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Staying Engaged While Social Distancing

In an effort to make your day a little brighter, here are activity ideas to do at home. We hope these activities will stimulate discussion, encourage reminiscing, get you moving, or simply bring joy. From links to concerts, museum tours or live dance classes; to directions for craft projects, or conversation prompts, we hope to add some fun to your day.


Going for the Gold!

This year Tokyo is the mega city hosting all for the summer Olympics action! Ever wonder what makes this city so fascinating! Check out this introductory video of Tokyo here. The Northern and Eastern Wake Seniors Centers newsletter offers additional fun facts on traveling to Japan.


Music in Your Gardens

Last summer, Duke’s Music in Your Gardens series offered an online concert series featuring nationally known North Carolina musicians. If you missed them in 2020, or are ready for an encore, six of the concerts, including our team’s favorite, Rissi Palmer, are available free through NPR’s “Live Session.”

In the Mood for Music from Your Past?  

Check out the Nostalgia Machine and pick a year from the past to listen to music from your high school days, college parties, or your first love. 

Sing Along with Nashville’s Music for Seniors

Sing along with Nashville songwriter and performer, Susan Shann. On this video Susan sings favorites such as “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “King of the Road,” “Take Me Home Country Roads,” and “This Land is Your Land.” Thanks, Music for Seniors, for sharing Susan with us!

Lincoln Center Moments

Lincoln Center Moments offers performances designed for individuals with dementia and their care partners. Each performance is followed by a discussion, movement, music, or art-making activity. The program is free, but registration is required. To register, fill out this form or contact access@lincolncenter.org or 212-875-5375.

Attention Classical Music Lovers

With live venues closed, more concerts are available online. Check out these 10 concerts recommended by the New York Times. Happy listening to you!

The Choral Society of Durham

The Choral Society of Durham shared with us their Community Outreach Concert, beautifully presented with the “hope that the music will be one small act of building bridges, linking us together arm in arm as we strive to shape the world into a more just, caring and peaceful place.” Enjoy a variety of songs including the spiritual, “There is a Balm in Gilead,” and “West Side Story’s” favorite love song, “Somewhere.”

Radio Recliner

Radio Recliner is an online radio station run by residents in their rooms at senior living communities across the country. New shows at noon every day.

Music for Seniors

Music for Seniors connects Nashville-area musicians with older adults through live and interactive music programs designed to engage, entertain and educate.

Old Time Radio

Listento radio shows from the ’40s, 50s and ’60s. The archive includes favorites such as, “Gunsmoke,” Father Knows Best,” “Martin & Lewis,” and “Dragnet.”

Durham Medical Orchestra

Duke’s Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant leads health care professionals and students—from their homes across Durham County—in a performance of a new piece by Durham composer Steven Bryant.

Virtual ‘Love Sweet Love’ From Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students

Check out this videoperformance of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song “What the World Needs Now” by students at Berklee College of Music that has gone viral.

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes

Check out theseDance for PDclasses for free online through the Mark Morris Dance Company. While designed for people with Parkinson’s, the movements are gentle and easy to follow.

Music in Your Gardens

Last summer, Duke’s Music in Your Gardens series offered an online concert series featuring nationally known North Carolina musicians. If you missed them in 2020, or are ready for an encore, six of the concerts, including our team’s favorite, Rissi Palmer, are available free through NPR’s “Live Session.”

Exercising Your Body and Mind

Advice All the Way from London!

The Alzheimer’s Society, UK’s leading dementia organization, suggests 5 great ways to keep moving at home – tips for people with dementia. From bowling with plastic bottles for pins and a rolled-up pair of socks, to gardening tips, and more — we hope you’ll find some new ways to keep moving.

Chair Yoga Dancing

This 30-minute chair yoga dance class will have you moving to favorite tunes from different genres, starting with “Que Sera, Sera,” from Doris Day. Don’t worry about perfect form — the movements are easy and the music will have you smiling.

New Exercises for the New Year!

Try these ten-minute chair exercises that reduce the risk of falling and are designed for seniors by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock academic health system. Check them out here.

Ideas for Exercise and Physical Activities

“Exercise is an excellent, non-drug way to improve well-being and reduce challenging behaviors in seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.” This article has 12 ideas for exercise along with suggestions to encourage your loved one to participate.

Activities for Everyone

Our friends at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles have activity ideas for loved ones at every stage that we think you’ll find helpful. Check out their lists, organized by stage, here. Enjoy!

9 Cognitively Stimulating Activities to Do at Home

Alzheimer’s San Diego has great ideas for staying engagedduring the pandemic or anytime. From conversation starters to a list of the 50 best Karaoke songs, you’re sure to find some new ideas.

Seated Tai Chi for Seniors: 3 Simple Routines Improve Flexibility and Well-Being

Tai chi is a gentle exercise that improves balance and reduces fall risk. Check out tai chi with these three short videos for beginners.

Pilates & Yoga for Parkinson’s (or anyone else) – Movement While Sitting in a Chair

Poe Wellness Solutions and The Parkinson’s Movement Initiative have very generously created Pilates and yoga for Parkinson’s videos. Visit the webpage for the videos here.

Tai Chi to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

If you’ve never tried Tai Chi, start with this short videoThe instructor will guide you through gentle and relaxing movements with a beautiful body of water in the background.

Virtual Movement for the Mind

Check out these exercise videos from Alzheimer’s Support, a dementia organization in England. The videos range from very gentle movement to more active exercises.

Beat the Heat and Walk at Home!

