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Nursing Home Activities Make Residents Feel "At Home"


The activities of daily living in nursing homes is important to consider when choosing a long term care facility. Nursing home services should consider what interests their residents desire in to make their residency an enjoyable stay. Nursing homes activities should include getting the residents out and about to enjoy nature and sight-see. Some patients may even enjoy going out to lunch, rather than having the similar food each day. Other activities for nursing homes could include going shopping, playing bingo, cards, board games, putting puzzles together, or enjoying other nursing home games with other colleagues of the facility. Being able to participate in enjoyable assisted living activities help them to feel more at "home". They can meet new friends and enjoy their stay more if they participate in daily routines according to their interests.

For this reason, many long term care facilities employ a nursing home activity director to plan activities for nursing home residents. This would include learning what would make the residents stay a more enjoyable one. The activity director would develop nursing home activity ideas which could include anything from providing a quite place where residents can be along and place where members can watch TV together. It could also include game planning, social outings, internal social meetings and any other nursing home recreation to make nursing home life a pleasant and happy one. After all, who doesn't enjoy a good game of bingo or cards?

Any nursing care facility that is Medicaid and Medicare certified is required to have someone assigned as an activities director. It is important that you determine if the care facility employs this position. Residents of the facility, staff members, family and volunteers will make suggestions which is what will help influence the planning of nursing home activities. Usually posted in a calendar of events and accessible for wheelchair-bound patients, these can be things such as:

  • Various holiday celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, Valentine's Day, Hannukah and Halloween.

  • Monthly birthday parties where friends, family and all residents are invited.

  • Musical events and sing alongs where residents can request their favorite song and sing along with a song leader. Volunteer involvement along with family help is needed to help make this a success. Churches and schools will often participate in these types of events.

  • Outdoor social events such as cookouts and gardening. Often, the staff is operating under time constraints so they are not able to take the immobile patients outside, meaning it is very important for family and other volunteers to help make this possible.

  • The nursing home activity director also can involve arts and crafts programs. Volunteers or family members can also help lead this program.

Other nursing home activities include:

  • Newsletters for members that utilizes the talents of residents in the home such as writing poetry or topical writing.

  • Exercise sessions

  • Coffee hours for socializing

  • Book times where volunteers can bring books for residents to read.

  • Discussion groups where volunteers or a resident can lead the group.

  • Religious services. Every Medicaid and Medicare certified nursing home is required by federal law to give residents opportunity to attend the religious service of their preference. Many nursing homes welcome denominational groups to provide religious services in the home for those who would like to attend. Friends and family can join in the worship and the organization of these services is handled by the director of nursing home activity.

When considering long term care, you'll want to check to see if the facility provides this position to handle the nursing home activities. Do they employ a warm and friendly staff that will pay attention to the residents? Do they offer help to those who require assistance with basic activities of daily life but also include those individuals as much as possible in social events? These are all signs that will help you to determine if the facility is right for you or not. Keep in mind that staff is often working under time limitations so they rely on the assistance of volunteers. If you feel you would like to help out the facility and help care for the elderly, the activities director would be a great person to contact.

Residents appreciate the special attention to their unique interest or need. It is important for staff to communicate with them to make sure they are able to participate in those events as often as possible. With carefully planned retirement activities, you'll know if residents are cared for and if there is happiness within their nursing home environment.

You'll also want to take into consideration the nursing home costs. Does the facility charge extra for extracurricular activities? How are those expenses offset? Will they require the resident to pay an additional charge on their monthly fee? Is it something that is included with what you are already paying for every month? Even if the activities make the residents happy, a large, unexpected bill will certainly sour that attitude fast!

Knowing the assisted living activities in a facility can help make the decision on choosing a nursing home for your loved one easier. It is important to ensure that there will be good care, quality nurses who care about their residents, and that the nursing homes activities will be enjoyable. This will help the stay at a nursing care facility be a most pleasant and exciting experience. It can also be a fun and positive experience as the elderly will have the capabilities of meeting new friends and socializing with those whom they are most comfortable with.

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