Some great ideas here.
Just thought I'd add a few of my own
- music! Already been suggested I know but I'm adding it because it can be even more helpful if you find music that they used to like when they were younger (think 20's/30's).
- Cooking - definitely not over the stove, but working together on things like mixing the bowl, making a fruit salad, rolling out pastry or cupcake decorating can be good fun.
- Puzzles and Games. This can be anything from crosswords, sudoku, dominoes, cards to jigsaw ones. You can also get jigsaw puzzles specifically for elderly people that are a little less daunting. There are also modified games such as giant cards with stands etc if vision etc is a barrier.
- General tidying up or gardening. Even though this isn't very inventive it can work wonders in feeling a bit more independent; no matter how big or small the task is.
- Reading. This can be novels, graphic novels, joke books, quote books, art/photography books, cooking books, children's books, magazines, poetry or the newspaper. Or they might like to be read to, or they could enjoy audio books.
- TV. Particularly things like documentaries or news programmes or even quiz shows. They can be quite engaging and interactive - or allow for lots of conversations and reminiscing. YouTube may also have some enjoyable clips, or even Podcasts.
- DIY. Cards, scrapbooking, colouring, writing, painting, photography, collage, knitting, sewing, restoring furniture.
- any sort of sorting/shuffling. Things like poker chips, coins, pipe cleaners, paint chips, cards or fabrics.
- A memory box. These are the sorts of things that they might have kept from their childhood; everything from recipes, dried flowers, photographs, keychains, postcards or souvenirs.
- Going out. A walk, a swim, a cafe, a drive, an art gallery, dancing, putting bird seed out, a cinema, a cafe, golf, the beach, the park, a grocery store - some places will work better than others just depends on the person.
- and finally - have a think about what they used to do when they were younger and see if you can incorporate that into their life now. A post office worker may enjoy stamping envelopes, a mum might enjoy playing with a baby doll, a pet owner might enjoy having or seeing pets, etc.
Hopefully this is helpful!