During times of crisis, senior living communities go above and beyond for their elderly residents. To protect residents, communities are forced to switch gears and must put their entertainment, communal dining, outings and activities to a halt resulting in creative ways to keep residents engaged.
We have compiled a list of one on one activities that can be done with available staff and residents during lockdowns. In lieu of entertainment and family visitation, these activities can keep residents engaged and social.
In times of lockdown, residents are likely to be missing their family or friends who can no longer visit them. One simple way to brighten their day is to set up a Facetime or Skype call for them. If they do not have a tablet of their own, use a facility or donated device (anything with a camera). Here is a great way Compass on the Bay sets up their virtual visitation stations!
Tip: Use social media or a letter in the mail to get the word out to families. Let them know that there is Facetime/Skype ability at the facility and give them the information of who to contact to set up a call with their loved one!
Granted hand washing is a must, card games are an option to get your residents’ mind working and engaged. There are plenty of options for card games, so you will not run out of games to play! From “Go Fish” to “rummy,” the fun will go on and on and can be played 1 on 1.
Animal therapy has been studied and shows many benefits in the elderly in social isolation and boredom (3). Ease loneliness and bring a smile to resident faces by allowing staff to visit residents with a pet whether it be a bird, dog or cat! Depending on your restrictions and rules of your facility, this may not be an option or you may need to get creative (i.e. window visits).
- Check out websites like Pet Partners that coordinate bringing pets and animal therapy to your senior community.
- Refer to this handy resourcefor information related to infection control and guidelines for animals in healthcare facilities.
Many seniors count on religion daily and/or weekly. Unfortunately in times of restrictions, holding mass is not an option. Bringing bible study to resident rooms is a way to bring normalcy and routine back to the community and will be appreciated by residents.
- The God Cares Ministry website provides free, printable PDFs made specifically for senior communities.
- This resource offers assistance for how to lead bible study with seniors with dementia.
One on one exercise class is just as effective and can be just as fun. From yoga to chair Zumba to boxing! A quick exercise class in a resident’s room can lift their spirits and get them moving when they wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise.
Tip: Come prepared with boxing gloves, a speaker for music, water bottles and exercise bands and allow the resident to select which exercise class they would like to do.
Many residents will turn to reading as an independent lockdown activity. Make it a fun activity by bringing around a cart of books to look through together, and you might even do some reading together as a bonus!
- Stock up your cart with books from this list of popular senior citizens books!
One activity that was possibly done pre-lockdown that can be done one on one is crafts! There are endless possibilities for ways to get creative. These can be rather quiet activities, which can open up the opportunity for conversation.
Many senior living communities revolve around a social model, and a stop to the daily routine can throw residents for a loop and leave them eager to get back the conversation and interaction they are used to. Not only will this activity get them back into it, but it will give them a new decoration for their room as well.
- Here is a list of over 50 ideas for fun crafts for seniors
A lockdown opens up opportunities to dedicate time to things that might need a little more introduction and exploration. Senior residents may not have much experience with new technology, and this can be quite the feat.
- Tablet Use: Teaching a senior how to use a tablet opens the door to a new world for them. Tablets can be used for video chatting, messaging, emailing, social media, surfing the internet, online shopping, playing games and much more.
- We are offering limited-time free access to our recordings of past educational events, demonstrations and tours from experts and cultural institutions until April 30th that residents can enjoy with you during visits! Get access by clicking here!
- Virtual Reality: These goggles are a fun new technology that can bring seniors into another place and time. A popular choice for seniors is Rendever, a company who specializes in virtual reality for seniors.
- Computer Classes: If your resident has a computer, they can start learning their way around it with these free online resources.
Social Media Post
Social media is one thing continuing to go on during a crisis while the world seems to otherwise stop. Another one on one activity is creating a fun social media post. This can be a message or a photo! See some inspiration here!
Tip: Contact families and let them know this is going to be done, so they can be on the lookout for photos on your senior communities’ social media page or an email will be sent to them. One option is to use a whiteboard to write a message to the family and have the resident smile with it.
Using Eversound for Physical Distancing
Eversound’s wireless group listening system is unique in many ways, but is highly beneficial for use during physical distancing. Using our headphones, that are created with microbial materials for easy sanitation, can reach residents up to 300-400 feet away. This allows your residents who may be room bound to participate, or you can host your normal group activities from a safe distance. Learn more about how we can help you community.
For more ideas, see 10 Hallway Games for Physical Distancing That Aren’t Bingo