Seniors can have the time of their lives at a nursing home. To make life exciting, nursing homes create a fun calendar of activities to keep seniors happy and cheerful throughout their stay at the home.
Here are 14 fun activities for seniors to do in nursing homes:
1. Music Activities
Listening to music is a fun activity for many seniors in nursing homes. Music triggers nostalgic memories of a time and place when a particular event or experience happened. By playing a tune and asking the seniors to name the tune, you take them back to a time when they were happy and fulfilled, a time, perhaps, when they were just falling in love.
If they are having difficulty naming the tune, jog their memory by playing musical bingo with images or words from the song.
2. Singing Activities
Organize the seniors into groups and get them to sing classic tunes that could have dominated airwaves in their day. Carefully select songs that resonate with most of the seniors depending on the era they grew up in. What songs were they likely to have danced to in their 20s?
Get the lyrics online and print them out for those who may have forgotten the words. The alternative is to invest in a sing-along CD or a lyrics book.
3. Reading Activities
Reading is a highly enjoyable activity for seniors in nursing homes, even for people with dementia. Set aside an afternoon or evening of poetry or story reading and you could end up with one animated bunch of seniors.
4. Making Cards
Card making is an enjoyable activity for seniors in nursing homes. The seniors can fold an A4 card in half and then give them a variety of materials to decorate with. For instance, you can supply them with wallpaper, gift paper or animal magazines to help them create a collage.
Other items needed for this exercise include paints, tissue paper, stickers, and coloured pencils. To make them unique, stick ribbons and buttons on the front of the cards.
5. Scrapbook Exercises
To reminiscence and at the same time keep them busy, provide each of the seniors with a scrapbook and let them stick images and photos that reflect their life’s experience. Scrapbooks also help care workers to know the seniors.
6. Jigsaw Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are ideal for small groups. Two to four people can play depending on the jigsaw size. Puzzles are versatile; anyone can play them, including people with mild dementia.
For instance, a 3D puzzle can be highly immersive and absorbing. For those with advanced dementia, simple puzzles featuring 13 pieces are ideal.
7. Board Games
Board games help keep the conversation going. Seniors at a nursing home are likely to find them stimulating. For instance, the Call To Mind board game is perfect for stimulating conversation and keeping everyone engaged. It helps people with dementia stay engaged. Others such as card games, dominoes, or Large Print Scrabble are equally stimulating.
8. Floor and Garden Games
Floor and garden games are ideal for most seniors, even those with limited mobility since one can play them while sitting. If the nursing home has enough space, these games are highly interactive and are appropriate during both wet and dry conditions. Games to consider include, boules, skittles, ring toss, and horseshoe games.
9. Exercise Activities
To boost the mood and improve their strength, get the seniors to do simple exercises. Besides using exercise DVDs, you might want to secure the services of a trained fitness instructor to assist those with limited mobility.
10. Dance Activities
Dance has the ability to merge both music and movement in a way that makes the body refreshed. Dance also enhances the cognitive ability of the seniors and improves their balance. Since they do not have to master the steps, any danceable tune will get the seniors gyrating to the beat.
If your nursing home has a garden, encourage the seniors to take walks and breathe as much fresh air as possible. The garden should be dementia-friendly to allow seniors with limited mobility to get around. It should have rest areas and be closed off to keep adventurous residents safe.
12. Food Tasting
Hold blind tasting events where participants are first blindfolded before tasting a variety of distinctive foods that could trigger delightful memories.
As they taste, ask them to name the foods while blindfolded. This can be an exciting competition for both the blindfolded and those cheering them on. You can later ask them to share their experiences.
Female seniors greatly appreciate hand massages. Male seniors also enjoy these massages, but they do not crave them as much as women do. You could provide a full manicure service or get a nail technician to provide nail services, especially to the female seniors.
14. Simple Tasks
Most seniors have spent their lives working. They are likely to relish the chance to feel useful again. Get them to assist with simple tasks such as folding laundry. This will boost their self-confidence and give them a sense of self-worth.