Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

Finding activities appropriate and enjoyable for the elderly and disabled can be frustrating. This is a guide about activities for the elderly and disabled.
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June 14, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about activities for middle aged nursing home residents. Nursing home residents are of different ages and capabilities. Activities can help keep your loved one engaged and active.

Man with grey beard painting on an easel

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June 13, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about activities for an assisted living facility. Older citizens who can live independently, but could use some assistance may choose to move to an assisted living facility. Among the benefits of this living arrangement are planned activities.

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Senior man weaving a basket

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June 11, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about activities for a deaf and blind person. Loss of vision and hearing can severely limit the kinds of activities a person and engage in.

Seniors participating in a stretching class

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June 11, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about activities for Alzheimer's patients. Alzheimer's and other dementia patients can benefit from and enjoy activities that stimulate their cognitive functions and that are just plain fun.

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Senior couple working on a scrapbook together

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June 9, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about craft activities for blind people. Loss of vision does not necessarily mean an end to crafting.

Hands forming a bowl on a pottery wheel

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June 2, 2016 Flag

This is a guide about Christmas activities for assisted living residents. Residents of assisted living facilities may have some difficulties getting around, but that does not mean they wouldn't enjoy a variety of Christmas activities.

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Volunteer helping senior adult woman decorate a Christmas Tree

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April 20, 2012 Flag

This is a guide about craft ideas for nursing home patients. Finding crafts that nursing home patients will enjoy making can be a daunting task.

Elderly Woman doing needle work

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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April 2, 2012 Flag

I am a CNA at a nursing home in Des Moines, Iowa. I take care of a 96 year old lady who is 90% blind and deaf. She is very restless, always calling out for help, and continually wants to return to the bathroom, but usually doesn't void. I think it's because she has nothing to do.

I've looked for activities to keep her busy, but it has proven difficult to find something for the deaf and blind. Not to mention she is 96 years old and frail. She's definitely bored, as before she came to us she was still living at home alone and busied herself with whatever she did there. She does still walk, but not far and she is a fall risk as she has proven herself to be very unstable. Any suggestions of how to keep her busy and not have toileting and meals be the only stimulation of her last days?

By Tabitha

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April 3, 20120 found this helpful
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Try play dough or other types of clay. It is good therapy to just mush with hands or if she makes something it can be air dried then baked in a low oven (250-300 degree F) for about 15 minutes to make it more permanent. Plastacine or modeling clay is also good.

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April 4, 20120 found this helpful
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What did this old lady do for a job in the past? She may be able to get back skills from those days.

I have seen a 92 year old blind lady learn to touch type with screen reading software on the computer. Typing is very soothing.

She might like to clean her own room - or she may be offended at the idea because she is paying for that now. Each old person is different.

Do you have singing classes at the care home? Does she know how to play the piano, because you could plug headphones into an electronic keyboard and only she would be able to hear the noise.

Could she join in any activities that are going on - like art or cooking - at her own level?

Could you have animals to visit the old people?

She may be always calling for the toilet because she is afraid of wetting herself. My mother used to come back from the bathroom, turn round and walk back again straight away. It does test your patience.

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April 4, 20121 found this helpful
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Would it be possible to get some massage for her? Even if it is just gentle rubbing of her arms and legs. It is tough to lose your senses one by one. Many good posts here...bless you for caring.

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July 26, 2015 Flag

I live in an apartment building for seniors. It's a nonprofit organization, so in other words, we do not have much money for crafts and activities. It's a government apartment. so we all are on Social Security. We need suggestions for things for us to do, fun things that doesn't require a lot of money! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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July 27, 20150 found this helpful
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You could get the ladies together to knit and crochet for newborns, like my local senior center does. Maybe also a raised garden.

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How about cards - poker, pinochle, gin rummy - lots of card games. Put a jigsaw or two out on tables - they're cheap at thrift stores. Does anybody at all know music? - bet somebody does. Form a singing group. A dance group - maybe some tap dancing - and yes, at your ages you can do that and it's good exercise. Find a space in the building, if possible, and open up a a small thrift shop. People donate what they don't want and sell it cheap to people that want it. Money earned can go to whatever the group wants. Maybe save up from the thrift store and buy a cheap Karaoke machine and have a Karaoke night. Have potlucks. Little something from each tenant will be enough to feed the whole group. And there's always having group walks in the evening while the weather is nice. While you're at the potluck - there is a wealth of knowledge in that building. Have people stand up and give a 10 minute speech on something they know about or some place they've traveled. There isn't a person living there that doesn't have some knowledge they can impart. For that matter, find people that would like to learn about certain subjects and form a group to research and study about it. For instance, how about learning about scams and frauds that hit seniors so much - AARP can help with that. Learn about beekeeping and next summer start some much needed bee hives. And you can eat the product. So many subjects, so much to learn. I'm 75 and still learning about all kinds of things. Especially if you're lucky to have some computers around - research and share with the group. Have some fun!

