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Craft Ideas for Nursing Home Patients

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Finding crafts that nursing home patients will enjoy making can be a daunting task. This is a guide about craft ideas for nursing home patients.
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By 9 found this helpful
February 9, 2010

There are so many small craft projects, with assistance that the elderly, handicapped and disabled can do! My most important suggestion is not to involve them in a lengthy project, but one they can accomplish in a short time frame.

Here are a few ideas, but use your imagination as there are a lot of brilliant members on Thrifty Fun!

I guarantee these projects will be a hit and very rewarding, both ways! Their motor skills and abilities may be impaired but, with your help, the possibilities are limitless! Please add your own creative ideas to this! Thank you!

By Missy MM from OH

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June 27, 20120 found this helpful
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I like these ideas and I intend trying them with the special Needs group I help at. A couple of weeks ago we had a "pottery painting evening". I cast models using rubber moulds and plaster of paris. We had dogs, cats, owls, (soccer) footballers, (British) policemen, lions, rabbits and crinoline ladies. It was an eye-opener seeing what colours the members chose for their models, bright purple and pink cats, orange dogs, a two colour crinoline lady! But they were thrilled, they had done it themselves and they each had a souvenir to take home wrapped in kitchen towel!

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By 1 found this helpful
March 2, 2011

Make hoops of color hung on fish line in groups by the craft room, in the windows like stained glass windows, or in the hallway to the day room.

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Approximate Time: two sessions about 30 minutes each or as long as it takes.

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Show a finished hoop to your group or the individual. Hang one in the window of the day room or art room before you start.

  2. Stretch synthetic or silk in the hoop. Let the resident(s) help you. Trim edges to one inch and again later when done.

  3. Give your group sponges and water bowls. Let them handle the sponges.

  4. Talk about what colors they like and suggest a theme (sky, rivers, forest, mountains, etc.)

  5. Use little cups of diluted colors for project, but use only one at a time near the artist.

  6. Guide success. In my picture, a river ran across the hoop. We used several blues. We had juice while the river dried and then we decided what to add. We added sky and clouds (more blue and some white on top). (new sponge) We added trees along the river.

  7. The next day we talked about the painting and everyone wanted fish and birds. I had brought in pictures of ponds from a computer and cards (copied) for another project. We got them and the group of ladies now involved in this (8) decided what to add and where to put them.

I left the hoop at the nursing home when it was to be sold and my job eliminated. Best job I ever had. This is just a suggestion. I never thought to make photos of our projects because I loved my job and had no idea the job would end.

By Barbara from Ewing, NJ

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April 23, 20130 found this helpful
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Sorry about the loss of job, sounds like you were in your element.

I really had to read this through to get some idea of what you were describing, (not easy writing tutorials for sure), but once I did understand, I can see where this would have been a great group project.

These might also be very nice done as fabric art, using extra fabrics, textures etc. (using a good fabric glue) to hang on a wall vs using paints or dyes to hang in a window.

I'm sure the completed hoop-art piece was beautiful.

Wishing you well in your continued career...sounds like you should stay in the physio or occupational therapy business.

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June 20, 20160 found this helpful

Elderly woman stringing beads

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This is a guide about crafts for visually impaired nursing home patients. Visual impairment can affect the type of crafts a person can do enjoyably and successfully.

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October 28, 2013

Van Gogh Flowers

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Looking for craft ideas to engage retirement home residents. Here are a few suggestions to engage them in conversation whilst doing crafts.

Questions

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.

By 4 found this helpful
August 16, 2008

I work at a nursing home as an activities director. I need ideas for new and exciting things I can do with them. Please keep in mind, that not many of them can do anything. Many only have the use of one hand.

I would also like to beg you to get involved in your local home. Many of them don't get visitors and could use friends. If you call ahead, most places will have someone able and ready to go for an ice cream or even church on Sundays. You can help simply by grabbing your pet and/or a book (I like the Chicken Soup books) and just go read to them, or hold a hand, you won't be sorry.

