Activities For Seniors.

United States
March 31, 2008 2:50pm CST
Ok, I just got a new job in a residential home, I'm an activities director. It's not really the job I was hoping to get there but I'm making the best of it and really starting to enjoy it (I was kind of hoping to get hired in the kitchen or housekeeping). It's becoming a challenge to find interesting and fun things for them to do. It's a huge challenge because sadly most of them can't do anything. So I need ideas, anything you think would brighten their day will be so appreciated, as well as ideas for sensory stimulation, music stimulation, entertainment, cooking and baking, crafts etc.
4 people like this
4 responses
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I've worked in a few nursing and group homes over the years. I hope these ideas can help you. 1. Ice cream social. Have a get together where they can make their own sundaes or ice cream cones. Most seem to really like this. 2. Nail day: see about getting volunteers in to do their nails. This works for men and women. Most get very limited attention to nails and this can be a real treat for them. 3. Check with the local schools about "Adopt A Grandparent" programs. This is where the kids adopt one and write letters to them or visit. 4. Music/Dance night: play music for them and those that can let them dance. Most enjoy having that especially if the music is the type they know. 5. Do walks outside, for those that can have them take a trip around the facility. Even have a picnic if the weather allows it. I know some might not like this comment but think in many ways what you would do with 3rd or 4th graders. Activities that they can do, coloring, drawing, making paper chains. Things like this they can do and enjoy. They might be simple but when they are able to do things it brings them delight.
• United States
6 Apr 08
Thank you, thank you for your suggestions. You have given me a lot of ideas. Some of them we do. Their nails are pretty well taken care of there. Today I decided that what we need the most there is volunteers. Not enough people come to see them and help make their last days better. I can take them to activities all day but it's not the same to many as just sitting and visiting with them or even just holding a hand if they can't communicate. So now I'm off to try to get more people in the community to help. I'm hoping to make flyers and put them in all the churches and businesses in the area. I know everyone can do something. Just a half an hour once a week out of a persons day would mean so much! I love the adopt a grandparent idea, I don't think we do that. I'm planing to bring my grandchildren as often as possible. My mothering skills come in very handy at work so I don't see why my grandchildren can't come do a craft with us now or then. There is one family that comes in and I could cry when I see them. The couple bring their baby boy, 2 dogs, another son who is about 9 or 10 and a nephew that they are raising. I can't believe how great the two boys are with the residents. They know their names and go around visiting with everyone. I could write a lot more but I have to get working on those flyers.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
7 Apr 08
You're welcome I'm glad I could help. Something else to check with is the local pound, SPCA or humane society. Many of them have a program to bring animals in to nursing homes. Having dogs or cats come in can really bright up their day. It's love no one can buy. Also you can check into getting a pet for the facility, check with administration of course but I have seen some that have a cat, dog, birds or even fish. Good luck.
• United States
7 Apr 08
If you come clem I'll let you be president of the garden club.
1 person likes this
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
31 Mar 08
Here's a few suggestions off the top of my head: 1) Bingo: Most people enjoy it and most seniors can do it. Give out simple, cheap prizes to make it funner. 2) Singing: Find someone who can play piano and create a choir. 3) Movie Night: Serve popcorn and snacks and play older movies that seniors will remember and enjoy. 4) Field trips: If it's not out of the question try to have field trips to museums, zoo's or anything else that be educational, stimulating and enjoyable. I'm sure there's more stuff but that's all I can think of right now. Best of luck.