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August 3, 20150 found this helpful
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with a fat quarter any print or color you can make a cover for a spare roll of tp. there is no sewin involved. what u need is 1-fat quarter, 1- strip of green fabric 2"x 6" strip, scraps of jute, 1-brown lunch, 1- roll of toilet paper sack twisted & fold in 1/2. Lay your fat quarter open then set the new roll of tp n the middle. Tuck all 4 corners inside the tp roll. One corner at a time. Now lay the green strip across the top of the tp roll. Use a finger to tuck into the center. Now cut a few stands of jute fold in 1/2 and with the twisted & folded lunch sack (fold is on top) add them on top of the green strip. Push them down the center. Now you have a spare tp cover for your bathroom. it will look like a pumpkin. Different prints can be use for all holidays, so your bathroom looks good all year. We made these for my students with disabilities. they were so happy that they didn't need any help. I hope this will help you out. I have more ideas we use. e-mail me for more. worrellnorma AT ymail.com Most our projects are cheap cause we as staff buy the supplies.

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December 23, 2008 Flag

My mother is legally blind and handicapped with a left arm she is unable to use and a right arm and hand that will work but on a limited basis. She has been active all of her life and now sits in a nursing home where she is bored and wants something to do so that she feels like she is accomplishing something. I have gotten her books on tape which have helped but I would appreciate any ideas you can suggest. Thank you.

Christine

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January 5, 20090 found this helpful
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I would contact an organization for the blind. There must be some sort of governmental agency that covers that condition. Maybe you can have a blind person come to show your mom how to crochet or knit by feel.

Oh, I went back and read that your mom cannot use her one arm at all. I'd try to find a way for her to do things she always loved. Was it gardening? Was it cooking? Can she teach someone else how to do something? I think we feel best about ourselves when we are helping others to do something. Try something that will make her not feel useless. She sounds like she is similar to myself. I do not like crafts or busywork. I like to do things that make money or help others.

Her mind is good. Ask for her ideas. There is no one formula that will fit each person as in a nursing home. (This part is for people working in homes.) Each person is an individual and you cant find one idea to fit everyone. One size does NOT fit all. As a former teacher, I would say eash elderly person has the same rights as anyone else and that is to be treated individually. Your plan has to be catered to each person just like a teacher has to meet the pupil where the student is in his/her formation. You have to find the person who lives inside that elderly body and further develop its potential. Its NOT used up. Elderly people need to learn new things. That is good for the brain and its good for keeping us young.

I studied nursing home administration in graduate school. When I read what those of you who work in nursing homes have written, I feel as if you want a quick and easy way for YOU to accomplish your goals. But that will not be the case. YOU will need to do the work of finding what motivateds each individual person in your care. You will need to get to know them as people.

Warm regards and good luck to all. I care.

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January 8, 20090 found this helpful
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I work in a retirement community in Vancouver WA as a kitchen assistant but I am slowly working my way up the ranks and this is a very interesting topic for me. Our activities director is kind of stuck in a rut and our residents end up doing the same kind of things every week. So these ideas are wonderful!

I know how difficult it can be for someone who was active their whole life to be confined to a room with nothing to do so my suggestions are as follows.

Firstly consider the kinds of things she liked to do before her accident and see if there's any way you can modify or simplify them. Such as gardening. Get her some dwarf fruit trees that she can plant in a pot and water and tend to with her one hand.

Help her find a buddy. Someone whose mind might be going but are still physically ok is PERFECT. They can help each other a lot. The mind and the body. Don't force it but help her make friend if you can.

Encourage her to get involved in whats going on where she lives. Even if she cant make her bed or wash dishes she can still voice her opinions and be an active human being.

Ask her what she misses doing and see if you can come up with a creative solution for her to continue doing it! If she gives you things she'd like to do but you cant think of any solutions I'd LOVE to help so just email me! Floyd0841 AT Yahoo.com <3 Meghan

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December 30, 20090 found this helpful
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I have been and Activity Director for the past 5 years. Here are some activities you could have you mother do and with others even if they aren't blind. Place several different items in a bag. Blindfold the resident taking the turn, have them to pull out one item at a time and try to identify it by touch. Keep track of how many they get right and separate the ones they didn't get, then take the blindfold off and let them see the wrong ones. Add or subtract items for the next person. Another is to get a couple of bags of cotton balls.