April from Buffalo, NY

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 21, 20090 found this helpful
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Make a mood chart. This is good for those who cannot communicate well. Can be made from felt or something that can have velcro attached to make it stick and removeable.

Make faces happy, sad, confused etc and head the chart I AM FEELING. The resident can help make the chart and this is a form of communication. So may times each day a resident is asked 'how are you feeling' Now they can tell you.

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July 25, 20091 found this helpful
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I volunteer at a local nursing home and do crafts several times a month.

Ideas that have worked well:

Rubber stamping -- I ink the stamps and place them on the paper where the resident wants it. The resident pushes down on the stamp to make the imprint. Most residents have the strength to push down on the stamp. We have made pictures and greeting cards from the stamps.

Stickers -- we have made pictures and cards using stickers. The helper removes the sticker from the sticker sheet and the resident places it where she wants.

Last week we made foam door hangers for the residents' rooms. The kits had self-adhesive letters and stamps. I brought my digital camera and printer to the nursing home and took pictures of the residents which they added to the foam hanger. I bought the kits from the Oriental Trading Company craft catalogue -- about $5 for a set of 12.

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March 6, 20052 found this helpful

I am looking for an Easter craft for girl scouts to do for nursing home residents. Any help would be appreciated.
-Penny

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 12, 20080 found this helpful
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My Venture Crew went to the local nursing home last year when I really felt a tug on my heart to hold an Easter service in addition to our usual Christmas service there. Our first year we got the pastel colored Construction paper (cutting it into an egg shape pattern we found online) and used the foam stickers and regular stickers in addition to crayons, markers, and glitter glue pens and gave each person their own Egg to decorate. The majority of the patients loved it. I think it went well.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 12, 20081 found this helpful
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I am the activities director at a memorial home and last year a group of cub scouts made our residents sun catcher crosses. Just use clear contact paper and colorful tissue. Cut the crosses out of white paper and stick to the contact paper and then fill in the space with the tissue paper. Our residents loved them.

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By 1 found this helpful
May 14, 2009

I am looking for some easy and cheap crafty ideas for Father's day for disabled, elderly residents at an independent living facility.

By katskits from Bowling Green, KY

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Anonymous
May 14, 20090 found this helpful
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Make a checker board and checkers. Instead of using a pizza box for the checker board as per the instructions, you could have them use whatever you can think of like cardboard or foam core.

http://home.how  onal-games12.htm

Another suggestion is those little 6-packs of plants, some potting soil, spoons to dip the soil, some cheap little plastic pots. Have them transplant a plant into a pot. Tell them to water as soon as they get them home. They can keep their plants in a window. If this isn't 'crafty' enough, they could paint designs on the rim of the pot, but not the pot itself so they will be able to carry it home without having to touch the paint.

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May 25, 20090 found this helpful
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Is this for the seniors to make? Or as gifts to give them? If it is for gifts for them, I would suggest getting some fabric and making small "pouches" for eyeglasses, remotes, etc. I made one for my grandfather from some denim. 3 feet long by 1 foot wide. Put right sides together. Fold over about 1/3, so you have a pouch with one longer side. Sew up the two sides of the pouch. Flip right side out. Tuck the long end under the sofa cushion? Under the mattress? Under their bottom on their wheel chair? Wherever, holds those things that are always getting put down and misplaced. He kept his glasses, remotes, and cordless phone in his...you can make hems, decorate, etc..or leave them really simple. If not hemming, use pinking shears to cut the edges and use non-raveling material.

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By 1 found this helpful
June 2, 2012

I am starting my summer clinicals shortly with elders from a local retirement home. I will have a mix of men and women with varying degrees of ability. Anyone have any ideas for "therapy inspired" craft projects? I need something different. The elderly at the retirement home get to see groups like us every semester. I want to really engage them cognitively, socially, and physically (fine motor mostly). But here is the kicker - it MUST be fun! I don't want to bore them with "oh, this again".

