The big myth about nursing homes is that Bingo is the only activity. Bingo is important to many of our residents, but most homes have varied and creative activities.
In some homes there’s often a few residents who want Bingo seven days a week. This often poses a problem for activity directors. Several activity directors have solved this by having Bingo on the activity calendar on certain days and, on other days, the residents have bingo parties. Bingo parties or resident-directed-bingo is a way to have Bingo any day of the week. Residents have access to Bingo equipment and a Bingo room at any time.
Resident-guided activities are important and generally popular with most residents. Not only do they provide more activity opportunities, residents become involved in daily life. These activities use their leadership skills, decision-making and diplomatic skills to enhance residents’ independence, self-confidence and acceptance of this stage in their lives.
What about seizing the day? What about activities that make you catch your breath, make you laugh until you cry, or make you remember you are still alive? We are seizing the day in Arkansas nursing homes with these creative activities.
A balloon ride was part of a “bucket list” request from a resident living at Southern Trace Rehabilitation and Care Center in Bryant. It was something she had always wanted to do. What a wonderful experience.
“The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round,” is an enhancement of the nursing home’s weekly ride. The residents get to map out the journey and set the destinations. It may be a ride to all the old home places or a trip to a casino. We’ve been to the horse races, the movies, gone swimming and horseback riding.
Laughter IS the best medicine and laughter was flowing at the Annual Snowball Fight at Craighead Nursing Center in Jonesboro. Who knew that throwing large marshmallows, as Christmas carols played in the background, could be such fun.
Residents laughed, staff laughed and the marshmallows flew. A resident told me, “I’ve laughed until I’ve about died.” Then she hit her friend with a huge marshmallow, as she peeped out from behind a wall. Somehow I got stuck in the crossfire and my shoe got covered. The memory is stuck on my shoe–I mean,… mind.
Kathy Caskey from Woodruff County Nursing makes everyone glad to be having another birthday. Kathy knows all about seizing the day but she’s not the activity director. Kathy is the dietary manager and is also known as the “hat lady.” Kathy started wearing crazy hats on Fridays, just because residents’ loved it. From there it has grown to a birthday hat day that has the residents excited about having another birthday. On their birthday, every resident gets a visit from Kathy with her singing birthday hat and a cake.
Even providers have gotten into the act. The home’s food supplier brought her a chef’s hat to wear. The dietary staff joined in the fun by adding an apron. Now Kathy is a life-size version of the Pillsbury Dough “girl.” Residents rush to the dining room to see what hat will be on Kathy’s head!
Enhancing our resident’s lives, as Kathy has shown, is not just the activity director’s job.
Come on Arkansas, we have a day to seize.
For our residents who are “walking with forgetfulness,” this link includes ideas to help them seize the day too.