10 Fun Things to do With Someone in a Nursing Home
When your loved one lives in a nursing home, it is important to visit regularly so you can stay connected to them and show how much you care. Spending time with you will brighten your loved one’s day and knowing when you’ll visit next gives the individual something to look forward to.
Some people may find it awkward or uncomfortable to visit because they don’t know what to do or say. Having some ideas in mind and bringing activities with you can make visits fun and positive.
Keep Them Connected With Family
Seniors living in a care community can get lonely because they have little contact with family. Use your visit as a way to keep them connected and remind them that they’re not forgotten.
To keep them in touch with family members, you could bring visitors with you, especially children, teens, or anyone who might feel too awkward to visit on their own. For family members who live far away, video chats and phone calls are a great way to virtually visit someone.
If you bring children to visit, you may want to bring a puzzle, art project, or simple game so they’ll have something fun to do with your older adult. A shared activity helps people bond and keeps everyone happily engaged. Young children can also bring items for “show and tell” so they can share what they’re excited about with the individual at the nursing home.
Enjoy Music Together
Music has a universal ability to boost mood, reduce agitation, and increase happiness and engagement. It’s also a wonderful way enjoy time with your family member or friend.
When you’re together, play their favorite songs or set up a simple music player so they can listen anytime. You could sit and listen together, have an impromptu sing along, or listen as they reminisce over memories from younger days.
If you’re not sure about what music they enjoy, ask relatives or bring a selection of songs that came out when they were young and ask which they like the most.
Reminisce Over Old Photos
Looking at old photos or videos is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond. You never know what stories or memories your older adult will be inspired to share. Photos are also great conversation starters.
If you and your older adult are interested in completing a project, you could also work on creating a family tree. Family trees are both fun and meaningful for individuals!
Bring a Furry Friend Along
Petting a dog or cat is a highly therapeutic activity. If you are allowed to bring your pet, and the individual is an animal lover, it is a great way to enjoy time with an animal.
Research has shown that spending time with animals lowers stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure. In the long-term, interacting with a pet can even lower cholesterol, prevent depression, and protect against heart disease and stroke.
Eat a Meal or Snack Together
People enjoy companionship when eating. Whether you eat in the community dining room or go to a restaurant, sharing a meal is a way to bond with your loved one.
If mealtime isn’t the right time for a visit, you could still have a snack together. Bring a little “picnic” of crackers and cheese, or something you know that the individual really likes.
Get Some Fresh Air
Going outside to get some fresh air is a great form of exercise. If there isn’t a suitable outside area, walking around inside the building is still a great activity and is good for your health.
Take Them on Short Outings
Going out can be a treat for someone living in a nursing home. If health permits, a wonderful thing to do is go anywhere your friend or family member wants to go.
Whether they want to go to a religious service, the hair salon, a mall, or to a museum, it is a great way to make the individual happy.
Offering two options is also helpful because it gives them the opportunity to choose.
Give a Massage or Manicure
Many people in nursing homes would benefit from the therapeutic effects of touch. Depending on your relationship with your older adult, some pampering may be a great way to spend an afternoon.
Bringing lightly scented lotion means you could give your family member or friend a gentle hand massage. If you bring some tools, you could even do a manicure.
Reading aloud is a great way to connect with someone and let them know how much you care without having to make a lot of conversation.
It is especially good for older adults who are bed bound, not very responsive due to advanced health conditions, or those with vision impairments.
Watch a TV Show or Movie
Watching TV or a movie is something we do often with family and friends, because it is a great way to spend time together without feeling so much pressure to make a conversation.
If the individual you know has a TV in their room, consider getting a DVD player so they can watch movies.