Suzie Dudas, Contributor
Listen Up! Boomers: study after study has shown that people aged 60 and older are more likely than younger people to have complications from catching COVID-19. With more than 150,000 diagnosed cases around the world, it’s important that everyone do what they can to help stop the spread – which means even healthy people across all age groups should limit social interaction to reduce the risk of becoming a carrier and passing the virus to someone else.
But the fact that you probably should stay home doesn’t make dealing with boredom any easier, especially for adults used to being active and social. But don’t worry – extra time at home can be a blessing in disguise if you have something to occupy your time. So, if you’re 55+, check out this list of 55 activities you can finally dive into now while your travel plans are on hold. And if you’re worried about older parents or family members who aren’t taking it easy, consider sending them this list to help them get used to a quieter few days at home. Of course, none of these activities require that you be a certain age to do them, so feel free to jump on in whether you’re 19 or 92.
Virtually volunteer at a museum: You can still be helpful while staying at home. If you have good typing skills, consider volunteering with the Smithsonian Institute, which is always in need of volunteers to help transcribe important documents.
Learn an instrument: Do you have an instrument sitting around the house you haven’t played in years? Dust it off, and watch free YouTube videos to learn the basics of everything from harmonica to bongo drums.
Play a video game: If your kids left an old gaming system at home, plug it in. Most gaming systems from the last ten years connect to wifi, which means you can download games from your home. Not sure how to do it? Here are instructions for Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox (or just call your kids.)
Write letters to strangers: With visitation limited at senior living communities, it may be nice for residents to hear from strangers. Love for the Elderly and Write On are great organizations that connect friendly letter writers (you!) with people who would love to receive them.
Learn a language: Learn the basics of a new language, perhaps for that vacation you’re now postponing to the fall. Duolingo has a great free app for computers or tablets, and Tandem lets you chat with native speakers if you already know the basics.
Try a new recipe: Dig deep into the pantry and see what random ingredients you forgot about. FridgeToTable will help you come up with a recipe using whatever you find, and sites like Epicurious have step-by-step guides and videos to help you whip up even the most complicated of soufflés.
Plan a trip: Eventually, there will come a time when COVID-19 fears die down and travel returns to (mostly) normal. So plan a dream trip, even if you’ll never take it. Get inspiration from luxury travel sites like National Geographic Expeditions or Abercrombie & Kent.
Man is writing a postcard at the table. Traveler life. Connection.
Write letters to family members: If you’re over 55, you probably remember a time when writing letters wad far more common. And believe it or not, young people like getting mail too; it’s one of the reasons monthly subscription boxes have flourished. So dig out some paper or old postcards (or make your own!) and send a letter that just might make someone’s day (especially if your recipient is also bored at home!) It’s especially funny if you can find old postcards from places you’ve clearly never been.
Do a puzzle: Have an old jigsaw puzzle lying around the house? Dump it out. Not only are jigsaw puzzles surprisingly addictive, but studies have shown that jigsaw puzzles can help maintain sharp cognitive functionality.
Learn a magic trick: You might as well pick up a new party trick for when it’s safe to socialize again. You don’t need s fancy magic kit; just check out a website on how to do sleight-of-hand with common household objects.
Clean out the closet: Go through the closets and find clothes you no longer wear. You can either donate them, or if they’re in good conditions, put them up for sale on sites like Poshmark, which allow users to safely sell clothing secondhand. It helps keep clothing out of landfills and helps you make a few extra dollars.
Teach your dog a trick: Fido may be just fine sitting around on the couch for days a time, but if you’re not, pull out a bag of dog treats and teach him a new trick. The Spruce Pets offers plenty of articles on easy tricks your dog can learn, or you can YouTube tutorials instead.
Plan a home renovation: Sick of staring at white walls? Then fix ‘em. Get home decor and renovation ideas from sites like Dwell and Architectural Digest, or build an inspiration board for an upcoming project on Houzz.com.
Learn a new online skill: Online learning isn’t just for college students. Sites like Masterclass let you learn skills ranging from scientific thinking with Neil Degrasse Tyson to interactive conservation classes with Jane Goodall for around $15 a month. You can also find shorter free classes on sites like SkillShare.
FaceTime with family and friends: You don’t have to leave the house to see loved ones – just call them with video chatting. Consider combining this with another activity and showing your family and friends your sleek magic trick or the new skill Fido (finally) picked up.
Make a vase: Throw down some newspaper, find an old shirt for a smock, and try a new craft – throwing ceramics can be fun and stress-relieving. You can order beginner kits from various online retailers, and finished products can sit for a week or twobefore they need fired, so it’s fine if you don’t have access to a kiln right away.
Write a book: Don’t just read a book – write one. Whether you’ve got an idea for a sci-fi novel, a how-to guide, or just a book of poetry, now’s the time to start typing. Sites like The Write Life can help guide you as you get started.