can help you fill your day while you're at home.

Opera

virutal-opera-during-senior-isolation

If you are a lover of Opera, you're in luck! The Metropolitan Opera will be streaming operas every night at 7:30 p.m. nightly for those at home to enjoy. 

The current schedule published thus far includes:

Thursday, March 19 — Verdi’s La Traviata

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey. Transmitted live on December 15, 2018.

Friday, March 20 — Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment

Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez. Transmitted live on April 26, 2008.

Saturday, March 21 — Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor

Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien. Transmitted live on February 7, 2009.

Sunday, March 22 – Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin

Conducted by Valery Gergiev, starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Transmitted live on February 24, 2007.

Museums virtual-museum-tours-for-seniors-in-isolation

Another unique opportunity to take part in during isolation is experiencing virtual museum tours. The following museums are offering online options as an alternative to in-person visits:

British Museum, London

This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies. You can also find hundreds of artifacts on the museum’s virtual tour.

Guggenheim Museum, New York

Google’s Street View feature lets visitors tour the Guggenheim’s famous spiral staircase without ever leaving home. From there, you can discover incredible works of art from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary eras.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

You can virtually walk through this popular gallery that houses dozens of famous works from French artists who worked and lived between 1848 and 1914. Get a peek at artworks from Monet, Cézanne, and Gauguin, among others.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul

One of Korea’s popular museums can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Google’s virtual tour takes you through six floors of Contemporary art from Korea and all over the globe.

Pergamon Museum, Berlin

As one of Germany’s largest museums, Pergamon has a lot to offer – even if you can’t physically be there. This historical museum is home to plenty of ancient artifacts including the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and, of course, the Pergamon Altar.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Explore the masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age, including works from Vermeer and Rembrandt. Google offers a Street View tour of this iconic museum, so you can feel as if you’re actually wandering its halls.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Anyone who is a fan of this tragic, ingenious painter can see his works up close (or, almost up close) by virtually visiting this museum – the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and over 750 personal letters.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century can be found in this California art museum. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs.

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

This less well-known gallery houses the art collection of one of Florence, Italy’s most famous families, the de'Medicis. The building was designed by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 specifically for Cosimo I de'Medici, but anyone can wander its halls from anywhere in the world.

MASP, São Paulo

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo is a non-profit and Brazil’s first modern museum. Artworks placed on clear perspex frames make it seem like the artwork is hovering in midair. Take a virtual tour to experience the wondrous display for yourself.

National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Built in 1964, this museum is dedicated to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic heritage. There are 23 exhibit rooms filled with ancient artifacts, including some from the Mayan civilization.

Sadly, not all popular art museums and galleries could be included on Google Arts & Culture’s collection, but some museums are taking it upon themselves to offer online visits. According to Fast Company, the Louvre also offers virtual tours on its website.

Crafts/ Activitiessenior-indoor-activities-during-isolation

Beyond the classic ideas of painting, coloring (here are some downloadable adult coloring pages) or doing a puzzle, there are lots of out of the box things you can do to spice up your day. Although they may seem geared towards a younger crowd, the following crafts are fun options for all ages! These are some great options from Annie Mueller, a Wise Bread blogger, to do on your own or with others isolated in your home with you. 

Get pointillistic with dot markers

Dot markers have been around for a long time, used primarily for playing Bingo. Use them to create connect-the-dots or to draw on plain paper. You could also try a crash course on pointillism, a cool art technique that involves a lot of dots. You can use the dot markers to create your own pointillistic masterpieces.

Draw a comic strip

First, print out blank comic strips or draw your own comic strips by marking out the lines on plain paper. Use a ruler to get them straight.

Then you can use colored pencils, washable markers, or pens to draw and color in your own comic strips. Make up new characters going on amazing adventures, or simply draw out stories based on your own daily life.

Make (and play) a ring toss game

You can make a ring toss game out of almost anything. You'll need things that are ring-shaped or that you can bend into a ring shape, like pipe cleaners. Then you need a target: something thin and tall enough for the rings to slide over.

To play, set the target up and take two or three big steps back from it. Then toss as many rings over the target as you can. You can make it more interesting by adding in extra challenges, such as a time limit, smaller rings, or standing further away from the target.