By KisanOTA from Appleton, WI

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June 4, 20120 found this helpful
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You could have them make "fascinators". They are the pretty little "hats" that are so popular now. Check them out on line...a lot of the British royal family started wearing them and now a lot of people make them and wear them. They are just a piece of netting with hand made flowers or bows (or use your imagination) glued or sewn on to them.

For the ladies: glue or sew a small hair clip to the back, so they can wear it in their hair. For the men, glue or sew a safety pin on the back, so they can wear it as a "boutinere". (Sorry about the spelling!!) Then they can make fancy finger sandwiches and dainties and cold lemonade and have a garden party (which can be indoors or out). Have them make simple decorations: table centerpieces, paper flowers, etc. and play some soft background music.

This could be a "progressive craft" that would take a few sessions to put everything together, with the garden party as a fun goal to look forward to.

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Anonymous
May 23, 20160 found this helpful

My aunt told me of a craft they made and use it for their physical motor skills. A small open box abt 6x6 or so. Put some clip clothes pins inside and they can clip them around the box edge for their hand exercise.

CJ at Luverne,MN

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January 8, 20121 found this helpful

I am looking for some simple craft ideas for colorful Bedford bendable ribbon. I bought it at a garage sale so have no patterns or ideas.

I have 1/8, 1/4, 3/4, and 1 inch wide metallic bendable ribbon in red, white, pink, blue, and green. I want to use it for a craft project for my resident's in a nursing home. I need simple and easy ideas for a fun project. Can anyone help me?

By Karen K.

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Anonymous
November 9, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi. I bought a magazine from a garage sale with an idea using the bendable ribbon, but I'm having trouble finding the ribbon. One of the easy ideas is to take 18 inches of 1/4" red and 18 inches of 1/4" silver (or white) and wrap them diagonally around a pencil. Bend them into a candy cane shape, then use 9 inches of 1/4" green to make a bow and attach it.

Another idea is to make a wreath using a 24 inch piece of the 3/4" green ribbon. Wrap it around a pencil to make a spiral, then grab each end and turn one clockwise while turning the other counter-clockwise to make a larger spiral. Make a small cut 1/2way through each end, then interlock them to form a circle. Make a bow using the red ribbon and attach it to the wreath.

Both ideas look really easy and really cute to use as an ornament or just a decoration. Hope this helps and is easy to understand :)

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By 3 found this helpful
April 19, 2011

Can anyone help me with clay pot crafts or any other easy craft ideas for a nursing home residents' craft day.

By MargieT from Australia

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April 20, 20110 found this helpful

Paint the pots black and look up the Chinese version of love, patience, kindness, peace etc and let them etch the word into the clay pot with the English version as well. I have tons of ideas but at the moment I am busy. I'll be back or contact you directly with some ideas.

Gem

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April 20, 20110 found this helpful

You could try getting some small branches, styrofoam & eggs with ribbon or string hangers. Hang eggs on it. Or paint it & plant some herbs or flowers in it in a sunny window. Go on FaveCrafts.com, they have tons of crafts for everything! Literally! Hope this helps. Happy Easter! Karen :D

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December 30, 20140 found this helpful

I need a January craft to make decorations for the inside doors at a nursing home.

By Kim

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January 1, 20150 found this helpful
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Since we get most of our snow in January I do a snowman theme. This year I did a board saying Let it snow with tiny punched snowflakes from glittery looking bags I got at the dollar tree and snowman figures. The background is red and it makes the snowflakes stand out. I think it looks great. My craft projects will be snowmen. Hope this helps some.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 2, 2007

I work volunteer hours working an assisted living home trying to earn my silver award for Girl Scouts. We do crafts every other week or so and we do a craft usually for each holiday. We have done a Halloween craft but now I need ideas for a Thanksgiving craft that the residents could hang on their door. These crafts need to be not very complicated and not use expensive supplies. These people's hands are shaky and have trouble with gluing many parts together. They love to paint (they use the foam brushes for sponge painting) so painting is okay.

