Moving into assisted living facilities is becoming more common as baby boomers age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.5 million people are living in the more than 1,500 nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the United States. If you have a loved one who is among those who rely on assisted living care, you may wonder if it's okay to do the same sort of stuff you used to do when the person was living independently. You may be able to do those things, or you may want to try out new activities. The following are popular excursions for people living in nursing homes. Just be sure to get the all-clear from your loved one's caregivers before getting the show on the road.
Target Your Loved One's Interests
The lifestyle at most nursing homes is designed with the needs of residents in mind. Activities are often planned, and managers and caregivers go to great lengths to ensure that the patients do have entertainment. What you can add when you visit are activities that are chosen specifically based on the passions of your loved one. For example, you may suggest one of the following:
- For someone who loves scrapbooking and crafts, bring a blank scrapbook with older photos, stickers, pens, cut-outs, and other tools to have a fun day of preserving old memories and making a new one.
- If you are visiting someone who loved shopping but cannot really browse at stores any more, you may want to hit the thrift shops before visiting your loved one. Show up with several new outfit choices. You can set them out in a room and let the person "shop" for what new clothes she wants from the selection. Since thrift store finds are very inexpensive, you may simply return the unwanted leftover clothes to the shop.
Turn Simple Things Into Opportunities for Fun
If you are visiting a loved one who loves sports, you may choose to make a fun day out of watching a sporting event. Some ideas to turn the simple viewing activity into a "party" include:
- Bring team memorabilia, such as hats, shirts, and pom poms, that you can wear or use during the game. (If you want to really make a day of it, you may bring extra memorabilia for other residents and invite others to join in the fun.)
- Take your children or other family members with you, and you can all work on a fun little cheer to do every time the team scores.
- Make light-hearted dollar bets on the winner or bet some harmless thing, such as deciding that the loser has to do a little dance.
- Share memories about the sports team and other games you've seen together.
In addition to making a party of sporting events, you may do the same for a movie, or choose to have a weekly tradition of watching a specific television show with your loved one. That will give someone a fun weekly tradition to look forward to and provide you with an opportunity for regular bonding with them.
Finally, when you visit the loved one in a nursing home, always try to be upbeat and avoid commenting when they look particularly weak or ill. While you should mention any concerns to the caregiver, try to keep it positive when visiting your family member or friend. Suggest one of these activities at the start of a visit to help your loved one have fun and keep them engaged throughout the visit.
For more information, contact a company like Alta Ridge Communities.