Great ideas for Activities in Nursing Homes
Social participation in aged care homes is strongly connected to good health and well-being. Taking part in social, leisure and cultural activities in the community allows older people to continue to exercise their hobbies, maintain their sense of identity and establish supportive relationships.
By hosting activities that encourage personal development and social engagement you can limit functional decline, helping elderly residents to maintain their independence as well as promoting their inclusion and contribution to community life within the aged care home.
Planning activities with residents can be a bit of a challenge. You may also have to consider accessibility issues if a number of residents can’t get around easily on their own and it’s not always easy to find activities that appeal to everyone.
ConnectAbility Australia wants to make sure these challenges are easily met. There’s no reason why activities with residents can’t be enjoyable for all concerned. We are here to help you to maintain a happy and healthy aged care home with some ideas for activities to keep residents entertained.
A gardening club can be a fun way to get aged care residents physically active and motivate members of the facility to work together on a collective project while meeting regularly to appreciate the flowers they have grown and socialise with other gardening enthusiasts.
Whether residents are encouraged to simply sit outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, or get involved with activities such as planting, digging and cleaning, spending time in the garden can be extremely beneficial for them.
The idea behind forming a Men’s Shed is to develop a community space for men to connect, converse and create. By establishing a Men’s Shed at your aged care home you can provide a safe and social environment where men can keep busy while developing bonds.
Research has shown that men are less likely to socialise with their peers as they get older. For men, good mental and physical health is established by being productive, contributing to the community, engaging with friends and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Men’s Sheds can provide residents with an environment to learn new skills or develop existing woodworking skills with support from coordinators and experienced woodworking professionals. Those with limited mobility can also attend the Men’s Shed to socialise and offer advice.
Putting together a simple picnic of cookies, sandwiches or a selection of fruits is an easy way to get residents outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and exercise.
If your aged care home does not have a suitable outdoor area, taking a short trip to a nearby park is also an option. You should choose a picnic spot that is easy to get around for those with limited mobility and has rest areas so that residents can take a break if they get tired along the way.
Don’t forget to keep residents hydrated with water, juice or iced tea.
Exercise is essential for boosting mood, improving strength and making residents generally happier.
Seated yoga is an excellent activity for increasing flexibility and relaxing the mind. If your aged care residents aren’t particularly mobile, there are adapted yoga poses that can be done from the comfort of a chair.
You should have a meeting with the trained yoga teacher who will be holding the classes before the initial session to ensure the poses are suitable for everyone.
Many people in aged care homes benefit from the therapeutic effects of touch and an afternoon of pampering is a great way for them to unwind.
Receiving a hand or facial massage with a gentle lotion can be extremely relaxing and is usually particularly popular with female residents, although men can also enjoy the experience. A professional nail technician can also be booked to come in and offer manicure and pedicure services.
Reading books is a great way to improve cognitive ability and keep the brain sharp in later years.
Many aged care homes that offer book clubs as part of their social programs see a positive impact on residents’ mental and emotional health. They also offer the perfect foundation for making friendships within the aged care home by exchanging opinions on the book they have been reading in a relaxed setting.
For those with poor eyesight, audiobooks can allow members to enjoy the same stories by simply listening, enabling them to also participate as an active member of the book club.
Whether it is an art exhibition, craft workshop, farmers market or a new musical release, when there is an event happening in the area, most aged care residents will want to get out and see the action.
Seniors can also find enjoyment in leisurely entertainment activities such as watching a movie at the cinema or attending a sporting event.
Before you go…
If you are planning a day out with your aged care home residents you should keep in mind that many people can find it stressful boarding a bus and sitting still on an extended journey. For anyone living with age-related disabilities, this can prove difficult to manage. But there are certain measures you can take to keep people occupied during the journey to help make the day out that bit more special.
For the start of the journey, music can get residents singing and enjoying the excursion. If your residents prefer a more peaceful time, compact games, such as cards, are easy to carry and will occupy passengers along the way.
Staff should ensure full accessibility before the trip including checking to make sure mobility parking spaces are available outside, the building has wheelchair access and there are adequate seating and toilet facilities.
Whatever activity you choose to do, working together with the aged care residents regarding their interests is an important factor to ensure their activities are planned in a way that meets their needs and is an enjoyable experience for everyone.