helping families cope with assisted living transitions

Fun And Healthy Activities For Adults In Nursing Homes And Assisted Living Facilities

When considering a nursing home or assisted living facility for an aging parent or relative, it is important to tour the prospective facility and speak to the staff, residents, and relatives and friends of the residents to see if your relative will fit in and feel comfortable there. It is a good idea to visit a facility a few times, on different days and at different times of the day to get a feel for the atmosphere and ambiance. Here are a few things to ask about when visiting a prospective nursing home or assisted living facility: 

  • Friendship Therapy - Group living can be a very happy place when the residents are able to relate to each other and communicate easily. This means that all residents should have approximately the same cognitive abilities. Residents can get enormous pleasure when they can exchange stories and talk about the things that they love and find entertaining. These conversations can make a group walk or other activity a time of fun and relaxation.  
  • Exercise Therapy - Regular exercise is an important part of keeping residents healthy and happy in their everyday lives. Older adults need at least 25 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to strengthen their heart and circulatory systems. It is best to find a nursing home or assisted living facility that offers walking and other aerobic exercises at least twice a day to keep the residents active and aware. Group walks are easy to do and great conversation starters, as residents see different sights, animals, and people as they walk. These visual stimuli can be discussed later in the day to help residents exercise their short-term memories.  
  • Pet Therapy - Being able to pet or watch a therapy dog can be a source of true entertainment and delight for animal lovers. Pet therapists and their therapy dogs are often available to visit a nursing home or assisted living facility for a very small fee or no fee at all. Pet therapy sessions can brighten any day and give residents something to look forward to and talk about after the pet therapy session is over. 
  • Music Therapy - Many kinds of music can be soothing and entertaining for residents in assisted living. For residents of a similar age, well-chosen music can trigger pleasant memories and even encourage residents to clap, sing along, or stand up and dance. Name That Tune is a fun game to play for seniors. Music can change the mood and group energy from boring to fun and entertaining. A CD player or radio is all that is needed to energize and enliven a group. 
  • Game Therapy - Games are often a source of fun for aging adults. Card games such as Crazy Eights, Poker, and Bridge are simple games that can get residents to think and converse with each other. There are many other games that can be played such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Bingo, or a drawing game where one resident draws a simple shape on a piece of paper and the other residents try to guess what it is. Games are fun and enjoyable and can often lead to laughter for all involved.

For more information about assisted living, contact Alta Ridge Communities or a similar organization.