Day Program Activities For Adults With Disabilities

daily activities

Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to suffer heart disease, stroke, cancer, or diabetes than adults without disabilities. This is according to the Centre for Resources and Disease Control (CDC). These are the adults with severe difficulty hearing, seeing, walking, remembering, concentrating, or making decisions and those with limited social and motor skills.

In recent years, adults with disabilities have been encouraged to lead an active life through day program activities. That is not only because an active lifestyle can improve and influence the mood and health of disabled adults but also because it makes them feel more integrated into society. 

Today, the care of older adults is a problem many have to deal with, especially with the recorded increase in the life expectancy of Americans. But caring for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities need not be that challenging.

Adapting fun day activity programs is a guaranteed way to help adults with disabilities enjoy and see life from the bright and sunny side. Day activities flow creative juices, and support adults with disabilities quickly learn to cope with everyday cognitive and mobility challenges they may face.

This article posits some excellent suggestions on day programs for adults with disabilities. Let’s get right into it.

Cognitive And Memory Activities For Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Adults with cognitive mental disabilities may often find large social gatherings and settings uncomfortable. This is because such an environment is a low trigger point for them.

It is, therefore, best to work with them at their own pace after carefully studying the type of things they like and do not like. This will give you an indication of what their comfort levels are.

Here are some of the cognitive day activities that you can use to create thrill and excitement in their brain:

Language Classes

Practicing a different language is an excellent way for adults with disabilities to practice their ability to recall information, speak, and improve critical thinking. It is even said that practicing languages helps deter dementia in the elderly.

Board Games

Playing games such as Cranium Cariboo and Charades is great for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Board games help them develop excellent writing and story-telling skills.

Card Games

Card games such as Over The Line (a fun combination of Pictionary and charades) and 52 Essential Conversations Cards are good card games that will help develop good communication and relationships.

Lego Games

Lego games engage you for hours as you try to figure out the puzzle and connect the pieces. These games are great for developing cognitive thinking in adults with disabilities.

There are many forms of Lego games available on the market. Some adult-themed Lego games include  LEGO Volkswagen Beetle, LEGO White House, LEGO F.r.i.e.n.d.s Central Park, and LEGO Architecture New York City

Puzzles such as Balloons At Sunset Puzzle, Ravensburger Cozy Retreat Puzzle, and Nice Restaurant Puzzle are highly recommended by psychologists and therapists to engage adults with disabilities for cognitive development and life success while supporting mental health.

Mobility Activities For Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Physical exercises and activities can help adults with disabilities achieve their physical and mental potential. Some mobility day activities for adults with disabilities include:


Bowling is a fun day activity to take an adult with a disability. Knocking down the pins is exciting and raises adrenaline that keeps one going.

Also, when bowling, there is the involvement of several body parts and movements. This helps develop coordination between the brain and the other body parts, making it a great mobility activity even for older adults with disabilities.

Nature Walks

Walking by the beach, botanical park, or any other natural site has a therapeutic and calming effect. Such walks are beneficial for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The calming effects of nature can quickly bring one to a safe space where one is entirely relaxed and less agitated. 

Nature walks enable adults with intellectual disabilities to learn about their surroundings and develop good memories. For those facing mobility challenges, using a hybrid wheelchair can facilitate participation in such activities, enhancing their experience and comfort.

Going To An Amusement Park

Amusement Parks are fun to visit. From the water fountain rides to roller coaster rides, amusement parks are always exciting and bring out the inner child. 

An adult with an intellectual disability will most likely be thrilled with a day out at an amusement park. 

The outdoor experience involved with going to an amusement park is also a good exercise that adds to both physical health and mental development. 

Going To The Museum

A visit to the museum is another exciting and therapeutic activity that an adult living with an intellectual and developmental disability can engage with. 

Seeing nature-themed works and the many other artifacts displayed in the museum will rekindle the interest in learning and knowing more about the environment around them.

Outdoor Group Hikes

Plan for an outdoor group hike if the extent of the adult’s disability allows it. Have a balanced mix of the group where there are adults who are not living with any disabilities and those living with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

There should be no space within a group for someone to feel less human than the other. This will damage the mental health and well-being of the adult living with a disability.

