Keeping spirits high and positive is essential right now, for both residents and your activity teams. We’re continuing to share tips and activities we’ve pulled together so you don’t have to spend precious time and energy coming up with fresh ideas during this challenging time.
Who needs an alley and smelly shoes? Bowling is a game that pretty much everyone knows, and it’s a great way to get people up and active, even when they’re isolated in their rooms. Cara Dafforn, Thrive Lifestyle Coordinator at American Senior Communities, got creative with a cart and went door to door, treating residents to a game. There are also outdoor bowling sets which you could set up in the hall.
Delivering ice cream to each room is pretty standard, so why not dress it up? Grab some markers and cardboard to make your very own indoor ice cream truck! Gayla Zieser of Brightview Senior Living also played some iconic ice cream truck music as they made deliveries.
You can get as creative as the team from Somerford House & Place: build a rocket, fly to safety, and have some space-themed snacks (ie: Moon Pies). Or, you can do some other, easier activities. Play some footage from the moon landing and have residents share memories.
Most senior communities have stacks of old magazines lying around. It’s a perfect opportunity to get creative and cognitive skills working. It’s a great activity for 1:1’s and all you need is a list of items to find, glue, and some paper.
Exercise and just simple physical activity are sure to be a challenge right now. If your senior residents can’t leave their room, Expert Village has a whole series of chair yoga activities on YouTube. It has a variety of stretches, poses, and meditations you can do quickly and safely in groups or one-on-one. You could even host chair yoga in the hallway. Have residents put their chairs right next to their doors (maintaining at least six feet apart) and walk them through one of the videos.
Over 100 Museums from across the world have turned their collections into colouring books. The University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections, the National Library of Russia, and the Folger Shakespeare Library are just some of the institutions that are turning historic works into fun art activities as part of the #Color Our Collections initiative. You are sure to find something for the more refined artist who still wants to get creative.
If you or your residents would rather create your own masterpiece, then try some window painting! It’s definitely a fun way to spend some 1:1 time with your residents. And as more people are visiting loved ones at the window, it’s a fun way to add a unique touch. Simply mix acrylic paint with a few drops of dish soap to make the paint removal process go a little easier. The best part is that you don’t need to spend money on expensive canvases!
We know this one sounds strange, and it may be out of the question if your residents have to stay put. However, if you can still take seniors outdoors for a 1:1, then this idea (or something similar) is a lot of fun. You can buy the pink flamingos and pool rings on Amazon. But in reality, if you can get outside, then just a walk in the fresh air can be reinvigorating.
We hope you found some inspiring ideas to try out with residents in your senior living communities. It continues to be a challenge for many to keep our seniors and loved ones not only safe and healthy, but also active and engaged. Hopefully these fun activities got your creative juices flowing. Every resident’s well-being is at the heart of what we do.
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Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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