Two happy seniors in an assisted living home.

Recreational Therapy Activities For Seniors In Assisted Living Facilities

As per the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, recreation therapy can be defined as “a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.”

In simple terms, a recreational therapist helps his patients take part in recreational activities that they enjoy. Recreational therapy has been shown to improve cognitive skills, social interactions and reduce depression in seniors living in several senior cares and assisted living facilities across the country. 

The holistic and practical approach of recreational therapy is used in many skilled nursing facilities and community-based care settings. The month of February is celebrated as Recreation Therapy Month and even though the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing people to spend more time indoors, the benefits of recreational activities can be obtained from the safety and comfort of assisted living facilities. Some of the engaging recreational therapy activities that can be beneficial to support the health of seniors in assisted living facilities are discussed below. 

Video Games 

Video games can be a really enjoyable way to unwind. Apart from being an entertaining recreational activity, video games help increase focus and offer chances for more social interaction. For seniors, video game systems that work with interactive remote control are a great way to promote and improve movement. 

Listening To Music 

Music can be a really easy way to decrease stress for anyone. In the case of seniors, music can serve as a reminder of past experiences and can be a great tool that can aid with memory recall. There are different types of formal music therapy available for seniors; however, arranging informal sessions can be a great way to incorporate music therapy as a recreational activity in senior care facilities. 


An essential activity like cooking can be easily overlooked as a type of therapy. However, it is another rewarding activity that can help seniors to stay active. Seniors might have developed unique tastes and may enjoy sharing these recipes and skills with others. Baking and cooking groups in senior care facilities can allow older adults to take part in cooking workshops that can let them learn new skills. 

Brain Teasers 

Riddles, logic puzzles, and crossword puzzles, etc can be great recreational activities for adults. Engaging in brain teasers can help control the cognitive decline in seniors and can promote memory, focus, and spatial processing, among other skills.