who are actively involved with others have less time for self-pity
and depression and usually adjust better to living in the nursing
home than those who remain isolated and unwilling to participate
in social recreational activities with others." (Hastings,
Complete Handbook of Activities and Recreational Programs for
Nursing Homes, 1981).
Pre-dining leisure activity
submitted by Anne-Marie Cram on November 8, 2008
Size of Group: small to large (25-30)
Equipment: Second hand or new books/ magazines with a lot of colorful pictures. You will need to keep a good supply of books to replace any that are destroyed, this is why second hand books are good to use.
Objective: Objective is to provide a focused and enjoyable leisure activity at the dining table while waiting for their meal.
Outcome: Individuals are relaxed and able to transition into a dining experience with less distraction.
Description: Place a book on tables where residents are going to sit. Open books to a colorful page. Escort resident to his or her seat, direct their attention to the colorful picture. Knowing the individuals special interest will help in the selection of a book for him or her. When serving the individual substitute the book with the meal while explaining you are taking care of it while they eat. Or allow them to keep the book at their side while eating.
Wedding Remembering Reception
submitted by Melva Butler of St. Catherine's Village on July 8, 2008
Equipment: Old wedding photos, wedding dresses, grooms attire, and assorted wedding memorabilia
Objective: Build self esteem and promote positive long term memories
Description: Host a reception with wedding cake and punch and other party foods. Allow residents to share their wedding memories and look at photos discuss how weddings have changed over the years. We have also introduced a wedding fashion show, residents and staff can try on bridal wear and have facials and makeup parties the day before. Men get to have Bachelor Party with card games and beer(fake or real). No one jumps out of a cake. Ha!
submitted by Harjit Sandhu of The Terracess Of Los Gatos on
Identify staff with various heritage. Invite these staff to do a presentation on their heritage/country. Presenter are encouraged to bring items and foods/meals representing their country. Activity Director can
go on line and get the information for the country going to
present. Make copies for resident to read. Presenter can talk about their
country, history, costumes, festivals etc. Residents really
enjoy this activity. They find out more about other countries. They
enjoy their food. I hope you enjoy is activity. My residents
really likes it. Thanks.
Submitted by Judith Dullard
of Briarwood Nursing Home on March 09, 2004
sausage, middleing meat, a video of a real hog killing, electric
grill, and a fork.
outcome was to experience our residents travel back in time,
and laugh, talk and enjoy a part of their past that had been
20 minute video was shown, and enjoyed by all. The residents
could not stop talking about it. No really terrible parts were
included. We cooked the sausage and middleing meat, and a 1
hour activity turned into an all afternoon discussion about
the good 'ole days. This activity was truly enjoyed by our highest
and lowest functioning residents.
by Elizabeth Thackery of Vantage House on April 05, 2004
have continuity in their morning. Avoids behavior problems and
helps everyone feel comfortable.
morning we have a informal activity where everyone meets to
have a cup of coffee before morning activities begin. We begin
at 9:30AM. We offer coffee and donut halves to everyone that
come in while playing toe-tappin' music. They love this social
time.This was actually started with two outcomes in mind.
First, residents start their day out the same every morning,
this gives them a sense of comfort. Even if they do not know
what is going to happen the rest of the day. Some open the paper,
most just talk among themselves.
Second the Nursing Staff love this program because for every
person they bring in they also get to enjoy coffee shop. This
is the first time I have been successful in motivating other
departments to help get everyone to the activity.
submitted by Gerald Flickinger of Grandview
Nursing Home on October 13, 2002
Size: 4 to 40
Equipment: Tables, table clothes,
menus, candles, small dishes, snacks; peanuts, nuts & bolts,
bugles, etc.., plastic glasses, straws, drink umbrellas, piano
or cassette or cd player for music, blender, ingredients to
make various drinks.
Objective: The activity provides
an opportunity for residents to get together and socialize.
Allows the residents to unwind and enjoy a fun atmosphere with
music and laughter.
Dining Room or Recreation Room, depending on the size of the
group, is setup. Table clothes are placed on tables that are
then decorated with candles placed in old bottles, burning.
Small dishes are placed with various snacking items to enjoy
along with the drinks being ordered. The room is decorated with
Menus with various drinks ( 4 to 6 drinks, depends on group
size ) are presented to the residents by staff who are either
waitresses or waiters. Music is provided either by a piano player
or cd player.
Drinks are prepared by a bartender and served. Examples of drinks
can be: Shirley Temples, Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, Pink Ladies,
etc... Use your imagination. All beverages were non-alcoholic.
