Top 15 Best Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility (2024)

June 17, 2024 | News | Reading Time 16:00 Minutes

One of the greatest joys of the aging process is savoring a life well-lived. And yet, as seniors pivot into their golden years, activities must be modified — or may be off-limits — for seniors with limited mobility.

Many seniors find themselves discouraged by the fact that as they age, they won’t be able to do what they used to do. But not to worry.

With a little modification, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy some of the same activities you used to participate in and even a few new ones as well.

At Village Green, we’re in the business of helping seniors with limited mobility live their best lives. Our team of assisted living and memory care experts have more than 30 years of planning and hosting robust activity calendars for senior citizens and their families.

We know what it’s like to be in your shoes, and we’d like to offer you some of the best 15 activities for older adults with limited mobility.

Seniors and loved ones: if you’re wondering what activities are healthy for the mind, body, heart, and soul for those with limited mobility, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our top activities for older people who have limited mobility.

What causes limited mobility in senior populations?

An assisted living resident with limited mobility hugging an assisted living staff member and smiling at the camera

As we grow older, our bodies tend to slow down. The body loses elasticity, flexibility, and energy, which can make engaging in certain activities more challenging.

Some of the most common reasons a senior may be limited in mobility may be because of:

  • Cardiovascular diseases: like heart attack, stroke, and heart disease
  • Bone conditions: like arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Memory-related conditions: like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s
  • Weight-related conditions: like obesity, diabetes, and more
  • Excessive smoking and alcohol use

While not an exhaustive list, you’ll want to keep in mind that many conditions exist that can affect the body and mind’s ability to move and be nimble. With that being said, a senior’s condition need not define them.

Plenty of seniors live rich, active, full, and exciting lives. In fact, healthy activities play a huge role in the health and vitality of a senior. Let’s see why in the next section.

Why participating in healthy activities is crucial for seniors

A senior with limited mobility holding a mocktail drinking and smiling

For seniors — and people with limited mobility — not being able to participate in cherished hobbies can be disappointing. But many seniors with limited mobility enjoy rich lives as they age.

Seniors and older adults with limited mobility can still find and engage in activities that bring them the same level of happiness and joy.

Participating in healthy activities is crucial for seniors, because seniors will reap the following benefits as a result:

  • Better memory: Seniors can slow cognitive decline and improve memory.
  • Better well-being: Seniors can boost their mental and physical health.
  • Better overall health: Seniors can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mood.
  • Greater sense of purpose: when we’re not able to do what we used to love to do, we’re likely to feel depressed, restless, and frustrated. When seniors have hobbies that give them meaning, they’re more likely to feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

One of the pillars of our assisted living and memory care facilities is that when seniors are happy and healthy, they live better lives. Let’s explore the 15 activities that our seniors — and seniors with limited mobility the world over — engage in to help them live their best lives.

Summary: 15 excellent activities for seniors with limited mobility

An infographic going over the 15 different activities for seniors with limited mobility

1. Grab a fresh breath of air: opt outside

Assisted living residents in wheelchairs outdoors with horses

Spending quality time outdoors and grabbing a fresh breath of air can boost mood. If seniors are willing, they can also enjoy light outdoor physical activity.

Some fresh ideas for fresh air include:

  • Taking in scenery from a rooftop balcony
  • Taking a short nature walk
  • Going birdwatching
  • Having a picnic with family or friends
  • Gentle outdoor yoga

2. Color your life: indulge your creativity

A senior smiling with a drawing they created

When we indulge the creative parts of ourselves, we also expand our minds. For seniors with limited mobility, creative pursuits can help expand the mind and maintain cognitive skills. Some creative activities to try include the following:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Writing poetry and stories
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Taking photographs
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Woodworking
  • Creating a movie or a couple of short films
  • And more!

Ideal activities for seniors who want to pursue their creativity are entertaining activities that provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment — and most importantly — joy!

3. Boost your brain; enroll in a new class

A picture of seniors in wheelchairs at a group exercise and stretching class

Many senior centers, organizations, and websites have classes that cater to seniors with limited mobility. Some ideas for new classes that don’t require seniors to move around too much include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Language classes
  • Swimming classes
  • Piano classes
  • Crocheting or knitting classes
  • Pottery classes
  • Classes to learn new games — even video games!

