The key to a quality nursing home experience is providing a stream of fun and engaging activities for the residents. You don't have to break the bank to do so. An endless variety of inexpensive events, crafts and games exist. Make sure that your activities are inclusive for as many residents as possible, and emphasize that participation is voluntary.
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Holiday & Birthday Parties
Birthdays and holidays can be lonely times for nursing home residents. Lighten their spirits by providing an inexpensive party to celebrate another year or another Christmas. Instead of paying for catering, you can ask staff, residents and their relatives to sign up for a potluck. Add a cake and some background music, and you have an instant party.
If your nursing home has space and the proper sun exposure, plant a small garden with herbs and vegetables with your residents' help. This activity provides exercise and outdoor time. If you don't have the space for a full garden, consider window or flowerpot gardening as an alternative.
Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts are an old reliable standby for good reason. Invest in a small library of craft books and a supply closet. You can lead scheduled craft time with specific projects, or you can allow your residents to engage in arts and crafts on their own.
The simplest way to hold a movie night is to pop in a DVD and gather your residents around a large-screen TV. If you want to get even more creative, use a projection screen and theater-style seating with cushioned folding chairs. Make popcorn and play classic movies to round out the cinematic experience.
You don't need to hire an expensive fitness instructor to host a few simple exercise classes. If you have a staff member with enough training, you can have that staff member lead residents in a few simple routines, including light resistance training, aerobics and even yoga. There are also a number of fitness DVDs you can purchase on the cheap.
Gather residents around the piano and have a good old-fashioned sing along with old favorites. It doesn't matter if everybody sings out of tune; that's half the fun, anyway. Alternatively, invest in a karaoke machine. Other ideas include taking residents out Christmas caroling in the neighborhood. You can also invite school music groups to perform at the facility. Show choirs provide an enchanting experience.