Outdoor Group Picnics

Outdoor group picnics are great for bonding and enjoying the beauty that nature offers and provide a range of emotional and mental benefits

Time out in the sun or simply enjoying any physical activity during a picnic is also suitable for our overall physical health. 

Activities involved in picnicking give our muscles a workout. The time out in the sun also improves bone health. The trouble for many is where to find local accessible parks, but once they do, they will most certainly enjoy outdoor picnics more than any other outdoor activities because they are not physically demanding.

Intellectual Activities For Adults With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities

daily activities

Keeping the brain active at all stages of life is essential. Brain games are a good mental exercise that lessens the risks of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercising the brain provides a simple way to improve memory and problem-solving skills. Here are a few different types of daily activities for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities:


Puzzles are a great way to stimulate brain function and stretch the mental muscles of adults living with disabilities. A puzzle is a problem-solving activity that requires looking for patterns and paying attention to detail.

In addition to the traditional jigsaw puzzles, they can also do word search puzzles or simple crossword puzzles to keep their brains active and stimulate memory.

The jigsaw puzzle is the most popular option for adults with disabilities because it is easy to understand, simple to play, and gives a person plenty of time for the activity.

Trivia Games

Trivia games are popular with people of all ages. Still, they can benefit adults with disabilities who need to exercise their recall skills while engaging with others.

These games encourage people to use memory and try to recall past facts or events, making it an excellent intellectual activity for adults with disabilities.


While it may seem pretty basic, engaging in conversation and socializing is helpful for adults with disabilities to stay mentally active. Trying to remember names and keeping up with current topics helps avoid boredom and loneliness while keeping the mind engaged.

When adults with disabilities live in an assisted living community, it becomes much easier for them to interact with staff and other adults who experience similar challenges. This makes it easier to learn together without anyone feeling less of a human than the other.

The Card Matching Game

Adults with an intellectual disability such as down syndrome experience may take longer to develop practical skills. 

Difficulty in remembering things becomes a common occurrence. These moments can make it hard to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The card matching game is a great day activity that helps increase memory skills. They can play it alone or with a group. All you need is a pack of cards and a table.

Artistic And Sensory Activities For Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Arts and crafts are an excellent way to stimulate the mind of an adult with a disability. Although most arts and crafts like paper mache mainly use hands, there are some that a person living with a vision disability can also engage with.

Group Cooking Activities

Group cooking activities are fun for everyone. The menu doesn’t have to be an exotic or complex one. Just a simple dish like noodles or pasta can get the work done.

Pair the adults with disabilities in groups of twos or threes, provide them with the ingredients and let them prepare the menu. Learning as a team is always more fun and beneficial.

Music And Podcasts

Listening to music is a sensory activity that is good for the soul. It also has a significant calming effect and is therapeutic. 

Find out their favorite type of music or preferences and have them saved somewhere. Jazz and classical music is mostly a safe option if you were to take a gamble because they have a slow rhythm that has a calming effect.

Music concerts or festivals may also offer excitement to adults with disabilities. However, you may need to accompany them and focus on the more laid-back shows, not the noisy type that may quickly make them uncomfortable.

Podcasts that talk about issues that adult with a disability likes makes a good day activity. Podcasts can be an effective medium for both informative and educational material.

Art And Craftwork

Craft activities such as card making and art activities like coloring and drawing are great sensory activities for adults with disabilities. 

Get them an adult drawing and coloring book or a DIY card-making and scrapbooking kit. These create space for creativity and general learning.


Writing is one of the easiest ways a person can express themself. A good journal will make it easy for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities to put their thoughts on paper. 


Maintaining a small garden in the back or front yard of the house is a chance for an adult living with a disability to care for a living organism. 

Keeping a garden gives one a sense of responsibility and something to look forward to. Watering the garden and watching it grow offers excitement and a feeling of achievement.

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are exciting sensory day activities for adults with disabilities because they engage so many of their human senses. 

Try placing small items in strategic locations and allowing time to find them. It will be enjoyable and engaging for them.


Keeping adults with disabilities stimulated and invigorated through day program activities is vital for their health and well-being. Always remember that adults with disabilities do not want to be treated differently, like outcasts, but to be involved.