The Walk at Home series offers workouts that make exercising in your own home fun and easy. Choosevideosranging from 10-45 minutes.


Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH, offers workout videos to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life. Great options during the pandemic or anytime!

Transportation and Travel

All Aboard!

Experience the mesmerizing appeal of train rides on YouTube. Enjoy the locomotive ‘Drivers Eye View’ of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn railway in Switzerland. Let this breathtakingly beautiful scenery transport you to a pollen-free adventure along the rugged mountainside, through tunnels and even snow-covered peaks. Videos are best viewed in ‘full-screen’ mode.

Stroll Through a Museum

You can’t go in person right now, but many museums around the world are offering virtual tours of their exhibits. From the Guggenheim Museum in New York City to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they are waiting for you to drop in at your leisure.

Missing Travel?

If so, check out the next best thing — virtual walking tours from Watched Walker. Select from hundreds of walks ranging from beautiful beaches to lively Paris streets. Read about them in this Frommer’s article or go right to Watched Walker’s YouTube channel. Thanks for the tip Jeannine!

Need a Change of Scenery?13 Virtual Train Rides From Around the World

Enjoy beautiful landscapes from Colorado’s Pikes Peak to a Japanese countryside as you travel virtually with these relaxing videos. Hop aboard!

All Aboard!

Live 24/7 traincamera gives you the train driver’s view from the comfort of home.

Blast Off!

Browse NASA’s Image and Video Library for recent, historic and the most popular images, audio files and videos.

All Things Nature

Spring has Sprung!

What better way to see all spring has to offer. Enjoy this virtual series of famous artists’ gardens, including that of Monet’s beautiful garden in Giverny, Normandy, which was the inspiration for Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. Take a virtual tour today!

Happy As a Lark

Add some joy to your chilly day by listening to these bird songs without even opening a window. Click on any one of over 20 birds to hear it’s unique tune. Although these songs are courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, many of the birds can be seen in our North Carolina backyards. Enjoy! And thanks for the suggestion Gloria!

Bird Feeder Cam

This West Texas Bird Feeder Cam allow us to watch dozens of birds enjoying some lunch.

Live Views from the Georgia Aquarium

Visit your favorite marine creatures through webcams at one of the world’s largest aquatic exhibits.

Hang Out With Some Elephants

You’re watching the live cam at San Diego Zoo. Scroll below the video to be introduced to the herd.

The Best Live Animal Feeds from Around the World

Here’s a list of round-the-clock camera footage that will bring koalas, penguins and puppies straight to your screen. We hope these animal videos will offer engagement.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Tune into a webcam and be delighted by the antics of the sea otters or mellow out to the hypnotic drifting of the jellies.

A Kaleidoscope of Orchids

Enjoy this 21-minute virtual tour of the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show.



Finger Painting Is Not Just for Kids!

Looking for a fun way for your senior to express themselves through art? Try homemade finger painting! To keep the mess to a minimum, tape a giant piece of butcher paper to the table and let them paint on that. This sensory friendly idea, that may help reduce anxiety, is featured on Daily Caring website. Get the paint recipe.

A Huge List of Dementia Activities

One clever daughter, caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s, complied a large list of activity ideas. Some were new to our staff, others are tried-and-true favorites. Think about pulling out your grandchildren’s Duplos (large Legos) for your retired bricklayer loved one to build walls. Try the Famous Duo Cards, free to download or create yourself. Or sing along with this Karaoke playlist of hymns and patriotic songs. Hopefully you’ll find inspiration for engaging your loved one with dementia.

Coloring Pages from the “Alzheimer’s Brain Box”

These coloring pages, free to download, are made available through an organization started by a high-school student when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Pick a Color! 

A fun or relaxing activity for people with dementia is adult coloring books. This activity works well on touchscreen devices or tablets, where it is easy to tap and fill the spaces. On the website, The Color, there is a great choice of pictures from flowers to animals, trains, circus… the list extensive! Once you have colored the picture you can print it off or share it with friends and family as there is also an email option. Sorry to say, but you’ll see some ads on this site.

10 Fun, No-Fail Activities for People with Dementia

Seniors with dementia need activities where they’re successful. To help your older adult feel productive and successful, we’ve got 10 simple activity ideas that have no right or wrong way to do them.

Relax in Front of a Crackling Fire

Watching and hearing a campfire or fireplace burn is relaxing. To enjoy the sounds of fire burning without the fuss or danger, curl up in front of a virtual fireplace such as this classic fireplace with crackling fire sounds.

Craft Activities

Engage your loved one’s creative side by making simple crafts together.

Webinar: Engagement in a Time of Quarantine Part I & II

This webinar is part of a newly-developing series from the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling team. Join MacArthur Fellow and TimeSlips Founder/President Anne Basting, PhD., as she shares additional avenues to connect while observing social distancing.

Click on the link to see Part I: https://vimeo.com/401431835

Click on the link to see Part II: https://youtu.be/0AJEV0Tzf1s 

Create a Memory Box

A memory or rummage box can help your older adult feel connected to their past career and previous hobbies. Get any kind of box and fill it with things they would have used at work, copies of photos and non-important keepsakes, or objects from hobbies.

To learn more about the benefits of memory boxes, along with tips for making them, read this article

Creative Activities

CaringKind, a New York City organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, has about a dozen short videos on their website to give you ideas for activities you can do at home. Even if you’re starting to get out more, keep these in mind for those days you’re at home and your loved one with dementia needs something to do.