Follow
Share

I am an Activity Coordinator at an Assisted Living Facility for 5 years and I am struggling with keeping our resident's mentally & physically busy, no matter what you offer, it is always too hard to do or to far to walk to or any other excuse. I do know all has a choice to participate.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
It is always a good point of keeping long term care residents mentally and physically active, this will help keep their well being. However, if you have difficulties convincing them to do a walk or exercise, there are other activities that seniors will probably enjoy... in the comfort and safety of indoor environment. Like all other suggestions given here, you can conduct a lively board games like bingo or maybe monopoly, or even scrabble and boggle - it would be a great help for seniors to improve their cognitive abilities. Invite friends, families, fellow caregivers and care recipients to join, the more.. the merrier! You can also play a game on cup stacking, or invite them to help make a healthy but easy to prepare dish and see how they enjoy eating a delicious treat together with the people who shared their efforts in preparation. :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I assume that you have to 'lure' them into the activity? What are the other limitations? Can you have poker day (chips or money, depending on your restrictions)? Can you get a hairdresser to come in and offer services for a reasonable price? Same for manicures? Reach out to the local religious or community groups to come visit and entice them to join their activity? (For instance, if I were with a singing group that offered a sing-along, I'd walk around to the rooms inviting folks, and offer to escort them, if they needed help.) Can you get funds/charitable offers and/or the space to start a garden, even if they're in pots? Check with some local childcare facilities and see if you can get an exchange program going. How about a cooking class? Do you have Classic Movie Mondays? With popcorn (or some other healthy substitute snack), of course *grins*

Ultimately, think about what they might do at home, on their own, if they were able (without assistance) and add a program to do it, with your/staff's help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

exercise does the double duty of keeping the elderly physically and mentally fit (see reuters/article/2013/12/09/us-exercises-helpful-for-people-with-dem-idUSBRE9B813S20131209). getting the elderly interested in activities that stimulates the mind and body like walking around museums, participating in docent led botanical garden walks, volunteering, just getting out of the house, interacting with different people would all be helpful. There are brain games you can find on the internet and probably in community (senior) centers or even at a local public library. going out to different restaurants, trying foods from different cultures. i just think doing all kinds of different things is fun for the caregiver and the senior....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom's day program has some sort of musical entertainment each and yes every day! In your 5 years there what have you found that works? There are so many YouTube videos that you could have theme days with an hour or so long program playing cat, dog, horse, zoo, baby, whatever you could possibly dream up!

The music programs at the day program are put on by churches, schools, individuals that volunteer, anywhere. And the groups have the opportunity to practice before a not very discerning, but very appreciative audience. You could also contact a service dog organization to have members visit with their dogs. So many, many things.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Music seems to be a favorite. I got a CD that had WWII era songs, and then researched each one on the Internet, and printed out the lyrics. I played the CD and my clients and I sat around the table singing. It was SO much fun. Another fun activity is to let them play with their food ;-) Make chocolate pudding and let them draw shapes in it, like finger paint. It's very soothing. Just have a lot of wet, warm towels ready for hands later. This may prove to be hilarious, as they can lick their fingers.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Find Teepa Snow on YouTube and look for her video on Brainy Day activities. As usual, it's short and to the point and full of good ideas.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I started my mom on beautiful coloring books that I had seen on Amazon. She started out with colored pencils and now uses watercolor pencils. She finds it very peaceful and calming. The selections are everything from flowers, animals, stained glass, etc. Usually around $4 or $5.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

That is the C-A-T, not car.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

We do puzzles, play Yahtzee, checkers, grandsons play tic/tac/toe with grandpa. Give the person a little responsibility in the household like attending to the in/out of the dog or car, sorting silverware from the dishwasher, set the alarm on a cell phone for med times, remind them to go and take their meds. Make it easy for them to see their meds by putting them in a cup marked with the dosing time. Only put out one or two doses at a time so they don't get them mixed up.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I love to watch my mother playing Dominoes. There are several groups of residents that get together several times a week for a round. Two different churches send someone to do a nondenominational bible study. There is a group choir that practices weekly and will preform on the occasion of family group dining. They are pretty good too. The coordinator has recorded music to sing along with.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Animals to visit seem to work a lot , bring kitties or well trained ones, puppies & dogs, trained. Deal with mishaps are owners job?? Channel 6 at 11am to 12 noon in MPLS,MN Dancing & music is so appealing. Watch and/or join in dance.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Once when I visited my mom at her skilled nursing facility, I joined in on one of the group exercises. Everyone sat in a circle, and we tossed a beach ball to someone else in the circle. Sounds simplistic, but it evoked quite a few smiles and laughter. I would suggest that a few non-residents participate, to insure that ALL are included in the ball toss.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Bingo is a "MUST DO" at the assisted living where my dad is. It's a quarter for two cards for an hour of bingo and those folks pack the place out. It's the same time every day and they line up to get there early. They also play bunco and a card game, but honestly, they struggle with instructions and things have to be kept very very simple. They have guest entertainment and they enjoy that, especially if they can participate in singing and clapping. On the weekend they have jokes and riddles, but I've noticed that's hard for them. They have exercise class every morning and quite a few participate. You have to be very careful because most are on walkers or in wheel chairs and they just can't do activities that are physically challenging. They are starting a crocheting group and I'm anxious to see how that turns out. But they like to have something going on.....it's the same ones that venture from their rooms. They celebrate birthdays once a month, too. And they have classes that are fun....how to keep from falling, and they fall anyway. God bless them! Keep it simple but fun.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Mom is eighty and she enjoys socializing with friends and sing a longs. When I worked in a nursing home, the people enjoyed live concerts of fellow musicians in the community and the people would sing a long. They also enjoyed pokeeno, uno, and bingo with small prizes. Another thing they enjoyed was going out on small outings to Walmart. One more thing I just thought of is having someone come in and do a small group bible study. This helped people to enjoy singing hymns and to talk about spiritual topics of interest. Hope this helps.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Invite people to sit down and discuss the plan for the month. Ask them to suggest items. Ask them if they know someone that would like to come in for 1/2 - 1 hour to lead an activity. Maybe someone has a grand-daughter who teaches dancing. Use a variety of videos just for fun. Use chair exercises and fun equipment that kids have - balls, balloons, drums, sticks, etc. Stay young day, go out and blow bubbles. What was their favorite games when they were young.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Mom loved exercise classes offered at the local library, two times a week when she was 92 yrs old. They asked each person to come prepared to tell a joke.

