Say goodbye to the hazy, warm summer days and welcome the rainy season of autumn. If you’re like me, looking after someone with who likes to keep busy but feels restricted during these cold months, there’s plenty of ways to help them indoors (although sometimes going for a nice stroll, wrapped up under an umbrella can be a wonderful experience!). For service users living with a progressive illness or those in their elderly years, it’s vital to have elements of stimulation every day. Research has shown that those who have long term physical conditions are more likely to suffer from mental health issues too, but a great way to combat this is to ensure the mind and body stay stimulated. The great thing about being a carer in these times is we know our service users routines, their preferences and ways in which we can support them in the activities they really enjoy doing. So if you’re struggling to find ways to keep your service users busy indoors, I’ve got a few ideas for you below. Exercise and physical activity. It goes without saying some form of exercise every day makes you feel better as it releases endorphins. There are so many benefits of exercise, such as reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia and even depression. For those unable to stand for long periods there are also sitting exercises they can do when in their favourite chair. This has become increasingly popular to prevent joints stiffening, improve flexibility and maintain strength. Simple movements such as stretching and moving feet in a circular motion can reduce the risk of blood clots. To make the activity more fun, why not put on their favourite music or encourage them to do it while watching a film. You could even set them targets each week to give them something to aim for. Arts and Crafts Knitting – who doesn’t love a bit of knitting? For some people knitting gives them a sense of purpose. Perhaps you could make teddies or baby clothes for your local hospital. Seasonal crafts – If they like to get artsy and are mad about festivities why not help them make decorations or cards for their loved ones. You could even make colourful window crafts (pumpkins for the trick or treaters and tree’s at Christmas) Puzzles and games – These are amazing for exercising the brain. Especially jigsaw puzzles which are easy to get your hands on and can keep service users brains stimulated for hours. Card games are also a winner, and they can also be played alone for when carers have to go. Books and music – There are books for everyone out there, different genres, different font sizes, and audio books for those that struggle with reading and e-books for those nifty service users who are up and coming with technology! Music is a fabulous way to get your service users smiling and moving. The memories that stick with music is phenomenal – find an old CD in their house and watch their personalities come to life! I hope this helps make yours and your service user’s rainy days more enjoyable!