4. Get social and connect with loved ones

Seniors blowing out candles on a cake together

Limited mobility can lead to depression and anxiety if a person doesn’t feel they’re able to connect with people and activities that give them meaning. Connecting with loved ones and making new friendships is important for seniors.

Not only is socializing with others a fun way to spend time, but research and data from Western and Eastern countries show time and time again that social support plays a large role in how long — and well — we live. Seniors: consider learning about an interesting new subject, or reaching out to someone you’ve always wanted to talk to!

When seniors engage with people of all ages, they’re able to live better and longer.

5. Enjoy festive family time and explore activities together

A senior citizen celebrating her 100th birthday with family members next to her

Individuals with limited mobility can still find meaning and purpose with family without needing to move around. Try spending time with family or friends with babies.

Spending time with people of all ages can go a long way in ensuring the health and well-being of a senior who’s seen the gamete of life.

Seniors with mobility problems can find activities that are gentle and help engage their memory. Family and friends can give their elder loved on the chance to do the following list of activities to help keep seniors’ minds fresh:

  • Video loved ones telling stories about the past
  • Create a family tree and learn about the senior’s family history with their loved ones
  • Make new memories and cherish old ones by taking pictures and exploring photo albums

6. Try alternative exercises

Seniors in a wheelchair with boxing gloves sparring with a boxing teacher

Keeping active is crucial as seniors age. The following low-impact activities and exercises are perfect for seniors with limited mobility and/or mobility issues:

  • Chair yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming
  • Light upper-body weightlifting and chair exercises
  • Walking (and getting fresh air outdoors)

7. Giving is living: volunteer your time

Seniors and staff smiling over home-made Thanksgiving food

The saying, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime” is 100% apt for seniors with mobility issues. Loss of mobility doesn’t mean that seniors can’t live — and still give — their best to the world around them.

Seniors can leverage their years of wisdom by sharing their wisdom with and giving back to the community — by teaching their community what they’ve learned throughout their lives. Try contacting local charities, local organizations, and senior centers to engage in uplifting activities with people from all different walks of life.

Whether teaching youngsters how to play chess, donating time and energy to various food and clothing drives, or serving food at a local soup kitchen, volunteering boosts the social and emotional well-being of seniors of all ages and mobility types.

Did you know?

Did you know that giving back to your community is a unique way to place your skills to good use? Check out our Facebook page to discover six great ways to spend your time volunteering.

8. Read your way into a book club

A senior reading a book at a table with tea

Seniors: this one goes without saying. To boost your mood and your mind, join a book club!

Activities like book clubs are perfect for seniors with mobility issues, as book clubs provide the chance for seniors to socialize, exercise their brains, and learning throughout life.

9. Get gaming: solve puzzles

A senior with limited mobility in a wheelchair playing and holding up a Car Bingo card

Gaming is no longer just for the young. Video games, board games, and card games help seniors exercise mental fitness.

For example, sudoku, bridge, bingo, and chess are just a few different activity ideas and board games worth exploring.

Play with friends, family, or both. The choice is all yours!

10. Teamwork makes the dream work: group exercise classes

Seniors in wheelchairs playing volleyball with a blow-up beach ball.

Of the many enjoyable activities and hobbies for seniors, none are quite as engaging as group exercise classes. Whether playing your favorite songs while ballroom dancing or enjoying adapted volleyball, group exercises are very helpful for seniors.

Group exercise classes offer seniors more than just an opportunity to pass the time. These classes improve physical fitness, cognitive functioning, and overall social well-being.

11. Spend time with an adorable pet

A senior smiling next to a small cat

Many seniors with medical issues experience a real lift in mood from pet therapy. Spending time with furry loved ones has the power to reduce symptoms of depression and help cope with negative emotions brought on by mobility issues.

One of the most enjoyable activities we’ve found with our residents is that our residents love taking their dogs for relaxing outdoor walks. Seniors: if you don’t have an animal, don’t fret.

Many organizations offer pet and animal therapy to seniors. Consider reaching out to an animal-based organization to learn about the benefits of pet therapy.

12. Be present with a calming meditation

A senior with limited mobility at a restaurant smiling at the camera

People with limited mobility may find that mindfulness meditation can help cope with issues of mobility. Whether sitting for 20 minutes and breathing in a garden, joining a group guided meditation, or taking a moment to enjoy a calm sunset, mindfulness meditation can help seniors stay present, grounded, and comfortable living in the moment.

