Ideas for Activities at a Rehabilitation Facility

I am a activity director for a rehabilitation facility, so they pretty much come here to get better and then go home. I have a hard time getting residents into activities. The only thing some residents enjoy doing is just bingo and exercise.


We have have tried so many activities like a garden, arts and crafts, bowling, cooking class, we have a party once a week, and we even have a Wii, and they just don't feel like attending. I need a way to get their attention. I need new ideas! Anything would help. Thank you very much.

By Dee from Lodi, CA

August 31, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I am an activity director also from IN. I have had cases like this, try a scavenger hunt, or I got some disposable camera's and gave it to a lot of my residents to take pics. and they did their own scrap book. I hope that helps some.


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August 31, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Perhaps I misunderstand the meaning of "rehabilitation", but I thought a center for "Rehab" was exactly that. To me, rehabilitation is the act of getting over or past a severe illness or injury, including surgery of some type.

I really don't think these people care to do much of anything as a "group", but I liked the idea that Anita suggested. Give each "patient" a fully loaded disposable camera and let them take pictures. If possible, have them processed so that they can either be posted on a bulletin board at a central ocation at the center, or taken home for sharing.

Card games come to mind if they are so inclined, or maybe Checkers or Dominoes. How about Jigsaw puzzles which can be set up and left on a card table until they're finished. Anyone who feels up to working on it can do so whenever they feel like it.

Sometimes folks don't feel well enough to commit to anything which requires a schedule or commitment for any length of time at all. They'd prefer to just come and go as they please. I know I would.

I once was activities director for a Neighborly Center, and most of our people were elderly. They were into crochet and knitting, embroidering, some arts and crafts, but not much else.

Wishing you the best of luck.


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August 31, 20100 found this helpful

How about a potluck party? They could cook some of the items for the party. Can someone else bring refreshments, plates, etc.? If they are not physically disabled, maybe a game of Twister would be fun?

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September 1, 20100 found this helpful

Oh dear! PooKaRina, you're right again! We don't all want to be jollied along. I'd hate it.

Marg from England.

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful

How about playing music? Big Bands or 50's.

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful

I spent a couple of months in a residential rehab/long-term care facility. One of my fave activities to attend was called "Newsbreak." One of the Activities people would read excerpts from our local newspaper for the enjoyment of anyone who cared to gather. He or she would read the headline and take a vote whether the residents wanted to hear the entire article. He/she did the same with the obituaries.

Another activity I enjoyed was Vespers, although my facility didn't hold services every Sunday. Local ministers were invited to conduct the service, and those gathered usually sang a couple of hymns before the sermon (which could be provided in large print on request.)

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September 2, 20100 found this helpful

Oh, yes, I remember one other thing. A longtime resident turned 100 while I was there. She was permitted to choose the kind of cake and the music. It was her day, so she also got to do what she wanted during the party. Wish I could remember more. My head was still a little fuzzy then.

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Anonymous Flag
February 21, 20160 found this helpful

Everything you have mentioned sounds like fun. I think you are planning nice activities. Please don't take it personal.

As a 52 year old who was sent to a rehab facility from the hospital in excruciating pain and extremely weak I barely had enough energy to do the required physical therapy then I was exhausted and had to rest. Yes I would have loved to do any of those activities you mentioned but I did not feel well enough to do so. Keep in mind that now days they kick you out of the hospital to a rehab facility before your body is ready... so I am probably not the only patient who was literally just trying to survive and therefore unable to participate in fun activities like you had planned.

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June 8, 20160 found this helpful

What about offering classes like computer classes, basic Spanish, or a regional cooking class? Since these are useful skills they might be more interesting than crafts and such. Local businesses may be willing to donate old computers.

Book Clubs are pretty popular. A lot of people like to read and share their opinions - plus it's a good way for people to get to know each other.

I'm doing a BINGO activity with some exercise classes I teach with a little challenge for them to complete in each box. Some activities are functional, but some are silly - like wear mismatched socks or take a selfie with someone else. For every BINGO they get their name is entered in a drawing for a gift bag (my budget is $30) and everyone that gets a blackout gets a small prize. My youngest and oldest participants are the most involved, they love the competition.

We also do a spirit week with different themes each day. We take a picture everyone that participated that day and post the pictures in the entry.

The local Elks does an "American Idol" type Karaoke competition with judges that is really popular. A Talent Show where people can share their skills would be fun too, especially if the staff participate.

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