31 ideas for Older Australians to explore with a support worker for in-home or virtual support sessions

In times of uncertainty such as these, you can still receive support in your own home and you can even receive virtual support via the video chat feature on Mable. We’ve come up with 31 fun, interesting and engaging activities you and your support worker can explore together from the comfort of your home. .

12 at-home activities ideas for you

While going out might be off the cards for a little while, you can still enjoy fun, entertaining and educational activities at home, and get some exercise too. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Scrapbooking – Start with a box of photos or mementos and glue or tape them into a scrapbook. You can add scraps of fabric, words cut from magazines, pressed flowers and other items to make the pages more visually appealing.
  2. Games and puzzles – There are so many games and puzzles you can play and do with your support worker! From sudoku and word searches to anagrams, Scrabble and jigsaw puzzles, each one has its own merits.
  3. Armchair travel – Pop on a YouTube video of a place you’ve visited and have a discussion with your support worker about what you ate there, what you saw, whom you met and the smells you remember.
  4. Wood sanding – A support worker with an interest in carpentry, woodworking or renovation can help you sand back an old chair or table. This is an excellent activity for physical movement and the satisfaction of the result.
  5. Colouring – Hand/eye dexterity may decline as we get older so colouring is an enjoyable way of maintaining it. Use colouring books, mandala books and even pages printed from the internet along with felt pens, crayons or pencils.
  6. Write letters and cards – Imagine receiving a beautiful, handwritten letter or card! It seems like such a lost art these days. Start by writing some (and your support worker can post them) and you may be thrilled to receive a handwritten reply!
  7. Wii sports – If you haven’t heard of Wii sports, you’re in for a treat. Wii is a video game console – perhaps your grandchildren or support worker has one – and you play physical games in front of your TV. Some of the most popular games among older Australians are Big Brain Academy, ten pin bowling, golf and billiards.
  8. Devonshire tea at home – Whip up a batch of scones with your support worker complete with jam and cream and put on a pot of tea. Homemade is always so much more delicious than shop bought.
  9. Set up video chats with loved ones – Your support worker can help you initiate a video chat with friends and family, both nearby and even overseas. Chat to your heart’s content and see those smiling faces in real time on Facebook video chat, WhatsApp or Facetime.
  10. Gain more internet skills – You’re already using the internet for your Mable support needs but have you ever wanted to learn how to use Facebook or other social media platforms? Would you like to use YouTube to view videos of your favourite screen idols or the country where you were born? Your support worker can help you with these things.
  11. Learn a musical instrument – A support worker who plays keyboards could bring it over for you to learn some chords. Or maybe you have a violin stashed away somewhere and would love a few lessons.
  12. Model building – Model car or aeroplane kits are quite inexpensive at craft shops and they’re excellent at improving dexterity, patience and coordination. They also provide a fantastic way for you to concentrate on something enjoyable and deliver a lovely sense of gratification.

7 virtual activities you can do via video chat on the Mable platform

There are two reasons why you may choose a virtual support session; one is because you’d prefer not to have someone enter your home during lockdown and the other is so that you can access support workers who don’t live in your local area but have skills or interests you appreciate.

  1. Play trivia – Your support worker can download trivia questions from the internet and ask you via video chat. You might even be able to pick a specific topic, a la Mastermind!
  2. Singalong – Pick your favourite songs and your support worker will be able to find them on a song platform like Spotify. You can teach them the words and together, you can have a good old-fashioned singalong.
  3. Learn a new language – Pick up the basics of a new dialect thanks to a support worker who knows the language. You can use filters on Mable to identify people proving support who speak another language. 
  4. Exchange portraits – Draw a portrait of each other over video chat while having a lively conversation about the week’s events.
  5. Have something read to you – Your support worker can read to you over video chat. It could be the newspaper, a few select magazine articles or even your favourite book.
  6. Storytelling – Now it’s time for you to be the storyteller. You’re bound to have an endless array of stories to share about raising your children, your time in the defence force, how you met your spouse, what you used to do for fun as a teenager, the kinds of meals your mother used to cook when you were a child and so much more. It’s healthy to relive happy memories and your support worker will be all ears.
  7. Guided meditation – Practising meditation regularly can be very beneficial for various reasons. A support worker who lists meditation on their profile can guide you through a session, leaving you feeling refreshed and calm.

7 Dementia-appropriate activities at home

A support worker who has experience in Dementia care will have plenty of tricks up their sleeve to engage your loved one who is living with Dementia.

  1. Crossword puzzles – You might have your favourite in your newspaper, you can buy crossword books or you and your support worker can print some downloads from the internet.
  2. Bingo – Always a bit of fun, it can get pretty exciting, waiting for those last couple of numbers to pop up.
  3. Precious memories box – Create a box of special items that can make reminiscing even more enjoyable.
  4. Music and movement – Putting on some favourite music can calm the mind. Encouraging movement will help to alleviate listlessness and inertia.
  5. Play with a pet – Cats, dogs and even pet fish can create great enjoyment for people living with Dementia. Spend some quality time with a pet if you can.
  6. Colouring and drawing – A relaxing pastime, colouring and drawing brings out creativity and expression.

5 outdoor activities to soak up a little sunshine

Never underestimate the value of fresh air and sunshine when you’ve been indoors for a while. Here are some ideas:

  1. Do a lap of the block – Whether you can walk – aided or unaided – or require a walker or a wheelchair, you and your support worker can do a lap of the block together. If you feel like picking up a coffee from the café, that’s ok too.
  2. Use your driveway – Go out on your driveway and get a little exercise, either walking or doing some stretches that your support worker may show you. Enjoy the feeling of the sun on your face and maybe pull up a chair for ten minutes or so.
  3. Walk the dog – If you have a dog, he or she will love the opportunity to get out in the neighbourhood for a spell.
  4. Outdoor photos – If you enjoy photography, go outside and take a few snaps of your garden, your home or a bird. Otherwise, you can ask your support worker to take a few photos of you with your phone so you can share them with loved ones.
  5. Gardening – A bit of light gardening can do wonders for how you feel. Pull a few weeds, water the flower beds, plant a couple of seedlings. Your support worker can do the ‘heavy lifting’ so you can enjoy the fun parts.

We hope this article gave you some inspiration to think about your support sessions a bit differently! Log in to your Mable account to try out one of the above ideas with an independent support worker.