• United States
1 Apr 08
1) Bingo: Most people enjoy it and most seniors can do it. Give out simple, cheap prizes to make it funner. We do Bingo every other day, they really enjoy that. We try to play a variety of different versions like Animal Bingo, Music, Trivia etc. 2) Singing: Find someone who can play piano and create a choir. That is a good idea, only about 2 like to sing. 3) Movie Night: Serve popcorn and snacks and play older movies that seniors will remember and enjoy. We have movie night once a week a few really like this. I do need some ideas for good wholesome ones they can watch. 4) Field trips: If it's not out of the question try to have field trips to museums, zoo's or anything else that be educational, stimulating and enjoyable. We do a couple a year. I wish we could do more. The price of gas makes it difficult and the lack of volunteer's makes it even harder. I'm always trying to get people to volunteer. I'm sure there's more stuff but that's all I can think of right now. Best of luck. That helps, thanks!
4 people like this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
1 Apr 08
You asked for some movies to suggest for movie night. Here are some ideas for you: Just about any musical with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Gordon Macrae, or Howard Keel For newer movies go with anything up to PG rating but Disney is always safe. If they don't have a selection of movies to pick from try going to the dollar store, they often have older movies on DVD that they would enjoy. Also you can check at the library, some have dvd's to check out there especially of the older movies.
• United States
14 Apr 08
I just found a movie source for about a year. I was looking at my daughters DVD collection and almost all of them are great for Seniors.
1 person likes this
@ruby222 (4848)
9 Apr 08
Hi...that sounds interesting....and im sure they appreciate your efforts whatever!! I worked in a similar environment...where i was the care was classed as gracious living...in other words lol they paid an arm and a leg for a service very different to any other providers. Each afternoon they used to have a glass of sherry and some nibbles...it was someting that the majority really looked forward to....some loved two or three glasses..and can you blame them!!....they used to have the normal sort of entertainment...relatively simple quizzes....charades..for those who were able to join in...puzzles...and they once had an afternoon modelling salt dough... But i know what you mean..its extremely difficult to entertain a percentage of the residents..because no matter what you did they wouldnt be able to join in.... A music afternoon as you mentioned is a good idea...maybe based on `Name that tune`??...its probably a question of trial and error for you...im sure if you once capture their attention with someting..it will give you a good insight into what they prefer to do... does the home take them on outings??...sometimes an outing to a country pub goes down well...
• United States
14 Apr 08
Thank you for your insight and suggestions. Lol, I doubt they would let us get them drunk every after noon but it sure would be funny. I am getting to know a lot of their likes and dislikes. I consider it part of my job. I try to read their faces or eyes if they can't communicate. We do go on some outings but not as many as I would like, I'm going to work on that.
@ruby222 (4848)
14 Apr 08
Keep up the good work!!
• United States
31 Mar 08
I agree with Filmbuff. Here are some other ideas: 1. Pet "Therapy" - If you live in a big city, there should be a least one dog around that does pet therapy. You might call hospital social workers and see if you can find one. Or, call a local pet store and see if you can borrow a puppy for an hour or 2 every week or so. (I did that when I was doing an internship at a nursing - they let me as long as I left my id - even gave me the carrier.) Or you might just know someone with a very gentle dog who wouldn't mind coming for a visit!!!! 2. See if daycare centers/schools in the area might come to sing songs to the residents. See if you can find someone who teaches piano lessons to have a recital at the center for the residents. 3. Music Therapy - When I was doing my internship, they had someone come and do that - basically they just sang songs, etc. I guess you'd have to pay them, but maybe you could find a college student needing experienec? 4. Contact a local girl scout troop and see if they'd be willing to do a service project by paining the residents nails? They'd have fun and itd be good experience for them, and the residents would enjoy seeing the girl scouts. 5. Have a game night where they play games such as skipbo, scrabble (if they can handle that), cards, etc. 6. Call other activity directors in the area and see what they recommend. I'm sure some might even be willing to meet you in person to give you advice. Hope this helps a little!!!!!!!
• United States
14 Apr 08
These are all unique and great ideas. You make it hard for me to choose best response. I'll be considering most of them. We do have the Zoo coming this summer. I love the daycare and girl scout ideas as well as contacting other directors. We do have game night as well as movie night and Bingo they really enjoy these activities.
1 person likes this