How often do we see a group of residents participating in a recreational activity, but notice that at least a few of them are left out… sitting in the corner looking on? Often, these more “challenging” residents are the people who most need to be active and engaged in activity so they avoid feelings of frustration, agitation and boredom.
To help with this, here are some activity ideas that your nurses, nursing assistants and recreation staff can use to get residents with cognitive decline in on the fun:
- Flyswatter volleyball: Give residents plastic flyswatters have them hit a balloon back and forth to each other
- Dance, dance, dance! Turn off those televisions and turn on some music and dance. Have staff members take turns playing music from their iPods through a speaker. Fast or slow, old or new, music has the power to move everyone.
- Horseshoes: Spring is (sort of) just around the corner, and horseshoe games are in stores everywhere (and online!). Look for the foam kind and play inside or outside on a patio. Residents can play while standing or sitting.
- Foam swim noodles: Get a bunch of these (you can find them at places like Five Below or WalMart and pools stores), cut them in half, and have residents hold one at each end and bend. The closer together their hands are, the harder it is to bend. These make for great resistance exercises! Leave them out in common areas for a safe, easy way to start spontaneous exercise.
- Movement scarves: These can be found on enasco.com, or you can make your own with a lightweight material. Toss these colorful scarves in the air and have residents try to catch them. These scarves can be better than throwing a ball back and forth, since people with slower reflexes and limited hand flexibility can catch them more easily.
One final note–never give up! Never stop asking a resident to participate. You never know…maybe on the 50th try, they’ll say “yes!” Here’s a great example…at one of our former study communities, one of the residents is blind. Staff said he usually stayed in his room all day and listened to the television. With a little extra coaxing from the staff, he came out of his room and they played music for him and he danced! Now he does it all the time!! Please send us pictures of your residents engaging in these fun activities!