Kim from CA

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November 2, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

my grandsons class made the cutest wreath. they took a thin white paper plate and cut out the inside circle which left a round circle about 3-4 wide to use as the wreaths base for building.Then they cut out the same shape of a maple leaf using construction paper in fall colors like red, orange, yellow green, and glued those on in a clockwise circle slightly over lapping each leaf on the one before it until the wreath was full one layer around. Then a ribbon piece tied into a bow was attached (the wide 2 inch wire tulle ribbon0 it was attached to the top with glue. simple yet so pretty. It can hang anywhere because the inside circle was open. Hang on there doors, bedpost, in the window. Even add a picture of the person on the wreath.

Supplies used were:

1 white thin cheap paper plate

various colors of paper construction paper

elmers glue or glue stick

scissors

wire tulle ribbon

you could even cut out the leafs prior to the day of fun for them.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 6, 20070 found this helpful

Try felt and double sided carpet tape, with felt you can make turkeys or wreaths, or my kids made a christmas tree out of felt added grommets to put lights thru and made orniments of felt with glitter and cequins and sticky velcro for the back, that was about 17 years ago and it's still holding up for the grandsons to decorate.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 26, 2010

I would like ideas (and pictures) of easy crafts using recycled items that nursing home residents would enjoy making.

By Sandi from Brookville, IN

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April 26, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi There,

I run craft classes at my local nursing home. Last week we did a class on Van Gogh, talked about his life and his 12 sunflowers painting. I painted a yellow vase on butchers paper then with green sticky tape made the stems and they glued their painted sunflowers onto them.

Recently we did a Mary Poppins activity with coloured pencils and talked about the book.

In the past we've made bubble wrap bunting with cardboard, paint and bubble wrap.

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February 4, 20110 found this helpful

There is one on this site for making a witch for Halloween out of a empty milk jug. Cute, also you can make a skeleton out of it too. Empty cans can be made into a tin man. Sorry no pictures, but have seen them.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 14, 2011

I am trying to find online craft ideas, with directions, for elderly people in a nursing home. I have found a few things on creatingtogetherjournal.com, but it only gave me two sample ideas because it is a craft magazine. I volunteer and don't have the money to buy a craft book. If anyone has suggestions, as to where online to find ideas, please respond. Thanks.

By Cora

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November 15, 20110 found this helpful

Two of my favorite sites are: www.craftbits.com and www.favecrafts.com

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful

Another good site in addition to the ones Patty Lynn posted is:

http://familycrafts.about.com/

I also use the sewing pages at about.com for free patterns.

The neat thing about all of the sites, the ones Patty Lynn posted, and the one I posted, is that you can sign up for free e-newsletters to your inbox-some are weekly and others are daily. I get several from the about.com site, and the favcraft one too-lots of great ideas!

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April 19, 20110 found this helpful

I volunteer at a local nursing home and do crafts with the residents a couple times a month. The residents enjoy the following crafts:

Rubber stamping: Myself or a helper ink the stamp for the individual and place it on the paper. The resident pushes it down to make the stamped image. Most of the residents are able to push on the stamps. We have used the stamps for pictures, and then colored them in using craft chalks and eyeshadow applicators), to make greeting cards.

They also enjoy making cards and pictures using stickers. The helper removes the sticker from the sticker sheet and the resident places it on the craft.

Last week we made foam door signs with the resident's pictures on them (I ordered these from the Oriental Trading Company craft catalog - about $5 for a set of 12). The craft kit included self-adhesive letters and shapes. I took my digital camera and printer to the nursing home and we put the photos on the door signs. The residents really liked them.

They also enjoy making jewelry using pony beads or large wooden beads.