Some were decorated with whip cream, having a cherry on top,
while others were garnished with orange, lemon or lime slices,
along with a drink umbrella.
Activity is usually run on a Friday afternoon. Runs about two
hours and the residents really enjoy it.
music & munchies
submitted by Cher Oddy of Community Housing Association on March
Size: Up to 20
Equipment: fruit juices, list
of mocktails (non alcoholic cocktails) cocktail shaker, ice,
sliced up fruit to decorate glass, straws, pub songs cd and
safety darts board & crisps etc.
Objective: For the residents
to socialize with the people around them, talk about the drinks
they try and have a go at shaking their own mocktail.
Description: Residents sit
in small groups around small tables with nibbles in dishes and
choose from the mocktail menu which drink they would like to
try. They can even have a go at making their own drink to add
to the fun. Whilst this goes on the old pub songs are playing
in the background and the residents sing along, some of mine
even got up and danced.
This event went well because it hadn't been tried before. Several
of my residents asked what was the special occasion and could
we do this again!!
& Nibble Cafe
submitted by Kathy Stone of Elmwood Care
Centreon on June 01, 2003
made afternoon snacks, coffee, juice, CD player, upbeat music
gather a group for socialization, interaction, and to supplement
continually had poor turnout for snacks in the afternoon, until
I came up with the idea for a different setting. We had cheap
white paper place mats printed at the local paper with Chat
& Nibble Cafe across them with a checkerboard, we wear checkered
aprons and serve the snacks cafe style. Jazzy upbeat music brings
people to see what is going on. Snacks are served and we grew
from a few residents coming to the dining area for a snack in
the afternoon to an average of 30 residents in a 100 bed facility
coming to join the fun. We do treat it as a cafe too, we wait
on people and visit while we serve. This has been a hit and
the administration is very happy with the activity. It is great
that people are now getting their afternoon snacks and we try
to really target the residents that are having trouble maintaining
their weight or have other weight issues.
good can I look
submitted by Elizabeth
Campbell on June 25, 2003
dress up clothes from a thrift store,Hair bows, hats, Film and
a group of volunteers from area Beauty School volunteer and
do makeovers with the residents. Clothing and hats make one
appear different. Take pictures and the proof is in the pictures
what one can look like with a bit of guidance.
by Celeste K. T. Brooks of Washington Center for Aging Services
on November 21, 2000
is best), Aroma therapy products (bath gels, lotions,all should
be allergy-free) , Manicure items, Hair products, finger bowls,
sprays, Large container of hot water, small containers of ice
water, Video tapes,TV:VCR set up, Stereo system,CD's, Audio
tapes, LOTS OF STAFF: manicurists, cosmetologists, hairstylists,
massage therapist, reflexologist or a lot of volunteers who
can serve in these functions.
To relax the residents
To increase socialization
To increase level of self esteem
To provide a variety of sensory stimulation
To increase levels of participation
To increase residents' quality of life
To have fun
Description: Have the room
filled with relaxing sights, music and scents before the residents
arrive. Have at least four stations with different activities
(manicures, facials, hair styles, hand massages, etc.). Invite
your residents in. Make sure that you have presented each resident
with each station (or with as many as they will tolerate). Introduce
the residents sitting at the same table to each other. (You
should hear some of the conversations that come up, it's like
sitting in the beauty parlor) Provide the services! This activity
usually takes 2-3 hours. Make sure that you keep the music playing
and the scents flowing. Our male residents enjoy it as much
as the females. We purchase products especially for the men
and they like to sit and watch their girl friends get dolled
up!. We implement this event in a large group setting maybe
three times a year. We have smaller versions of SPA DAY on the
units in the solariums or as individual sessions in the resident's
rooms. One of our residents always comes to this event in her
wheelchair (she is blind and very hard of hearing). However,
after she has received "the works" she struts not
walks to her unit guided by her ANA. Many of our volunteers
are staff members from other departments, who give maybe 20
minutes of their time to help. However, make sure that all of
your stations are manned by people who can remain there throughout
the entire activity.
Campfire sing along
submitted by kym
lafontaine of The Pas Health Complex-Maintenance on February
Size: any size
Equipment: Fake fire pit-can
be done with a tub surrounded with logs and with an uplight
inside. Place a fan facing up inside the tub. Tie red cello
strips to the fan to make it look like moving fire. Or you could
use a fake fireplace insert. Set up undecorated Christmas trees
for a forest effect (bring in some spruce or pine boughs and
spray with water to let off scents into the air) also you could
set up a small pup tent with a light inside and some other camping
equipment. If you can come up with some motion sensor animals(owls
or birds) to put in the trees that could be fun. Another option
would be to play a wildlife serenity tape(the sounds of water,wolves,crickets
etc.) for background music.