13. Learn a new language or musical instrument

A picture of a performer sitting at a grand piano next to a Christmas tree

Listening to music is one of the many activities that are perfect for seniors with limited mobility. Music has the power to decrease pain, stress, and anxiety, all while boosting memory.

For an added social boost, assisted living or memory care residents with limited mobility can meet in common spaces and listen to music together.

Not part of an assisted living or memory care facility? No problem!

Seniors can reach out to loved ones, gather online, or even attend local open mic nights in town. Coffee shops and loved one’s households are the perfect place for listening to a beautiful tune.

14. Treat yourself to a massage

A sign that reads "Spa Night" with candles and tea next to it

Of the various activities and ways to have fun on this list, massages may be one of the most conducive for seniors with mobility problems. Massages relieve muscle tension, boost the immune system, and can help a person feel more calm and relaxed.

Whether working on your upper body or lower extremities, a massage might just be just what the doctor ordered.

15. Get your green thumb on and garden

A picture of a garden of red and pink flowers with people in the background

A great way to get light exercise for seniors is by gardening. Of our list of activities for seniors with mobility issues, gardening may be one of the most adaptable activities on our list.

Consider building raised garden beds or smaller indoor structures to help seniors with mobility problems who are passionate about gardening. If you or your elderly loved one don’t have the strength or mobility to create a large garden, you can always choose to plant small herbs in household containers.

Gardening is a low-impact, high-yield activity for seniors with a green thumb.

Seniors with limited mobility: find your village today

A Village Green staff member smiling at a booth full of Village Green marketing paraphernalia

Seniors and families: limited mobility doesn’t have to stop you from being your best. These activities are perfect for the senior with limited mobility that wants to live every day to the fullest:

  • Going outside for fresh air
  • Engaging in a creative activity
  • Enrolling in a new class
  • Socializing with friends
  • Spending time with family
  • Trying alternative, low-impact physical exercises
  • Volunteering
  • Reading
  • Playing games
  • Joining a group exercise class
  • Spending time with pets
  • Meditating
  • Learning a new language or musical instrument
  • Getting a massage
  • Gardening indoors or outdoors

While issues of mobility need not always stop a person from living their best, sometimes seniors need a little help to be their best.

At Village Green, we help seniors do just that. The skilled assisted living and memory care professionals at our facility have more than 30 years of experience providing a world-class, robust calendar of exciting activities for seniors with mobility issues (Our certified staff facilitate a college-level course in the Patchogue, New York community).

Perhaps our little village could be right for you. To learn more about how we help seniors with mobility issues at our facility, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

One of our friendly and knowledgeable senior concierge staff members would be happy to chat with you!

FAQ about activities for seniors with limited mobility

Seniors seated at a table and playing checkers together

How can seniors with limited mobility keep their minds and bodies engaged?

Seniors with limited mobility can keep their bodies healthy and active by trying a variety of alternative physical exercises such as:

  • Chair yoga
  • Arm raises
  • Seated torso-twists
  • Resistance band stretches
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Wall push-ups

To activate the mind-body connection, try combining activities from each list. Doing so can help improve overall well-being.

Which physical exercises can seniors with limited mobility do?

Physical exercises that aren’t weight-bearing and that use assistive equipment tend to be most helpful for seniors with limited mobility. Many upper body exercises that involve resistance bands work wonders for someone with limited mobility.

As always, seniors and their families should consult with a trusted healthcare professional before a senior begins a new physical exercise regimen. Doing so will ensure the health and well-being of all parties involved.

Which activities are best for keeping older adults’ minds active and engaged?

To keep the mind sharp and active, try any of the following great activities for seniors:

  • Puzzles and games
  • Artistic activities
  • Listening to and playing music
  • Taking a new language class
  • Chess

“Each employee treats the residents as if they were their own family.”

Two women smiling at the camera with food in front of them

“When I went looking for an assisted living facility for my mother who is 89 years young, my wife and I visited many facilities. What stood out was that other facilities felt like nursing care, and Village Green felt like a five-star resort.

Mom became a resident in September of 2019. She was thrilled to be in an assisted living facility that she not only felt safe and secure in, but also one where she felt loved by the staff and her fellow residents.

From the administration to the cleaning staff, each employee treats the residents as if they were their own family. This is a spectacular facility, and I’m happy to be a part of the Village family.” – Orlando J., grateful Village Green family member