Creating All-inclusive Activities Programs Within the Long Term Care Environment

Activities are a vital part of everyday life.  They help give purpose and track time while “Staying engaged physically, mentally and emotionally” (Hannah Goodman, Activities Team Member). 

Our interests, hobbies and daily routines change as we age.  As a child, we learn responsibility by preparing daily for school.  Children develop hobbies participating in weekend adventures with friends and family.  As we mature, we transition to a more grueling schedule.  We juggle kids, work, grocery shopping and household repair projects with little time for hobbies.

What happens when we retire? 

Our “routines” change again.  We have more time to focus on hobbies with fewer responsibilities.  That’s when reality hits and we realize how much our mind and body has changed L.  Are the golden years really that golden?  (Honestly, I think golden years are when we are 18-25 and life is much simpler, but hey!)

Without routines, you may feel a lack of focus and concentration leading to increased stress, anxiety and depression! (VeryWellMind.com

Often as therapists we hear “I’m too old to have fun” and that’s just not true!  “I used to play soft Ball….. golf…. garden…. paint…”   Don’t avoid your hobbies, adapt to them. But how? That’s where we come in!

“I love seeing the residents happy and enjoying activities”

Patty Bowling, Activities Director

The Activities team at The Anderson work hard to find ways to enjoy your life long hobbies while promoting physical and mental wellbeing.

The staff get to know resident routines, self-care needs and interests developing activities around their preferences.  This includes one-on-one visits providing time to talk, listen or just be the center of attention

Want to garden but use a wheelchair now? How about trying a raised garden or potted plants?  Like to play sports but can’t run? No problem, we offer seated volleyball, balloon hockey and Wii Bowling!

“Activities are so much more than what’s on the calendar”

Kelly Honaker – Activities Team Member

Want to paint but afraid your hands aren’t strong or steady enough to paint in the lines? We love Picasso! Have fun, think outside the lines and make your own beauty.

Want to take care of something again?  Adopt a bird feeder and watch your birdy friends enjoy a daily snack.  Or maintain a potted plant in a common area and enjoy the fruits of your labor as it grows.

The challenge for the clients AND staff is adapting to suit the needs of changing minds and bodies! Thinking outside the box is not easy! 

“It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and making new friends sometimes.”

Hannah Vargas, Activities Team Member

Painting is a full sensory activity.  High level clients with fairly “normal” cognition and body function can participate in painting instruction classes like those provided in the community. 

Someone with less strength can work on abstract art with less “in the lines” expectations and more creative licensing.  Others with dementia can participate in more sensory based finger painting – even using colored whipped cream to ensure safety and fun! 

Enjoy building and fixing things? Our team can find woodworking kits using tools to assembling projects.  No matter the challenge, we have options thanks to the creativity and dedication of our wonderful Activities team and supporting community members!

“Activities create happy memories for residents and employees.”

Sophia Grote, Activities Team Member

If you have ideas or wish to volunteer or donate items to activities we are always open to suggestions!  Contact us today.