My helpers are my son and his friends. The kids enjoy the crafts as much as the residents do, plus the residents enjoy seeing the kids.

By KimberlyJ from Redford, Michigan

Answers:

Nursing Home Crafts

In time you get back more than you give. Blessing will come to you for what you're doing for the residents, and it's giving me ideas. Thank you. (08/05/2009)

By tennesue

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July 27, 20090 found this helpful

I work in the activities department of a busy nursing home. It is a challenge finding craft ideas that are enjoyable to MEN. Any ideas? Bear in mind that these dear gentlemen have physical and/or mental limitations, so crafts must be fairly simple and safe to do under appropriate staff supervision.

Thank you in advance.

Deborah from Pomeroy, PA

Answers:

Nursing Home Crafts

Leather craft, making belts, wallets or even bookmarks. Macrame, painting is always good. I know it sounds weird but you could try scrapbooking, easy stuff, of things they like. Maybe first level model cars, I used them with my 6 year old. Clay or poly clay. Small container gardening. Check out www.crafster.org for lots of different ideas (01/13/2007)

By Designersheets

Nursing Home Crafts

How about puzzles with large 25 or 50 pieces and the glue to make it to hang; or acrylic paint by number, if there is such a thing (like oil painting). How about punch rugs? Ice cream stick things: (01/18/2007)

By eyelovecats

Nursing Home Crafts

I am a Activity Director and the men in the home of which I work loves to paint those wooden cars and trucks you can buy at Wal Mart. They can do this forever and it's good for social skills. they talk about the cars and what they need to look like.I also have a Men's Club where they can play checkers and cards and have coffee and as they say "grunt together", they love it! Good Luck and have fun (09/15/2008)

By Gail

Nursing Home Crafts

Give your local museum a call. They have boxes of "stuff" that you can collect and keep for a week. To date, we have had "wartime" glamour and glitz,in the kitchen (utensils, etc. from 1940's). It costs nothing and is really fun to browse through all the old things. They should also have books of old photographs from around your area .

Sponsor a donkey. Our "Molly" comes to see our residents about every 3 months all for a 10 pound donation.

Play Your Cards Right: Our ladies love this game and enjoy shouting out LOWER! HIGHER! Of course, you don't get anything for a pair (not in this game) .

Indoor bowls, you can make these from empty milk cartons with a bit of rice in the bottom.
Hope some of this is useful to you!
(09/19/2008)

By Christine - UK

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August 15, 20080 found this helpful

I have a mother-in-law that is in a nursing home and they need some physical craft ideas for the elderly to do. They don't want to leave the building, as they feel its safe inside. So, please if I could get some ideas to give to the young director who doesn't know what to do it would be great. She didn't ask for my help, but I want it for my Mother. Thank you

Marilyn from Belen, NM

Answers:

Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

Card fronts from used cards (Christmas, birthday, anniversary, etc.) can be cut off and remade into new cards using craft paper, construction paper, card stock, etc. (06/16/2008)

By Maryeileen

Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

Here are a few ideas for nursing home activities:

  • Fleece lap blankets. Cut edged of two fleece pieces about 4" deep and 1! wide around edges. Tie together with overhand knot.
  • Popsicle sticks from craft store: make square box with lid (bead for handle) or hexagonal baskets.
  • Body scrubs: nylon net strips cut about 3" wide. Sew down center in a basting stitch with heavy duty thread and pull to form ball.
  • Sing songs that require physical actions such as hokey pokey or did you ever see a lassie. The older people enjoy singing old songs. Can be done without music or use tape or CD if no pianist is available.
  • Large beads make into a bracelet or necklace.
  • Tossing beanbags or small soft balls into a basket and keeping track of points.
  • Catch with a soft ball
  • Kicking a large soft ball from one to another sitting in circle.