Open the bag and place on a table. Using a spaghetti spoon or large spoon, a large bowl or bucket, blindfold the person and see how many cotton balls they can get in the bucket. These games they don't have to see nor have use of both arms, and everyone is on equal terms. Something else I do, I have a large bulletin board that I post pictures of the resident on. I use scene setters for different occasions/holidays and take pictures of each resident, they love seeing them on the board, and so does the family. Add to their look, ex: using a western theme, put a cowboy hat & bandanna on the resident.

Usually there is a holiday each month of some kind, but if not come up with your own, Western Day, feed them barbecue and beans, Luau Day, Fun in the Sun- take a small patio umbrella, a camp chair, some beach towels, beach balls, cooler, summer hats set up a beach scene, give them snow cones. If you are half way decent with a camera, make your own glamour shots. Best done on day the beauty shop is open and the ladies just had there hair done.

I bought 6 different pieces of material 1 1/2 yards each. Put them around them like Sr. picture back in the 60's and 70's were done, make-up and add some jewelry, find good back drop, I use all kinds of plants, and you got it.

Have fun with it. Tell the resident " Come I want you to do this with/for me" and 99% of the time they will. If you ask them if they want to 99% of the time they will say no.

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July 28, 2014 Flag

My mother has macqular degeneration, problems with incontinence, dementia, and cannot walk well. Any suggestions to stimulate her mentally and physically would be greatly appreciated. She is 93 years old.

By cpw2002

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July 29, 20140 found this helpful
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When I visited my mother-in-law in the nursing home, I saw that those with multiple problems like your mom, who might not be able to enjoy bingo or crafts, really responded to music, especially live music - people playing old time tunes and dance music. There was a whole group that came to the home to play, sing, and dance old time dances. If that seems like something that you can't attend or arrange, perhaps one person singing and playing the guitar would be good.

Also, if one has been a church goer all her life, the ceremony of a regular church services is often comforting, even if dementia makes it problematic that the sermon is being followed.

I also know that people came regularly to read aloud to those in the dementia unit. I am quite sure that many didn't follow the story, although you never know, but the sound of the human voice seemed to be appreciated. This is by far the easiest thing to arrange, as you could read to your mother at your home, or at her nursing home, or wherever she is.

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July 29, 20140 found this helpful

Would this be of any use? http://www.acti … -muff-comforters

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July 30, 20140 found this helpful

You can rent books on CD's from the library-if she likes listening to them get her a simple CD player. Also, remember pets - see if the home she's in allow visits from dogs & cats. Elderly people love petting them. You can pay to have a Caregiver stop by and take her for a walk or ride in her wheel chair, polish her nails, brush her hair etc. You can find them on the web and from hospitals & elderly departments in the town you live in.

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September 30, 2008 Flag

I am looking for activities for the elderly and disabled.

Gillian from Scotland, U.K.

Answers:

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

My mother led a senior citizen craft program for years & she found out that the participants liked to be able to make easy crafts as gifts - for their families and grandchildren. A lot of them has needlework skills - so for example, embroidering on plastic lattice that cold be made into things like eyeglass cases - or even napkin holders - or Xmas ornaments were very popular. I would also recommend decoupage - and any crafts using recycled materials. (02/16/2007)

By pamphyila

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

Take them to a local farm to feed horses carrots. Just stop at a local farm to ask or call and ask. You will find they dont mind at all in most cases. Also some may have pigs they can feed thru a fence also. Animals are a wonderful way to make people of all ages feel good to be alive. Or, take them to the zoo with the senior discount and let them ride the zoo bus to avoid all the walking. Yes, crafts are good too. Or also you can invite a local high school or junior high school choir to visit and give them a concert. :) (02/16/2007)

By Lily 59

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

My son made a gift for my mom she likes to use every once in a while, it's a board with three pegs on it, and three rope circles, and its a homemade toss game, she loves it and thinks of him when she uses it.
(02/16/2007)

By shauna

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I downloaded old songs (to us) from when they were younger and had a sing-in with them. I remembered some of the words from hearing my mom play records when I was a kid. They loved it! One lady who had not talked for a long long time sang some of the words to a song. It brought tears to all of our eyes! Music is good for uplifting your spirits. (02/16/2007)

By themuffster

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

Playing with play dough is nice. Good exersize for the hands. Some of the toys that we played with as kids are great. An etch a scetch, slinky, puzzles, simple board games, and read along books on tape. I used to work with disabled children. They loved all these things. (02/17/2007)

By sandy63

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

i think once a week it would be nice to go to an elderly home or a person's home that is in-bound. Visiting for about 2 hours just talking is great. You'd either remenise on how things use to be or learn about them and compare. Anyway I do this and have enjoyed it and learned for 3 years. (02/18/2007)

By LRP

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I design crafts for the elderly and I have some advice which is true no matter what you're doing. Make your colors bright. Make pieces big enough so your friend can handle them easily. Most of my folks can't manage anything smaller than 1/2 inch across.

