Senior Community Activity Ideas During COVID-19 Quarantines: Part 5
Senior communities are still working night and day to keep their residents safe throughout these challenging covid-19 times, especially during quarantines and lockdowns. To help keep your residents healthy, active, and engaged, we are working hard to continue to provide you with ideas, programs, and activities to ensure your residents’ spirits remain high. Some activities even get our seniors ‘out’ to discover world-class art through virtual trips...no winter clothing required!
Drawings with the letter X
Believe it or not, the letter X is everywhere in life. Sometimes it warns of danger, with crossbones. Other times, it's the written symbol of love...xoxo!
The organization 'Your Art Class' incorporated all of these meanings into its art activities using a simple yet elegant X-grid template. Residents can then choose if they want to create their own unique grid or start colouring a template right away!
Bring out your own resident's creativity with this simple and unique art form. Only you and your residents will know the meaning behind each art piece! The fantastic art pieces below are examples of how an art session can bring out a resident's creativity! All of these started with a simple X-grid drawing, seen on the right.
Need to boost morale? Easy. Award martinis! The Quarantini Award is a fun way Samantha Goodman found to encourage communication and sharing between her coworkers and residents. Open communication is perhaps even more important now than ever before. Stress can cause residents to fold in on themselves, which can take a toll on their mental health. So, how can we encourage sharing, participation, and support?
How it works:
- Create an award certificate and tailor it to the individual (their name, the type/purpose of the award) to ensure it feels personal.
- Present the award to every resident who has shared something new with staff during their time together in quarantine.
- Have some little gifts or a variety of special treats available for the award recipients to enjoy (including many residents' favourite; the mock martini).
What a fantastic covid-19 safe activity to encourage residents in senior living communities to keep sharing and feel heard during these stressful times!
Do your residents have their own nail polish? Maybe one of your residents would be delighted to receive a bottle of nail polish as a gift! A great way to spend an hour with a resident, most likely a woman but who's judging these days, is to treat our older adults to a beautifying manicure activity.
Things to include to create the perfect manicure experience are:
- Low light and a candle.
- Soaking their hands in warm water for a couple of minutes. You could even add essential oil in the water, like lavender or rose, to brighten up the experience!
- If desired, rub hand calluses with a pumice stone, nail file, emery board or washcloth to help remove a layer of tough skin during or after soaking.
- Apply the wanted nail polish products for your resident!
Treating your resident can be as simple as that! During times when seniors are isolating for considerable periods, this activity could easily make someone's day, and leave a positive impression!
Most likely, your resident's families miss their loved ones just as much as your residents miss their families. Organizing an activity where families drive by one after another and wave to them through their windows is something everyone involved can get excited about!
Setting up such a parade can be as easy as sending one email out to each of your resident's key contacts, describing the event, and asking them to RSVP to the activity. They can even decorate their cars, hold up signs, and make a little bit of festive noise. Your residents can watch from their rooms, through the window, or be spread out on the facility's grounds.
All in all, a parade like this will bring excitement into everyone's life for the day and is an easy and safe activity to organize!
This activity involves residents standing at the entrance of their rooms and having them try to putt their golf ball the width of your facility's hallway
Having each resident stand at the opening of their rooms will also ensure that a 6' distance can be incorporated into this activity while including the most residents possible.
At the other end of the hallway, either place a coffee mug, cup, or glass on the floor, with the opening facing the residents. This will act as the target for their putts, and they may even get a hole in one!
This will likely not be easy, so residents who successfully putt their golf ball would be entitled to a prize!
Using Puppets with Memory Care Residents
Using puppets to interact with residents in memory care, or who have dementia, can be an invaluable way to help them look at things differently, encourage social interaction, and help express emotions that may be dormant.
Some might think puppetry to be 'childish' of 'juvenile'. Rest assured that this thinking is unguided because it fails to recognize that the minds of people in memory care operate differently than most, relying more on emotion and story to interact with the world. That is exactly what puppetry achieves, interacting with memory care residents on their level.
The following are 10 benefits of puppets for those with dementia (by Home Care Assistance):
- Boost to self-esteem
- Stimulate memories
- Enhance communication
- Strengthen bonds
- Stimulate & convey emotion
- Live in the present
- Express personal preferences
- Encourage social interaction
- Boost attitude & mood
- Give life purpose
Remember, the beauty of a puppet is that the story you tell with it is way more important than the puppet itself! An easy, safe, and beneficial activity for seniors.
Baking Home-Made Dog Treats for Donation
Memory Care residents at Oak Trace Retirement Community in Illinois have been making peanut butter dog treats for dogs at a local humane society. The therapy dogs love the attention and treats; the residents love making the dogs happy!
Luba Siryj, memory care manager at Oak Trace, had the idea to invite the seniors to make the treats, and donate them to the Hinsdale Humane Society. She says this activity makes the interactions with the therapy dogs more meaningful for the residents because they are doing an activity for someone else.
It also encourages residents to work their muscles, increases blood circulation, and get some precious social time, all great things while residents continue to isolate.
To read the full story, click here.
For access to a recipe for peanut butter dog treats, check out this post.
Stitching Smiles on Masks
"When the dementia residents you care for are afraid of folks wearing masks, you stitch a smile on one!!!" - Ruthie Knable
Ruthie's dementia residents were having a hard time adjusting to everyone around them wearing masks. Everyone can relate to this feeling of woe when day after day, every person you meet has their face covered.
Ruthe had the idea of helping her residents with dementia by stitching a smile on her mask! The best part of this solution is that it can be transformed into a stitching activity for any group of residents!
The pictures below show examples of smiles stitched on masks!
Having an "Era" Week
A fun way to get your staff and your residents grooving is to have an era dress-up week! To do this, you would set up a schedule for a week, assigning ‘outfit of the day’ to a particular decade. For example, your week could be: Monday is the '50s, Tue is '60s, Wed is '70s, Thu is '80s and Friday is the '90s.
To make the activity even more engaging, setup a storytelling period where residents can share a story of their own from the decade of the day. It is great fun for the staff and reminds residents of the fun times they had their entire lives.
Check out the original idea here.
Fruit & Waffle Cart
A food cart going from room to room delivering snacks is a very good idea to implement. But it can be hard to find new snacks to offer if you've been at it for a while.
Dede from the Delaney at Lake Waco in Texas found that serving fresh fruit in a waffle cone was a hit with her residents! On top of that, it's a healthy snack that can be offered guilt-free. You can even serve it with a selection of yogurt for extra taste.
Decorating your cart as a specialty fruit-cart is a nice extra touch too!
Check out the original idea here.
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 safe and healthy, but also active and engaged. Hopefully your creative juices are flowing with the endless possibilities. Every resident’s well-being is at the heart of what we do.
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