It was hilarious... then they could tell the jokes to family visitors through out the coming week. Some of the jokes were pretty lame, but no matter... everyone thought my mom was funny because she always had a new joke from her exercise class.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This might sound crazy at first, but you might consider Pilates. I understand that Pilates was originally designed for survivors of trauma, with the goal of moving whatever you can move. I saw a Pilates show in which paraplegics were moving in whatever way they could, even if it was just rocking back and forth. Mild stuff to a fit body, but for them, that extra stretch or movement was life changing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

An exercise class can be engaging if there is variety and if participants go away feeling refreshed and successful. has a line of exercise DVDs designed with the specific needs of older adults in mind. There are 10+ various titles (e.g. Easy Tai Chi, Yoga Stretch, Stars & Stripes Fitnesscize, etc.) that allow for that variety, and they are fairly priced. Check it out!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom loved men. Particularly smart, tall men. If there was a smart tall man in the area or if she knew one would be coming, she got all showered and dressed up and she was AMAZING! All the pains and dizziness, all the irregular heart beats would disappear.

It turned out, it was the tax guy or her doctors who she liked. So, invite people who might be interested in speaking with the elderly. If you have men and or women, try to get the opposite sex to come and speak with them. Also, younger people are helpful sometimes too.

My mom hated my dog, so I can't say pet therapy, but any kind of intellectually stimulating people might help. If I get old and have to hang around old people like me, I think I would not be particularly motivated either...

Call the Library and ask what they have on the agenda. They offer everything for free and often have intellectually stimulating things going on... there are book groups and speakers at my library all the time. They have a nice calendar every month.

Come up with good questions for them and ask them what their interests are. For example, ask them what they were most proud of accomplishing in their past. If someone was a nurse, or someone else was in the war, I bet you could find people in the community who would be interested in coming to speak with them about their topics of interest. Or have them do presentations for each other.

Do any of them have the ability to put on a presentation for the others? Some might be great photographers, or an outstanding business person, or someone who was a great baker. Have them have the floor and set up some simple guidelines on what to present. For example, they must keep it to 20 minutes. They have to start with an objective, must ask the audience questions (so it's interactive)... Guidelines for good presentations... say what you mean to cover, cover the topic, then summarize what you covered.

Bottom line is make it all about them. As what's most important to them. They are intelligent people who have lived long and fruitful lives. I bet they have something interesting to say about their long journeys. I bet they are proud of what they accomplished. I bet they would love to show it off to the others. Then be sure to talk about how they have to show up for each other... and be kind.

I know this is a bit off beat, but I hope it's helpful... I would love it if someone would ask me to put together an engaging, fun presentation!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

By the last part I meant to say that people who have friends are probably more likely to attend social events. You might also consider a sex ed class giving the rising amount of STDs, HIV infection occurring among seniors. It also might get people talking, joking around, having fun.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I struggle with this on a daily basis. Since mobility is so important and exercise can be so beneficial, I've taken to requiring Mom to walk 2 "laps" (across the room and back is one lap) across the living room) before lunch. She will basically only do it if I prod her. But that's hard to do unless you have time to prod everyone to do it. If walking is part of the complaint, though, I'd say it's more important to take the patients to the activities, so they can be mentally engaged. Can they be wheeled over in a chair? Maybe if they go a few times and find they enjoy it, they might eventually be eager to go. I've also found that a lot of the activities in homes/care centers are pretty similar and frankly, not that intellectually stimulating. Maybe you could do a survey and find out if there are other activities the residents want to do? Book clubs, lectures from academics might be some interesting options. Painting, a common activity, can be wonderful fun, and great creative expression, but it won't interest everyone! Maybe also you could have a kind of coffee klatch, a sort of a meet and greet to introduce residents to one another. Sometimes the residents who might be friends never had occasion to meet so residents are stuck with people totally different from them and neither has an interest in the other.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Bingo with or without prizes My moms NH has bingo tuesdays pm and wedsday after dinner with dollar prizes, with dollar store prizes donated by churches.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mom is 86, still enjoys a good game of Shanghai Rum. Wikipedia has the rules.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter