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How-To Enrich The Life Of Your Nursing Home Resident

Updated on March 10, 2013

Nursing Home Activities

Entertaining someone in a nursing home can be done. All you have to do is think about what you would want if you were trapped in this type of situation. Now of course it's different for each patient. It's difficult to help anyone if they're not awake. If they are though, there's plenty they can do if you think about it.

One of the first things to think about is a connection with the world beyond the living quarters. If the patient is aloud to have a phone that's a good start. If not, good ol' snail mail works too. It's fun to send cards, letters and packages as well as it is to receive them. Of course all of what I'm talking about may have to be implemented by you, the loved one, if the person can't do certain things.

So considering that you're going to help your nursing home patient I'll jump to the next thing I think is important: Computers. If the building has Wi Fi you will be able to use one.( Unless your building has all kinds of electronics set up already.) Then you can email, play games, and get on social networks, or Skype. If the building doesn't have a connection you can take the person to a place that is equipped and have at it. I always call my brothers for my Mom when I with her so she can talk to them. Now I'm bringing my little notebook and taking her and her wheelchair somewhere we can connect her with the world. I may even set her up a Facebook account and she can use it when I'm with her. Then people will have a place to leave her messages whenever they feel like it.

Another very important thing to consider for your special person is consistent grooming and pampering. Take them to a place where they can have their hair and nails done. Man or woman. A great idea is to take them to get a massage. Have people give them gift certificates to different spas for their birthdays or holidays. What would feel better than a good massage for an older person with aches and pains.

The elderly also appreciate games that are specific to their needs. It may be a deck of huge playing cards, or it may be a memory game like the one my father-in-law used to play with us. It made us think. If you're looking for games that deal with memory, hand-eye coordination, or whatever is needed it seems a teacher's store would stock a number of items that would help. These games can be fun too.

Any form of crafting is always a good choice if the person has use of their hands. It might be painting, knitting, creating clay formations, photography, playing piano or whatever they can get themselves in a position to do.

Don't forget to use your imagination when it comes to entertaining a nursing home patient. Like I said just think about what you would want to do if you were in the other person's place.


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    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 4 years ago from Michigan


      It feels good to help loved ones in any way we can. I love your technique with the photos. I'm going to do that with my Mom.



    • KellyG05030 profile image

      Kelly 4 years ago from New England

      Great article, I voted up! When my Grandma was in a nursing home, she suffered from dementia. She'd become fixated on something and repeat, repeat, repeat. Her short-term memory was affected, but her long-term memory was intact. I found it was great to take in old pictures of her when she was a little girl, of her kids growing up, of her brothers and sisters through the years... anything I could find. The trick was not to overload her. For example, if she would become sad and fixated about going back home (she felt like she was in a hospital), I would give her one picture and talk to her. I would ask her questions about the picture, where it was and who was in it with her. A little gentle prodding about the event(s) also helped, and you could see her gears turning, thinking about it. And when all else failed... we played Bingo! Her favorite!