Objective: To create an atmosphere with the smell and sounds of an outdoor
camping adventure. To encourage residents to reminisce and tell
about other experiences they have had camping.
Description: Have residents
sit around the campfire in the early evening. Have people bring
in guitars, harmonicas, fiddles etc. and have a sing along (some
residents can also bring their instruments). You can also have
someone to start telling stories and try to encourage the residents
to tell their own stories. Tea and hot chocolate can be served
from tin cans using a ladle. Also toasted marshmallows can be
served on a stick. This would be an early evening activity so
you wouldn't need a full supper. This could be set up inside
or outside. I think it could be a lot of fun.
Options: If able, build
an actual campfire outdoors.
Wine and Cheese Party
submitted by Charlene Gizowski of Glamorgan Care Center
Wine(cheap wine-0.5%), cheese,
crackers, pepperoni, sausage
Entertainment (band, etc)... entertainment is needed for about
Objective: To facilitate
enjoyment and to promote socialization among other individuals.
Description: The cheese,
pepperoni, sausage,and crackers should be cut and placed on
different plates/platters. Have the entertainment play music
for about an hour and a half. While entertainment is playing,
the recreation staff or volunteers can serve the wine to each
of the residents. Not giving them too much to intoxicate them.
Just like a dinner party without the dinner!! Have the residents
choose what they want for snacks while enjoying their wine as
well as the entertainment. The area for this event should be
in a spacious area. A dining room or a lounge area would be
appropriate for the party.
NOTE: be sure
to check with your administration regarding serving wine. The
resident's personal physician should also be consulted.
by Dawn M Misiora of The Pines, Lansing, Michigan
Rules: Give each participant
a bag of peanuts (around 100) and place one item up for auction.
(I usually go to a dollar store or use donations, as we all
know most budgets are quite slim.) Start the bids for the
participants at one peanut and proceed as an auction.
To make it more authentic, have one of the observing participants
use a gavel to close the bids.
Supplies needed: brown paper
bags, unsalted, whole peanuts, items to bid on (earrings, ceramic
items, food stuffs ( watch diet restrictions), baseball caps,
socks, pins, jewelry, after shave, perfumes (designer impostors
are cheap), and a gavel.
We have a great time, but because
it is so expensive, I can only afford to do this once a month.
The residents sure do look forward to it though.
by Nicole Puchino. For a less expensive idea for the
peanut auction activity have employees donate old items that
could be auctioned off.
submitted by Jennifer
Piatt of Do-It Leisure
Size of Group: Any amount
Equipment: Various forms
of chocolate, including different boxes and containers that
chocolate comes in. You can also find information about the
history of Chocolate, chocolate word searches, and trivia.
Description: Have everyone
sit in a circle, or around a table. You can structure the party
anyway you want. You can talk about different chocolate (dark,
milk, etc) as well as different forms it can take. You may even
want to get the clients to cook a chocolate treat. We usually
read the history of chocolate, tell chocolate jokes, and get
everyone to describe their favorite type of chocolate. After
you describe s type of chocolate, make sure you have enough
samples for everyone. This group is always a hit around valentines
day. Everyone comes, talks laughs, and has a great time. Don't
forget to have milk for the beverage!
Expected outcome: To increase
group discussion, to reminisce, and focus on sensory stimulation
by Melinda Dykes of Lincoln Residential Center, Brookhaven,
MS on Tuesday, January 07, 2003
Size: Large group
Equipment: beach balls, beach
towels, sand pails, food,lemonade, Beach Boys music, volleyball,
for a beach theme. Dance to Beach Boys and other "fun in
the sun" music. Play volleyball and frisbee. Give sunglasses
to all who participate. And, last but not least, eat plenty
of snacks and drink plenty of lemonade!
by Melinda Dykes of Lincoln Residential Center, Brookhaven,
MS on Tuesday, January 07, 2003
Size: large group
finger food, music, a specific place to take pictures
as you would for a school prom. Invite area high school students
to come wearing their prom attire. Dress clients in nice clothing
(e.g. old prom or wedding dresses collected from staff). Decorate
an area for taking pictures. Play music appropriate for the
age group. Have a great time!