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Senior Nursing Homes:Activites Have Gone to Infinity and Beyond!

Updated on May 3, 2012

Seniors... To Infinity and Beyond!

"Activities in Senior Nursing Homes"
"Activities in Senior Nursing Homes" | Source
Source

Reflecting Back

I remember as a young child when mom would dress all the kids up and we would head over to the local nursing homes to sing songs for the residents there. The one thing that was always so vivid in my mind was how they would just sit there! They were quiet and reserved. I think they were listening and I hoped they liked us. I remember thinking to myself that I would never want to be like them and end up in a home for "old people!" No families around to visit, they didn't do anything but eat, watch TV or sit in a large room talking to each other. They didn't look happy at all. I was very sad for them. Nevertheless, we would visit with them for a little while and then sing our hearts out and were happy to do it!

"Keeping Fit"
"Keeping Fit" | Source

Following in My Mother's Footsteps

While living in Hawaii, I carried that tradition of visiting the local nursing homes with my children's performance group, "The Rising Generation" and would perform for the homes 2-3 times a year, mostly during the holidays.

The first time I was asked to visit, I was a little apprehensive because of my earlier memories, however, I wanted my kids to experience the positive reactions from the seniors and it was also a great place to treat as "dress rehearsals" for our actual concerts.

Our first performance with the senior center was at Christmas, and personally I was expecting pretty much next to nothing when we came to set up for our show.
I arrived an hour earlier to set up and to my amazement, I walked into the most beautifully decorated room I had ever seen. But the wonderful thing about the decorations was that they were all made by the seniors who lived there and further more, the seniors did all the decorating.

As I was setting up my sound system, I was half paying attention to six women who were busily running around setting up tables for the desserts, making coffee and completing the festive decor around the showroom. While they were going about their business, they were paying attention to the sound checks I was doing. I always like to sing a song to make sure the mics are working and the balance is good for the kids. I began singing "Merry Christmas Darling" while moving stands and dialing in on the volume when out of my peripheral, I noticed about 5 couples in the middle of the floor dancing! They were loving it! Three women had grabbed their husbands from the kitchen to come dance with them, and the other two women grabbed two other women to dance with them as well. These amazing people had life and sparkle in their eyes. I almost didn't finish the song, but held back the sentimental tears as best as I could.

"Engaging Mind & Body"
"Engaging Mind & Body" | Source

Awakenings

After the concert, I stayed back to help the men and women clean up and had a wonderful chat with them.

I asked them what type of activities did they have there at the center. It was as if I had opened the flood gates!

"Oh, we have Movie Night!", exclaimed one woman. Another woman added, "We have Quilting B's, and a book club too!" "Don't forget about our Tuesday night Line Dancing," said one of the men. "Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we go to the gym and swim and do senior aerobics, and on Saturday Nights, we have karaoke!" said another woman. "You should join us! You sing so good!", said my favorite woman. (Now I know why I loved her most)

Senior Men and Women Have Never Been so Active

Senior centers are doing more these days to keep our elderly strong, fit, and engaged with some form of activity to keep their minds and senses working.

Up until about 6 months before my father passed away, he drove the shuttle for the local resident senior care center and nursing home. I had never scene so many active men and women in my life. The fact is that just because they are older and living in a nursing home does not mean that they lose quality of life. Sure, there are some whose health does affect their abilities in some capacity, however, when possible, any form of activity whether it be taking a walk throughout the corridors, sitting up in bed and playing a board game or knitting, and even singing songs keep their minds and bodies active and engaged.


Taking Care of our Elderly

Sometimes, we as family members don't always have the capacity or the knowledge of taking care of our elderly family members. First, this shouldn't make us feel guilty if we all but do everything we can for them. Nursing and care facilities allow us the opportunity to provide a safe haven and 24 hour care without the worry.

With that being said, we as family members should visit and do activities with our elders as often as possible. This should be done for the following reasons:

  1. Allows us to continue our close relationship with our elders.
  2. Spending time engages our minds and health just as much as it does for our elders.
  3. Allows us to meet other residents who in turn can be introduced to our own elders for companianship while we are not there.
  4. Gives us an awesome heartfelt feeling to be with the ones we love.