Hope this helps. Harriet (06/18/2008)

By Har'iet

Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

I go to the nursing home my mother manages quite frequently. We have a craft room where we have coffee and crafts. One craft they do is paint old light bulbs and seashells white. On the bulbs you can make a snowman face and hat and scarf. On the seashells you can paint a Santa Claus face on the middle to have a beard surrounding it.

You could also sew patches of material to make pillows. We have one lady who isn't interested in crafts but likes to join in. We have a big ball of multi-colored yarn and un-roll it and let her roll it back together. It is easy to do and like therapy. (06/18/2008)

By Lydia

Craft Ideas for Someone That Lives in a Nursing Home

Here is one idea: Using a clean soup can, make sure there is no sharp edge on inside, coat the outside with Elmer's glue or whatever work best for you. Take yarn, start at either end and wrap around can till covered. Can be used for pencil, pen holder. Different size cans can be used for assorted things, use your imagination. (06/18/2008)

By Linda

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June 16, 20080 found this helpful

There is a elderly lady we know who just moved from her cozy house here on the lake, to a nursing home. I love to do crafts and she loves getting gifts from me. Her place is small and she really misses her old house because she has lived there for over 30 years. Can anyone give me some ideas on what to make her?

Thanks,

Kristi

Answers:

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

Just a few ideas I have done in the past for folks:

Quilted lap robes, quilt for their bed, velcroed fabric carriers that hang on their walkers or wheelchairs to put stuff in. A fabric deal that is weighted and goes over the arm of the chair to hold TV remote. Quilted picture frames. A dog bone shaped neck pillow

Actually, I have taken my projects to show them what I have been working on and just visited them. If you have a pet or child take them along. Company is what they want the most to break up the day. If they are able have them do something to help you in your projects.

I make bags for missions at church and I have them insert the drawstrings. Also, make baby blankets for missions and they love to tie them. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. God bless. (12/27/2004)

By Aline

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

Would it be possible to make a terrarium look alike of the lake. Maybe using real and artificial plants. Maybe even use ground and small stones from her home. How about having her make a scrapbook? Or maybe makeup her own recipe cookbook to give out to her friends. (12/30/2004)

By Mr. Thrifty

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

Take a selection of cloth for her to choose from, making sure it's ok, then make her (or help her make for herself) switch plate covers - to give her room a more homey feeling than the institutionalized plain plasic ones. Such small things could be made personable to make a HUGE difference to what someone feels of where they have to be. Thats one of the first things I always did when I moved into a new place was switch plate covers. That's strange I guess, but it was a small and very affordable change I could make quickly. (12/30/2004)

By melody_yesterday

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

This isn't necessarily a craft idea but a worker at a nursing home suggested that the thing nursing home patients need most is socks, sweatsuits(you might decorate one) tissues (make a tissue holder) and handkerchiefs. (04/06/2005)

By MamawKC

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

I have found working in the activity's dept. in a nursing home that a variety of things are enjoyable, however the one craft they ask for regularly is book making. we take 3 sheets of construction paper, cut them down the middle with holes along one side to "bind"the book with yarn, and just cut their fav. pics. from a magizine. (12/30/2005)

By

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

How about taking some pictures of the lake area where she lived and putting them into a scrap book for her? Or creating a folder for her to put her cards, photos, other mail into? I am an Activities Director in a nursing home, and my residents love things that are personal, decorative, yet have a real purpose. (05/13/2007)

By m.r.c.

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

I know it's been a long time since you posted, but I just found this site. How about taking pictures of her former home, and then printing them out on computer fabric. You could make a lap quilt using the fabric picture squares and additional fabrics, then maybe line it with a fleece type fabric for the coziness factor. Also, you could make a plain lapquilt and embroider a cross or scripture on it. (11/27/2007)

By Marlene

Craft Ideas For Someone That Lives In A Nursing Home

Crepe paper flowers are a great activity for nursing homes. Patterns range from the simple to the complex. Materials are inexpensive and not hard to find. The flowers are pretty when finished. And they bring back great memories. (05/13/2008)

By Nicki

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