Create your own board game

Design the whole game: characters, the goal, the board, and the rules.

Start by deciding what the goal is: how can someone win the game? Do they need to get a certain number of points? Or go all the way around the board? Then set some rules: do you roll dice or use a spinner? (You can use parts from other board games you own — such as dice or an hourglass — for your new game.)

Use whatever you can find as raw materials. For example, draw the game board on a piece of cardboard, cut paper into cards, create characters or game pieces out of modeling clay, or use tiny toys you already have.

Try an origami challenge

Start with some simple shapes for origami. There are a lot of YouTube tutorials, for example, a ninja star or a baby chicken or a water bomb. When you've mastered a couple of the easier tutorials, try some harder shapes.

Build a tiny town

Hit up the recycling bin for empty plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. The thin cardboard is best because it's easier to cut.

You can build the structures of your town by cutting, stacking, and combining boxes and bottles. Cut out or draw on doors and windows. Washi tape or masking tape can be used to attach the structures together. Colored tape can also be used to designate roads through your very own tiny town.

Make a marble run

Start with a hard surface (like the floor) and use toys and books to create a racecourse. You can put in little obstacles; they should be small and light so the marble won't be stopped completely. To start the marble on its run, cut cardboard tubes (from toilet paper or paper towels) in half. Tape them together to make them longer. Stack one end on books or a table and make sure it slopes down into the beginning of the racecourse.

Create an ad

The idea of this game is for you to come up with your very own advertisement for a made-up product. So, to start with, come up with a product that they want to "sell." It can be as stupid or silly or serious as you want it to be.

Next, you need to come up with some ideas about how to advertise it. Maybe a story, or act out a scene, or perform a song. You can use costumes, props, a whole scene. My kids like to video their ads and then review and improve them. Or just laugh at them.

Make a music video or do karaoke

You should select your songs, decide on a script or choreographed dance if you're making a video, or just sing and dance your heart out. Costumes and props make this extremely fun and allow you to be more immersed in the music.

Create a memory challenge

You will need a timer for this. You should start by finding five to 10 small objects: a marble, a toy car, a spoon, etc. Spread them out on a tray and look at them for 30 seconds. Then move the tray somewhere you can't see it and have them try to remember all the objects on the tray. You can write a list or draw a picture of each one. How many did you remember? If you got them all, add more objects, or start with a completely new set. Make it more challenging by giving yourself less time to look at the objects on the tray (try 20 seconds, and then 15).

Tell some fortunes

This is fun to do with friends or family. Make some paper fortune tellers by following these instructions.

Or, for a simpler version, you can play a game from childhood called MASH. All you need is a piece of paper and something to write with. Here are the full instructions.

Do some pasta-marshmallow architecture

Get your inner architect to work with dry pasta. Seriously! You'll need dry spaghetti noodles and mini marshmallows. Gumdrops work too if you're low on marshmallows.

To build, stick the spaghetti noodles into the marshmallows and gumdrops to connect them and create structures. You can also use toothpicks, or break the spaghetti into pieces for shorter sections. You can start with simple squares and cubes, and then connect them for more complex structures. Here's some inspiration to get you started.

Exercisesenior-exercise-in-home-during-isolation

The National Institute on Aging provides lots of different resources that seniors can take advantage of during isolation.

On the NIH YouTube channel, they have a playlist dedicated to workouts designed for seniors that you can follow along to in your home. Currently, there are four videos you can follow a personal trainer along on, from 10-minute to 60-minute workouts. 

They also offer examples of a variety of balance and flexibility exercises that you can practice in the comfort of your own home. Visit their library of flexibility exercises or their library of balance exercises for step by step instructions accompanied by photos on how to execute each exercise.


Staying at home for an extended period of time can be lonely. Make sure to fill your day with different activities to keep yourself busy! This is a great time to learn something new. Comment down below to let us know what your favorite thing to do is when you're posted up at home.Guide To Staying Healthy During Your Senior Years

About Emily Shoemake

As the Digital Content Assistant at Presbyterian Senior Living, Emily produces content for the PSL blog and engages with our audience on social media. Emily is a Shippensburg University and Delta Zeta alumna from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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