Activity Ideas for Senior Nursing Home/Care Center

VERY ACTIVE
SOMEWHAT ACTIVE
NOT ACTIVE w/Limitations
Dancing
Dancing
Leg lifts/ankle taps
Walking
Walking inside
Walking or wheel chair indoors
Movies
Movies
DVD's in room
Aerobics
Chair Aerobics
Arm/leg raises
Swimming
Swim Aerobics
Bingo
Karaoke
Karaoke
Card Games
Bowling
bowling
Board Games
Bingo
Bingo
Singing
Quilting/Crafts
Quilting/Crafts
Reading
Reading
Reading
Writing
Field trips to shows/shopping
Field Trips to Shows/Shopping
In-house Shows
Cooking/Baking
Cooking/Baking
Taste Tester for those who bake:)

Do you have a family member in a Nursing Home or Care Facility?

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Comments: Senior Nursing Homes: Activities Have Gone to Infinity and Beyond

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    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you Sharon. What an awesome opportunity you had to care for him. You are an amazing woman! I'm so happy he is doing well and loving the facility. Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. Big smile on my face! :)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Lisa ~ Anything that has to do with seniors and enhancing their quality of life grabs my attention. Recently, a gentleman I took care of for over two years in his home - was placed in a nursing home. I have already visited him there several times and was SO pleased to see all that they are doing with him. He is happy and content and safe. Of course I miss taking care of Joe. But he really got to a point where he needed someone with him 24 hours a day. And although his family, including me, were reluctant to transfer him, he is doing great and I am so thrilled. Thank you for sharing this great article.

      Sharyn

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      That is awesome. I am so glad you are letting them experience this "giving act" at a young age. Thanks for the comments RHW. :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      My girls just went to a nursing home for Valentines Day - they took cards and flowers and visited with them with their club. It was super special and I agree - so NICE and lovely of people to do this! Excellent hub!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      That is amazing Patty! I just love hearing that. My ex-husbands granfather (sosei) lived to be 106. When he was acknowledged as Hawaii's oldest living Okinawan, he was asked by a Honolulu reporter what his secret was. His answer was simply, "Love life, laugh hard, and eat a bowl of oatmeal every day!" :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Vitally important topic! Our oldest grandmaster in Taekyun martial art in Korea was well into his 90s and still practicing and teaching every morning right before he died. I watched the videos of that era and he was still kicking as high as and only a scant bit slower than his prime.

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Thank you so much Susan! I think people are afraid of the unknown and are not sure how to act or deal with nursing homes. I believe it is so important to teach our children young. I thanks God that my mom did that for us!

      Thanks for the support! :)

    • sholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Lisa, what a wonderful hub and story you have shared. My grandmother lived in a nursing home. You are an angel. It sounds like your parents started a great tradition. Many people forget that the elderly used to have active lives, and they are a wealth of interesting information. Votes and Shares!! :-)

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      I agree Ardie! I love that you take your Girl Scouts there. It is so important to teach our children when they are young to 1) not be afraid and 2) that their visits are so important to the elderly. Kudos to you my dear!

    • Rusticliving profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      You are so very welcome Peggy! I was happy to see the question you submitted. Having memories as a little girl and an adult made it hit home and felt I needed to answer it! So, I thank you for your question! :)

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      I love this Hub. I take my kids (with their Girl Scout troops) to visit the nursing facilities frequently. The residents love it and I love checking out the activities board when we walk through. Im always amazed at how much goes on! They have dances, exercise groups, and crafts too. I think its important to keep the mind AND body as active as possible for as long as possible.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for writing this hub! It makes me happy to know how much nursing homes have changed for the better. When I was a teenager I volunteered some of my time one summer to be in a nursing home...even emptying bed pans! It was more like the old days description and I always vowed that it was the last place that I would ever wish to be. Much has been done to correct and improve upon that old image...thank heavens! You mentioned a very important thing...it is STILL VERY IMPORTANT to keep visiting your loved ones if they are in a nursing home...not only to maintain the family ties...but also to make certain that they are getting the best care. Little things that they may not be able to correct...the family can effect the changes, if needed. Up, useful, interesting and awesome votes + sharing!