Despite what you might think, care homes are not all about comfy chairs and afternoon naps in front of the television. That’s nice every now and then but a good care home should also encourage its residents to embrace their passions, try new things and do the activities that are special to them.
One care home provider, Westgate Healthcare, runs a ‘Lifestyle Pioneer’ program, which encourages its residents to take the lead in evolving their lifestyles. Trying new physical and mental activities and developing new passions is central to that – but what care home activities will residents love? Here are a few suggestions.
Care Home Activities
Social activities play an important role in turning a care home into a local community. An interesting twist on storytime is for residents to tell stories from their lives to school children from local primary schools.
Studies have shown that intergenerational activities that mix aged care with child care can be hugely beneficial for all those involved. The benefits for older people include a decrease in loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure and even a reduction in the risk of disease or death.
The stories can be on any subject the children are likely to find interesting – for example, life during or after a war, watching television for the first time or stories about their lives. Those stories can be followed by plenty of questions and comments that everyone can contribute to and enjoy.
With appetites dwindling as we age, many older people do not always receive the nourishment they need, which can speed up their physical decline. That’s why food-centered activities, which encourage residents to make and eat all sorts of different foods, can be beneficial.
Cooking classes that teach older people how to prepare new cuisines, bake bread or make desserts give residents the opportunity to learn new skills, socialise and eat some food. There’s also plenty of physical activity involved in the food preparation process to keep residents moving.
Numerous studies have shown the positive effect music can have on the elderly and, in particular, people with dementia. There are all sorts of ways you can introduce music into a care home setting. Live concerts from local bands, sing-alongs and playing music from days gone by are all effective ways to stimulate the brain. There are even volunteers who will visit care homes and work with each resident individually to create a playlist of songs that they hold dear.
Organize A Special Event
There are all sorts of events that can be arranged on a weekly or monthly basis. Quiz nights, bingo, cheese and wine evenings, afternoon tea and even a karaoke evening will allow residents to socialize and have a good time. For each of these events, build the excitement beforehand by hand-delivering invitations to the residents. This will create a sense of anticipation and help to ensure a good turnout.
Virtual Reality Immersion
You may assume cutting edge technology is not something care home residents would be interested in, but you might just be surprised. Virtual reality allows residents to travel the world and experience new places and activities without leaving their armchair.
There are plenty of companies out there that create virtual reality experiences for all kinds of different audiences. They will travel to care homes and spend time with each resident before taking them on immersive experiences. For example, it could be visiting somewhere the resident always wanted to go or embarking on a wildlife watching tour.
Studies have shown that virtual reality can improve the brain function of older people and help to slow the development of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s – but it’s also great fun too!
Ask Older People What They’d Like To Do
Before deciding which activities to introduce, a good care home will always take the time to ask its residents what they’d like to do. People are much more inclined to take part in activities that match their interests.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.