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The Importance of Nursing Home Activities
Nursing homes are seen by many as squalid, soulless places where residents lie in bed or sit endlessly in rocking chairs, waiting for their days to be over until the inevitable happens. The reality — at least in a good nursing home — is far from it. Many people enter a nursing facility with their lives full and looking forward to years of fun and companionship, with daily activities that keep their bodies and minds active.
In fact, studies show that regular, stimulating activities help cut depression in half among nursing home residents, thereby staving off dementia and keeping their minds and bodies alive. Activities are vital to maintaining the physical and mental health of residents, and even staff and visiting family and friends can volunteer to participate in activities offered by good nursing homes.
If you’re looking for a nursing home for loved ones who still love life, it’s important that you understand the types of activities offered and how often. In fact, nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid patients must have a designated activity director in order to receive proper funding. But how well they work, you have to evaluate for yourself…
“I think the residents I’ve spoken to have told me that they have nothing to do but sleep, eat and read the newspaper, and they’re looking for a purpose to get out of bed every morning,” Vicki30CNA wrote on the website allnurses.com. Looking forward to the next day as they go for a run together. And our residents have very little stimulation other than going to the toilet and shower. Some fold bibs every morning and see it as their “job” but that work It took them half an hour. And then, they told me. I hate to see their last years so empty and meaningless.”
If you want to prevent this from happening to your loved ones, read on. Every nursing home should offer a variety of activities, so be sure to include this when considering a nursing home. Some residents may enjoy going out to lunch, shopping, or visiting local art galleries or movie theaters a few times a week. Others prefer live events that stimulate their bodies and minds.
It might be a good idea to chat with the nursing home activities director to see what’s available. These are just some of the activities a good nursing home should offer voluntarily…
Great because they require little preparation and can be planned by the residents themselves. They include:
gardening. Gardening can be as strict or as gentle as residents want, depending on their range of activities and interests. Hanging baskets, small pots of herbs, and indoor cacti or orchid collections can still maintain interest if you have a great real garden, if not.
Arts and crafts. Even older residents like to do something—especially when they think it would be a good thing. Knitting blankets, making baby clothes, or entering art or photography contests can keep people busy while helping them contribute to society.
game. You might think bingo is the most popular nursing home game — and you’d be right. But competitive gaming is more than just bingo. How about bridge, mahjong, canasta or chess – there are no limits. One-on-one games are great for encouraging closer relationships among residents, while group games can also help foster a sense of community.
Music-based activities. Don’t limit the fun to just singing – you might even have professional musicians among the residents, or you might discover some hidden talents.
Nail treatments, bible study, hair salon day – all you need is a skilled volunteer – and time to change someone’s life.
school groups. It may sound cliché, but young people can learn a lot from old people. This could take the form of grandma teaching little Albertina to knit, or going to a school every week to read to the children. In fact, many schools encourage outsiders — assuming they’ve been police checked — to help with one-on-one reading or math practice for children who need extra.
local community groups. People with special talents often like to visit nursing homes on a regular basis and share their skills. This could be giving residents a massage or reflexology session, teaching them about a particular aspect of gardening, or talking about growing orchids.
Scout group. Usually, Scouting Troops visit nursing homes – gathering together to do fun things like bake chocolate chip cookies or build birdhouses. Both groups can learn from each other and leverage each other’s skills and talents.
local charities. People at charities often spend time with older people, whether preparing for an outing or hosting a pet therapy day, with local veterinarians or animal shelter employees bringing animals to visit.
nursing home led event
Themed events, such as birthdays or religious celebrations. Some creative residents and staff get together to plan events, such as Hawaiian Nights, Chinese New Year celebrations, or Halloween or Thanksgiving celebrations. Friends and family can be invited to join—perhaps even residents of a neighboring nursing home.
Outdoor activities such as barbecues, picnics, or strolls in parks or garden centers. In some cases, volunteers may be called upon to assist residents with mobility issues.
A little culture. Going to the theater, opera, museum or movie theater may take some planning, but it’s worth it. Likewise, volunteer helpers and drivers may be required.
alternative therapy. Everyone can benefit — as long as they’re not too aggressive. Massage, yoga or Tai Chi can help residents have fun, keep fit and relax.
To keep people happy and healthy for as long as possible. Both physical and spiritual should be the goal of every nursing home. Activities should be varied and interesting, tailored to the different abilities, needs and interests of residents. They should not only be fun but worthwhile, enabling residents to form new relationships, develop new skills, and maintain their health levels.
“We had a ‘Senior Prom’ in May where local single Marines escorted our residents (wheelchairs and all) to dance and dinner, writes CoachCathy on allnurses.com. “We have local thrift stores Donated gowns and suits. A local hair salon will come in and do the hair and nails. Everyone had a great time.
“We had a winter wonderland theme last December – we made snowmen from diaper boxes painted white – and had a snowman decoration contest. The residents had an indoor snowball fight (using cotton balls). It was so much fun Already!”
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