What to Look for With Nursing Home Activities
Written by Jeff Meyer on August 15, 2015
When you begin to scout around for an appropriate nursing home for yourself or a loved one, you are probably going to focus on issues like security and safety, quality of care, food and more. However, do not overlook the importance of nursing home activities. These are the important “extras” that can keep people mentally sharp, emotionally satisfied, and socializing to a much healthier degree than ever before.
Relocating to a nursing home means being surrounded by others. Though some introverts dislike this aspect of nursing home living, many people begin to thrive on the companionship available at all times of the day. One way to ensure that anyone – introvert or social butterfly – gets the most out of this setting is to choose a nursing home with a good activities program.
Range of Activities
When you think of an activities program you might instantly think of arts and crafts, and while that is certainly one way that nursing homes do provide entertainment options to their residents, the list is much more extensive. Consider that nursing homes can and do offer:
- Arts and crafts classes or activities
- Exercise programs of all kinds (Some limit them to chair routines, but some go so far as having fitness facilities and pools.)
- Religious services and special events
- Entertainment (Live entertainment may present programs. Movie nights are popular, and children’s performances are always a hit.)
- Game nights or daily game activities
- Discussion and support groups
- Holiday events
- Outside activities that can include trips to the mall, movies, or local entertainment venues. Sightseeing and bus trips are also possible.
Will all nursing homes have this extensive list? No, but it does pay to explore just what sort of mental stimulation is available.
The Value of Activities
As we already indicated, having the option to socialize and do things that they might not normally do, residents get to remain active and healthier. It also gives them choices, and when someone is living in a nursing home, choices are very empowering and positive experiences. As Health in Aging says, “Residents in nursing homes …should be able to make choices about their daily routines. For example, they can decide when to go to bed, and when to bathe…activities help nursing home residents remain social and stimulated.”
Remember too that activities will allow residents to have pleasant and bonding experiences with caregivers as well. This is especially important if family members will be unavailable on a daily or frequent basis. It creates friendship and stability that is important to anyone in the nursing home setting, and even more so for those with cognitive issues.
Familiarity and routine are of the utmost importance, enjoying daily activities with the staff helps residents to create the kind of familiarity and routine that allows them to feel much more comfortable in the nursing home setting. Socializing with others in the nursing home is also going to provide the same benefits, in fact, one journal noted that “studies connect socializing with quality of life…social interaction may be as vital as physical activity for seniors.”
Of course, you can also use the availability of activities as a good gauge about the quality of care at a nursing home. If a patient wants to get out and do the daily activities, it means that caregivers are getting them up, out of bed, washed and dressed, and attention throughout the day. If a nursing home has the staff and procedures for this, it is an unspoken bit of evidence that they offer quality of care.
If you or a loved one is not receiving adequate care, get in touch with the nursing home administration or your attorney, and alleviate the situation right away.
HealthInAging.com. Finding Quality… http://www.healthinaging.org/resources/resource:finding-quality-nursing-home-care/
HolidayTouch.com. Studies connect… http://www.holidaytouch.com/retirement-101/senior-living-articles/socializing-linked-with-quality-of-life