helping families cope with assisted living transitions

Finding A Nursing Home – The Importance Of Regular Activities

When family members begin looking for a nursing home for their loved one, they often narrow down their choices by location, the cost of care, and the nursing home staff. While these factors are all important, many families forget to check into the activities offered by facility. Residents of all physical abilities need to be involved in regular activities that offer mental stimulation, physical activity if possible, and social interaction.

The Benefits of Regular Activities

Just a few benefits to providing nursing home residents with regular activities include:

  • Reduced Risk of Depression – Many elderly individuals deal with depression after moving to a nursing home. Therapeutic activities that residents find pleasurable help to reduce the risk of depression.
  • Minimized Behavioral Challenges in Patients with Dementia – Unfortunately, many residents with dementia are often unengaged and under-stimulated. Regular activities that are of the correct skill level and interest help to decrease challenging behaviors, such as agitation or argumentative interactions, in individuals with dementia.
  • Increased Socialization – Nursing home residents often feel lonely, especially if they're new to the facility. Activities that encourage residents to interact with others increase socialization between peers within a nursing home.

Finding Nursing Homes with Quality Activity Programs

If you're searching for a nursing home for a loved one, it's important to ensure that the facility offers an excellent activity program. Here are a few questions to ask when visiting a prospective facility: 

  • Does the facility provide activity areas large enough to accommodate groups comfortably?
  • Does the nursing home have an activity program manager with professional training?
  • Will the facility offer activities designed to appeal to your loved one's specific interests and needs?
  • Do nursing home staff members conduct family interviews to help determine the best personal activities for the patient's needs?
  • Are special accommodations made for residents that have hearing or vision challenges?
  • Does the nursing home offer a wide variety of activities for residents?

While nursing home staff members often provide many activities, volunteers, and family members. Family members often throw birthday parties for residents. Volunteers often come in to conduct church services or to spend time reading to residents. The facility's activity program manager often sets up activities for residents, such as crafts, movie nights, and story-time events.

Once you find a nursing home that offers many activities and social events, it's important to encourage your loved on to participate in the offered activities. With familial support, your loved one is more likely to engage in facility activities, improving your loved one's overall quality of life.