Planning Party Games and Group Activities for the Elderly

Happy old man with daughter

It's a pleasure to plan party games and activities for seniors. Whether you're planning a party or you're simply looking for some group activities for the elderly, the first thing you need to determine is the limitation of your group. For instance, crafts are great for parties, but someone who suffers from arthritis in the fingers might be uncomfortable doing a craft activity. Just like with any other group, senior activities must be tailored to the interests and abilities of the participants. Once you know who will be attending the party, you can begin taking such things into consideration. Here are some ideas and suggestions:

  1. Bingo. This is by far the most popular of the games for seniors. You can find inexpensive home bingo games at any toy store. For the prizes, go to your local dollar store and pick out some merchandise. Toiletries, kitchen items, personal care products and home decorations would all be good choices. You can either wrap each gift so that they are mystery prizes, or you can arrange them on a table so that the winner of each game can choose a prize.

    Sing along bingo is a variation on bingo and is gaining popularity among games for senior citizens. You will need to make up bingo cards. Use the same amount of squares as appear on a real bingo card, but instead of letters and numbers, each square will feature the title of a song. Older and patriotic songs work the best. The caller will sing out the song and the guest will have to figure out the title. Upon doing so, they can place a chip on that square. Most seniors will join along in the singing, enhancing the fun of the game! Prizes are handled the same as in regular bingo.

  2. Plan an auction! An auction is always a great party idea - it can liven up any gathering!  You can purchase thegames for senior citizens same kinds of prizes that were suggested for the bingo activity, but all the prizes should be wrapped as mystery prizes. You will also need fake money. Figure on at least ten thousand dollars per guest. The auctioneer will then hold up a wrapped gift for all to see. Then the bidding begins! Since it's play-money, the guests can feel free to bid as much as they want for it. Choose an entertaining, outgoing auctioneer to make this an exciting activity for all the guests!
  3. Another favorite party game is a version of Name That Tune. This is another one of the classic party games for senior citizens.  If at all possible, convince someone to play the piano or guitar as accompaniment. You won't have trouble finding an inexpensive music book full of all the songs that were popular when the seniors were young. Start with three notes and pause, asking if anyone can "name that tune." If no one can name it, play the three notes again, this time adding two more. Ask them if they know the tune. Keep adding two notes until someone can name that tune. Once the song is named, have the party guests sing along. A good idea would be to decorate the room with musical notes and the names of the songs that will be used in the game. They can be written on balloons, place mats, or posters, but don't tell anyone!
  4. Have your guests supply baby pictures of themselves. You can play an entertaining and often hilarious guessing game with these photos. Give each guest a pen and paper, present each picture and challenge the guests to guess the true identities of the babies. When everyone is done, collect the papers, hold up the pictures and read the answers. Many times seeing old photos will remind seniors of old times. They may want to tell about where the pictures were taken, or what was happening in the world the year they were born.
  5. Trivia games for the elderly are some of the best games to play with senior citizens.  Just make sure the questions are geared toward the appropriate time period. Current pop culture references should be avoided in favor of trivia from a more familiar time. Many of these questions will spark some interesting stories from the party guests and prompt conversations among them.

    As a memorable variation, consider personalizing the trivia game. Have each senior write on a sheet of paper a few facts about her life. First jobs, number of kids or grandkids, depression questions like the cost of bread, and careers and past hobbies would be a great start. Then read the questions out loud and have the seniors match the information to the correct person. This activity will spark a lot of discussion and memories about the old days!

  6. Hire a swing band! Activities for elderly people don't have to be limited to sit-down games.  Music and dance lovers come in all age groups, and seniors are no exception. Hearing their favorite old songs live would be a real treat. Encourage those who are able to do so to dance to the music. For those who lack their former agility, help them to keep time to the music in their seats.
  7. How about a card tournament party with inexpensive wrapped gifts as prizes?  A list of senior games wouldn't be complete without adding some of the most popular card games.  Poker has enjoyed a big comeback these days. Pinochle, bridge and gin rummy are also popular. You can separate the large group into groups of four, form separate games and then let the winners of those games compete for a grand prize!
  8. Team building activities. If you're planning activities for a group that will meet on a regular basis, rather than for a one-time event like a party, you may want to open your sessions with some fun team-building activities.  With just a little tweaking, these can become excellent group activities for the elderly and they'll help your group come together more quickly. This type of game is also a great way to introduce newcomers. These also make great recreational activities, as long as you keep the health and abilities of the group members in mind.
  9. Hold a flower arranging class. Supply the vases, stems and scissors, and give them some tips on color. After they have completed the arrangements, they can vote on first, second and third place arrangements (all of which receive prizes). Of course, allow all the seniors to take their creations home!

Seniors like to have fun as much as any other group of people, and their games don't have to be slow or boring. The possible list of activities for senior citizens is nearly endless, and you'll have a great time putting the event together! For parties or events that are centered around a theme, you can even have fun coming up with the perfect party decorations and planning themed games for the elderly. If you play one or more of the games above, your party or event is guaranteed to be a real success!


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