Don't stay for three hours: It puts too much on your friend. Keep your visit to about an hour, and then let your friend have a nap, a snack, her lunch...
If you are doing handwork or crafts, make sure there is enough light focused right on the work! Most people have no idea how much more light we need as we get older.

By all means, do sing-alongs and talk about "When you were first married" or "When Grampa worked in the store" because that has a truly positive effect on your friend. (02/20/2007)

By blind quilter

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I liked the ideas. I worked with elderly and found that they like to talk mainly about health and laugh. They also like sharing ideas about what to do when this or that happens regarding health. The seniors that I worked with like to visit other seniors. One of the biggest concerns was daily contact and next was food. (10/12/2007)

By nini

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I find the elderly like to make necklaces and bracelets with beads. The beads need to have fairly large holes in them. I use hat elastic as it is fairly firm and easy to poke through the holes. even a blind resident can do this. I tape sticky tape to the end so that they don't all run off the end. they usually give them to me to tie the ends together. They like to make the necklaces for their grandchildren or sometimes we make them for the annual fair to put on the craft stall. (01/12/2008)

By sue

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

Most elderly residents are capable of using a brush to cover a sheet of card with coloured paint, cut the painted card into strips and laminate. The resulting bookmarks are a quick and easy way to boost self esteem. They look good, are useful and can be personalised.
(03/10/2008)

By Valerie

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I work as an activities coordinator and one group activity my clients enjoy is to simply throw a beach ball to each other. They say the name of the person and a letter of the alphabet. The person who catches the ball either says a verse, sings a snippet of a song or tells a reminiscence story relating to the letter. (03/24/2008)

By claire

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I have some activities aids at http://www.inspiritbuxton.com You may find useful. (04/12/2008)

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I am a disabled person living in Council Bluffs, Iowa and would like to know of activities in this area for me to do. Please respond with any feedback. I would greatly appreciate it. (08/13/2008)

By Mark Cutler

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I really need specific ideas for activities for the elderly. I am an activity assistant trying to branch out on my own. If you can help me I would very much appreciate it. Thank you email me at rwalker0012 AT kctcs.edu
(09/05/2008)

By rachel

Activities for the Elderly and Disabled

I am the Activity Director in a long term care facility and have excavated ideas using the internet creating a positive way of integrating new ideas in my programs. My residents love innovation using conversation and memory stimulating techniques for lower functioning. Other residents love live music programs from vendors in the community. Have a Birthday Bash once a month to celebrate with cake, ice cream and balloons, they love it! We have coffee and word games every morning at 10:00 which gives them socialization with others and stimulates mind function. (09/09/2008)

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February 9, 2010 Flag

I am looking for directions or patterns for sewing for elderly shut-ins. Such things as bags for walkers and wheelchairs. Also, lap robes or anything else you might think would be useful to them. I would appreciate your imput.

Judy from Birmingham, AL

Answers:

Craft Ideas for Elderly Shut-ins

Hi You should try http://www.craftbits.com they have a therapy disabled crafts section for elderly people.

good luck (07/21/2006)

By Trisha

Craft Ideas for Elderly Shut-ins

Dear Judy, Go to this link and download for free this computer software. It gives you all kinds of patterns for bags, shawls, hats, and slippers that are super for anyone. The link is: http://www.wildginger.com/products/wildthings.htm
I've used their software for sewing my daughter's wedding dress and I can tell you, It's a life saver! Hope this helps! CaseyT6 (07/26/2006)

By CaseyT6

Craft Ideas for Elderly Shut-ins

This is more like an aid rather than a craft. If your elderly friend or family want to garden but the seeds are too small for them to see or pick up, the seed can be rolled into a more handy sized ball in dryer lint with a little glue and allowed to dry. Then they still can participate in the beloved gardening but with less eye strain or pain.

If that isn't enough - there was a post awhile back about using strips of toilet paper that seeds are glued onto with a dot of glue spaced as directions suggest and laid in the ground and covered ! That would make for a LOT less bending !
(07/19/2007)

By melody_yesterday

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December 23, 2008 Flag
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Entertainment AdviceMarch 4, 2013
Guides
Seniors participating in a stretching class
Activities for a Deaf and Blind Person
Senior man weaving a basket
Activities for an Assisted Living Facility
Man with grey beard painting on an easel
Activities for Middle Aged Nursing Home Residents
Elderly Woman doing needle work
Craft Ideas for Nursing Home Patients
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