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Activities for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

Key to Quality of Life and Strong Contributor to Culture Change


11. Ceramics

@Michael Hitoshi, Getty Images
The activity director of an assisted living home serving long and short term care residents can often feel pulled in two directions. How to provide regular activities residents look forward to while creating programs that entice rehab patients? Ceramics can be a fun activity for all ages. These classes gives temporary residents a chance to come and participate for an hour or so, and can also be a starting point for an ongoing activity for long term residents. And there you have a way to serve two populations in one program. To this end, ceramics is an ideal fit!

12. Memory Care

@Raymond Allbritton, Getty Images
Sight, smell, sounds, touch all invoke memories and an effective activities program that incorporates memory care can really add to the quality of life of elders and others who we encounter in aging services across the continuum of care.

13. Memory Mats

Memory Mats
Memory Mats are table-mates that uses personalized photos and words to evoke memories and start conversations.

14. Staging a Carnival in Your Facility

@Henri Silberman, Getty Images
The smell of funnel cakes in the hallway, the sound of carousel music coming from the dining room and the unusual sight of a clown walking in the front door means one thing at Sterling Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Media, Penn - it's carnival time! Proving that if residents are not able to get to the carnival you can bring the carnival to them.

15. Chair Chi

@Pat Griffith
Chair Chi is an exercise program based on the principals of Tai Chi Chuan, but designed for the elderly in retirement communities, assisted living, personal care homes, nursing homes and adult day centers.

16. Activities for Short-Term Rehab Patients

Keith Brofsky
The statistics tell the story. At the beginning of the 21st century America has a population in which one in every eight residents, or 12.2 percent, are over 65. The reality is a majority of older Americans will spend at least a short term stay recovering and rehabbing from medical miracles such as hip, knee and other joint replacements as well as serious medical conditions, ranging from a broken bone to a stroke. The challenge for activity directors: what do to with short term rehab residents? Here are some ideas.

17. Activities for Men

In most retirement communities women residents outnumber the men. It’s a fact of life for most activity directors but planning for men’s activities is also a must. In this article we look at some ideas for successful men’s programming.

18. Using Food to Evoke Memories

Atria Senior Living
Nothing says home like the smell, sight and taste of a familiar recipe. A recent report on National Public Radio found that Mom's comfort food evoked more of childhood than photos or favorite toys. Atria Senior Living has found a way to bring favorite memories to a wider audience through "A Dash and a Dollop", a cookbook of favorite recipes.

19. Travel Activities


Immigrants have been entering American shores since 1492 and maybe earlier, according to historians. We are proud of our melting pot country and as a people enjoy talking about our foreign roots. This diverse tapestry can form the basis of an activity program that serves residents.

20. Summer School for Seniors

Pine Run University is a summer school-like program that takes place during a down time in the regularly scheduled activities offering 30 classes in the summer including Gardening, Belly Dancing, Italian, Flower Pressing, Photography, Art Techniques and Ethics.

22. Rekindling the Love of Reading

Shadowbox Press
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of opening the cover of a new book. Finding a comfortable spot and losing oneself in a page turning mystery story, the beauty of photos of far off lands in a coffee table travel book and the fun of unusual escapades of cute kittens. Reading can temporarily remove every day obstacles of work, noise and even pain and physical limitation. The magic of books is what Shadowbox Press brings to people living with dementia.

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