I am starting up several activity sessions in an elderly people's care home. I am looking for ideas for crafts and different activities. We have residents of all different abilities. Can anyone suggest any ideas?
By Diane White from England
My mom was in an Alzheimer's unit until she passed last August. They would play ball, bouncing it to one another. It helped with coordination. They would color pictures, and make and bake cookies. The lady in charge of crafts would paint the ladies fingernails; they loved it. They bought a small basketball
net and basketball and they loved playing ball together. I guess it reminded them of being young. We put together a yard sale in the unit. Everyone helped out and the families of the residents donated and when it was over we gave to every one what was left. The money that was raised was used to buy supplies. We had a piano and someone would play and everyone would sing. We would get church bands to come in and play. Youth choirs would come sing. We had fish fries; they really they loved it.
One of the residents sons would BBQ some pork and chicken and we would make slaw and French fries and hush puppies. We had a great time. They would play dress up in different clothes and get their pictures taken and put on a bulletin board where everyone could see them. We had a beauty contest and a mock wedding. They loved bingo and it kept their minds sharp. Real prizes were given away. I guess when you are older you like to do the same things as everyone else except you like it a little closer to home so you don't have to travel and you like it in the daytime because you get sleepy early. Hope this helps. (08/01/2009)
One more thing I left out. Parties, parties, parties. Everyone got to celebrate their birthdays with a party and hats. Have cake, ice cream and all kinds of snacks and presents, too. They would take a different country once a month and learn about it and even try to eat a sample of food from there.
I worked a facility like this and we had fun! Every Tuesday was Bingo Night and prizes were given.
They had craft and goodies sales in the home. Mostly family and workers bought things. They also got a parakeet and everyone had their day with it. Good luck! (08/01/2009)
I thought of something to add. Simple puzzles and card games can really be fun. I'd say get the elementary or even preschool-level puzzles, since the more advanced puzzle pieces might be too small to see or handle. Any card game would do, from regular 52-card decks for rummy, to Uno, Skip-bo, Old Maid, etc. Again, larger cards or large-print cards would probably be preferable. They are easier to see and handle. (08/02/2009)
I work in a nursing home and nail care is a great idea, but no one, but a CNA or nurse should be trimming diabetics nails.
If you have residents with Alzheimer's or dementia, they can sort beads into egg cartons it keeps their minds active, also I give them blank check books because many people will try to give people money or pay bills, as it's a habit they had all their lives. This keeps them from giving money to dishonest people who would take advantage. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this.
Current events are a great activity, remember that seniors vote more than any other demographic and do have an interest and opinion on political and current issues. Read the paper and ask questions. Encourage them to give opinions and talk.
There is a magazine called Remince(sp?) which we read every morning before breakfast. This allows them to recall the good old days, share stories, and make and keep friends within the facility. Also it is a learning experience for the staff member reading the magazine aloud to hear all their stories and better relate to your resident. This is a good activity with coffee and pastries.
A gardening club set aside an area outside accessible to residents with walkers and wheel chairs, let them design, plant, and care for a garden. Flowers are more popular with the female residents, vegetables are more popular among men. When blooming, residents can make flower arrangements, for church table settings or any reason you want really.
A monthly fiddlers or other musical activity with songs they grew up with. We had a sock hop with ice cream sundaes burgers think Happy Days. Compile music from the period to play in the back ground.
Have a monthly residents' society where they can give you ideas of things they would like to do also where they can make suggestions on food, service or other issues. A caregiver should not be in charge of this because it limits what residents may feel comfortable saying.
Have a weekly bridge, cribbage, rummy, or other game. For the men (men often get left out) a trip out to go fishing. (ask family to help) Plan a country drive if your facility has a van.
We play the Price is Right and wheelchair baseball.
Find out if any of your staff knows tai chi or modified yoga. If not ask an instructor to volunteer once a week or to teach your activities director, tai chi is an excellent activity for seniors. You might even try stretching or wheel chair exercise.
Balloon tennis can also be played from a chair. Or you could start a book club.
Animals are good for the health of your residents whether you have a facility pet or family and staff bring their dogs or cats in at a designated time to visit.
Many facilities use Nintendo wii for physical therapy, they can play the wii sports.
Have movie night at least once a week in the evening. Serve popcorn and put a movie on in a common area.
Another good idea is Bingo with prizes. Perhaps you could start a quilting circle. (quilts can be sold and proceeds go to the residents and activity dept.)
Invite local elementary schools to sing at Christmas also boy scouts are always happy to help.
Schedule an ice cream social.
Hold weekly bible studies for those interested, remember to respect personal beliefs.
Try a barbecue for holiday's or during the summer months.
If you have a local sports team or one that's close serve hot dogs or burgers and watch the game on TV encourage resident to wear their baseball caps. Kentucky Derby is great for making inventive hats to wear.
Have a red hat society for your ladies or a women's tea once a month with finger sandwiches and a selection of teas and juices, invite the public to increase interest in your facility and your census.
During holiday's decorate trees you can even invite the public and local businesses (businesses are best) and have a tree auction proceeds go to your activities dept. Each tree can have a theme and the residents can decorate. This does bring in money. We also have a pumpkin painting/carving contest. The pumpkins blank can be brought to local businesses with a date to return by, have a harvest or Halloween party and judge the pumpkins prizes for top three pumpkins.
Have an open house or tours one day week, many people think assisted and residential care is the same as nursing homes, an active facility is a full and healthy facility.
If you need more help send a message and I'd be glad to help. (08/23/2009)
As long as my last post was I have another to add we do Trivial Pursuit over the intercom activities. Drs or admin ask questions over the intercom and the 1st person with the right answer gets a prize. We do this all day one day a month. Also a weekly or daily riddle put out on the table at meals (keep scratch paper and pencils in the middle of the table with salt and pepper) leave an answer box by the dining room door that they can put their answers in or can give to staff. We award small prizes to correct answers. (08/23/2009)
Try scrap booking, I bought my residents disposable camera's and they went to town with it, they loved it.
Then they made their own scrap books and one for the facility.
I also had a lot of cooking demo's with different staff members.
If you have a kitchen, I also at one time did fried eggs Friday's that was a huge hit, and taco in a bag, for fund- raisers. (08/31/2010)
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