Activities for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Key to quality of life and strong contributor to culture change

An individualized, well thought out activities program is at the heart of a quality life for residents in nursing homes or assisted living residences. Activities are not just about bingo and watching television. In fact, activity programs can be quite creative and stimulating for the mind. And the health and well-being benefits of a good program are becoming more and more documented. In short, this stuff works.

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Senior man playing cards in nursing home
Portra Images/Taxi/Getty Images

Activities are an integral part of the cultural change movement and central to person-centered care. It is essential for resident quality of life. Nursing Home activities are governed by federal regulations called F-Tags. While Assisted Living activities are not as highly regulated, many facilities emulate the standards set for nursing homes. F-Tag 248 states that ”the facility must provide for an ongoing program of activities designed to meet, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment, the interests and the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.” The intent is that the facility identifies each resident's interests and needs and involves the resident in an ongoing program of activities that is designed to appeal to his or her interests and to enhance the resident's highest practicable level of physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

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Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images

Do you enjoy working with the elderly? Do you like a job that requires flexibility, ongoing learning, organization, communication skills, and openness to new experiences? Then a career as an activity professional may be for you! And if you are in the profession already, these articles can help you navigate your career successfully.

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http://0.tqn.com/d/assistedliving/1/G/c/4/-/-/busy-bee.jpg

One of the most difficult challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is the person’s withdraw from favorite activities. The Busy Bee Lap Pad might just help re-engage residents and/or loved ones.

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Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images

The power of music and what it does to bring back memories is undeniable. This hub of articles will show you innovative programs that you may want to emulate.

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Using Technology in Your Activity Programs

Linked Senior

Electronics have revolutionized the world of activity programming for independent, assisted living and long-term care facilities. Learn how to bring seniors along with the technology while uncovering some cool tools for your activity programs.

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Capturing Life Stories

Capturing your life story benefits all generations. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

There’s an old saying in journalism, “Everyone has a story.” Activity directors know this is true. But how do you draw out the fascinating tales of your residents’ lives in a way which preserves and shares this unique view of history? How do you help them to tell their life story?

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John Clutterbuck/Getty Images

Art projects for seniors can enhance their quality of life while helping them learn a new skill. Art appreciation also helps foster lifelong learning and mind stimulation.

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You don't need Wayne Brady or Monty Hall to play Let's Make a Deal with residents. Getty Images

Learn how to engage people who cannot or will not leave their room.

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Jacom Stephens/Getty Images

The largest number of newspaper readers in America are seniors with an average age of 70. While much of the news is bad, there is an area of good news that can be used to engage residents in current events. That is science! And using science for seniors as part of your activities program can help stimulate the brain and contribute to the resident's quality of life.

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Ceramics

A great activity for rehab patients too!. Michael Hitoshi/Getty Images

The activity director of an assisted living home serving long and short term care residents can often feel pulled in two directions. How do you provide regular activities residents look forward to while creating programs that entice rehab patients? Ceramics can be a fun activity for all ages. These classes give temporary residents a chance to come and participate for an hour or so, and can also be a starting point for an ongoing activity for long-term residents. And there you have a way to serve two populations in one program. To this end, ceramics is an ideal fit!

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Smells, taste, sounds and sites evoke memories and help elders relive cherished moments. Raymond Allbritton/Getty Images

Sight, smell, sounds, touch all invoke memories. An effective activities program that incorporates memory care can really add to the quality of life of elders and others who we encounter in aging services across the continuum of care.

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Memory Mats

Memory Mats

Memory Mats are table-mates that use personalized photos and words to evoke memories and start conversations.

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If they can't get to the carnival, bring the carnival to them. Henri Silberman/Getty Images

The smell of funnel cakes in the hallway, the sound of carousel music coming from the dining room and the unusual sight of a clown walking in the front door means one thing at Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Media, Penn -- it's carnival time! Proving that if residents are not able to get to the carnival you can bring the carnival to them.

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Pat Griffith

Chair Chi is an exercise program based on the principals of Tai Chi Chuan but designed for the elderly in retirement communities, assisted living, personal care homes, nursing homes and adult day centers.

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Keith Brofsky

The statistics tell the story. At the beginning of the 21st century, America has a population in which one in every eight residents, or 12.2 percent, are over 65. The reality is a majority of older Americans will spend at least a short term stay recovering and rehabbing from medical miracles such as hip, knee, and other joint replacements as well as serious medical conditions, ranging from a broken bone to a stroke. The challenge for activity directors: what do to with short term rehab residents? Here are some ideas.

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Three multi-ethnic senior men on bench talking
kali9/Getty Images

In most retirement communities women residents outnumber the men. It’s a fact of life for most activity directors but planning for men’s activities is also a must. In this article, we look at some ideas for successful men’s programming.

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Atria Senior Living

Nothing says home like the smell, sight, and taste of a familiar recipe. A recent report on National Public Radio found that Mom's comfort food evoked more of childhood than photos or favorite toys. Atria Senior Living has found a way to bring favorite memories to a wider audience through "A Dash and a Dollop," a cookbook of favorite recipes.

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Summer School for Seniors

Two senior women having fun painting in art class
kali9/Getty Images

Pine Run University is a summer school-like program that takes place during a down time in the regularly scheduled activities offering 30 classes in the summer including gardening, belly dancing, Italian, flower pressing, photography, art techniques, and ethics.

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Rekindling the Love of Reading

Shadowbox Press

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of opening the cover of a new book. Finding a comfortable spot and losing oneself in a page-turning mystery story, the beauty of photos of far off lands in a coffee table travel book and the fun of unusual escapades of cute kittens. Reading can temporarily remove everyday obstacles of work, noise and even pain and physical limitation. The magic of books is what Shadowbox Press brings to people living with dementia.

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