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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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Elderly Woman Walking with Daughter
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April 2, 2012 Flag
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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 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 22, 20160 found this helpful
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A small pet can provide a lot of comfort and entertainment for an elderly person. How about adopting an adult cat who is known to be cuddly wih people? A cat over 8 years would be a good choice, and with proper care, a healthy 8-yr-old cat should live another 4 to 8 years.

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July 26, 2015 Flag
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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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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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April 8, 20161 found this helpful
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Group activities that involve listening are really good. I took part in a reading aloud group for about a year, where I would read a poem or short story aloud and we would discuss it afterwards. That was really good as quite often the stories would remind them of a story from their past, some were pretty funny! I did it as part of The Reader project http://www.thereader.org.uk/

I also like listening to podcasts with my nan, which could work well for groups too. Instead of sticking headphones in you just need to play it aloud, or hook your device up to a speaker. There's a great mix of podcasts out there, my nan likes a scary story so we listen to the No Sleep podcast http://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/ but there are also some more ideas here http://www.ageukmobility.co.uk/mobi ... /article/beginners-guide-to-podcasts it's nice listening to podcasts with other people

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December 23, 2008 Flag
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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 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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February 1, 20100 found this helpful
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My Mom is blind also from strokes. She cross-stitched and can not anymore. She has made some 50 blankets since blinded in 2 years. They are tie blankets or no sew. I buy and cut and pin the pieces together then she takes the pin out and ties them she has made these for family and friends.

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July 28, 2014 Flag
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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.activitiestoshare.co.uk/p/1/twiddle-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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June 14, 2016 Flag
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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

June 13, 2016 Flag
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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.

Senior man weaving a basket

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