It is not uncommon for seniors living in assisted-living facilities to lack mental stimulation and social contact.  Recreation Therapists often use one-on-one visits to respond to the needs of those who avoid social settings. There are many enjoyable games and activities that can keep minds and bodies strong and active.
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It is not uncommon for seniors living in assisted-living facilities to lack mental stimulation and social contact.

This is especially true for people who are loners by nature or those who have lived on their own for a long period of time. They may choose to stay in their rooms all day and decline to participate in programmed activities.

Related: 15 Activities for Loners and Introverted Seniors

One-on-One visits for the Elderly

Recreation Therapists often use one-on-one visits to respond to the needs of those who avoid social settings. There are many enjoyable games and activities that can keep minds and bodies strong and active.

One-on-one visits provide caregivers with the opportunity to develop rapport and trust with individuals, which is so important in residential care settings.

How to Make the Most of a One-on-One Visit:

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Prepare yourself mentally beforehand by spending a few minutes thinking about the person; try to put yourself in their shoes. Take a look at their 'Profile' form and see if there are hobbies or interests you can talk about.

Early Morning is Best

Schedule the visit for early in the morning when residents are more alert. Alternatively, visit mid afternoon after lunch and rest time. Make them feel special by sending a note: "Hi Linda, if it suits you, I will be coming by tomorrow for a chat and a cup of tea!"

Eye Contact is Important

On arrival, look them in the eyes and give them a hug. Set the right tone with a warm greeting and then sit down in front of the resident at eye level.

Use Props

If you need to, bring a 'helping hand' such as a flower, some seasonal fruit, some interesting media headlines, or a home baked biscuit. Props can trigger reminiscing and help start a conversation.

Reduce Background Noise

Turn off the TV and radio and close the door if loud noises are coming through.

Pay Attention to Body Language

Pay attention to the resident's body language as well as your own. If you are wringing your hands or looking at the clock, it sends a message that you don't want to be there. On the other hand if they are nodding off to sleep or avoiding eye contact, make an excuse and come back when the resident is more receptive.

A Change of Scenery can be a Good Thing

If your meetings are always in the bedroom, try a change of scenery. A veranda or garden setting are good alternatives.

12 Ideas for One-on-One Visits with the Elderly

1. Read Aloud

Read aloud something funny such as a poem or a joke.

Related: Poems to Share and Jokes for the Elderly

2. Play Games

Play simple puzzles or board games together.

Related: Games for Seniors

3. Enjoy Trivia

Bring along some trivia quizzes or word games.

Related: Word Games and Trivia

4. Look Through Photo Albums

Look through a family photo album together or make a scrapbook album together.

Related: Recycled Magazine Scrapbooks

5. Story Telling

Ask them to tell you a story about their life. Suggest school life, childhood friends, sports, siblings, their mother's cooking, and their pets.

Related: Reminiscing Activities for Seniors

6. Bring Along Magazines or Books of Interest

Find out what sorts of things were of interest to them in the past; a fisherman may enjoy looking at pictures of fish and a quilter may enjoy looking at quilt magazines.

7. Show Interest in their Culture and Background

If the resident comes from another country, get hold of a few quizzes or interesting facts about the country to talk about.

Multicultural Activities

8. Listen to the Radio Together

Music, talk-back, talking books, science programs, ethnic programs.

9. Enjoy Fresh Air & Sunshine

Take a walk in the garden and reminisce about their previous life at home. Was he/she a keen gardener?

Related: Outdoor Activities

10. Offer a Gentle Massage

Offer a gentle shoulder or hand massage.

Related: Hand Massage & Nail Care

11. Be Genuine

Be genuine, your attitude will make or break a visit. If you are not there in body and soul they will sense it and become indifferent.

12. Be Patient

If the resident has advanced dementia, be prepared to repeat conversations as needed; look at pictures in the room and ask questions, admire clothes and hair.

Good Luck!


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Comments   Post a Comment

Georgia 5th Feb 2017
My mother is 88, still loves at home. My brother works out of the home office 5-6 days a week, often spends the night there or takes her out of town on the weekends. I live out of tow, 2-4 hour drive one way, so I can only come down once or twice a month for a couple of days at a time. My other 2 siblings live in town but work full time so it's hard for them to be there every day. My mom has PT twice a week, someone comes to the house twice a week to do swimming exercises and we have someone come over twice a week to take her grocery shopping or run errands or help around the house. Practically every day my mom is emptying drawers and closets, getting rid of new and good item, as well as many items we are donating. We are finding perfectly good items in the trash too. She has a rather large house and many items and it's driving my brother crazy and some closets she has emptied 7 times, and she can't remember. She has lost all interest in socializing with any friends. I would like to hire someone that would be like a caring angel to just come and interact with her, play a game, etc so she stays out of trouble when family can't be with her. If I lived closer and did not have a family of my own and work, I would be there more often. Any suggestions on who I can hire? She lives in San Diego.
Talita 13th Feb 2017
Hi Georgia, it sounds like a challenging time. This would be a great question to ask on our facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ActivitiesForSeniors/

I wish you all the best.
Tena Scallan 9th Jan 2017
Wonderful suggestions
Talita 9th Jan 2017
Thanks for your feedback Tena
Remya 28th Apr 2016
I tried playing word games solving puzzles. Chatting with them. Some help in foldings or sorting more of a functional activity. Generally it can be 5 to 10min. But even if you had a chat it can be social and emotional support.
Jennifer 8th Jan 2014
There are no time frames under ACFI as there was under Question19 when the funding system was RCS. Obviously you cannot do a good job my saying hi and walking out the door without spending time addressing the identified issue with the client.
Morena 8th Jan 2014
to Kerry; 1:1 room visits. should be between 10 to 15 minutes.
one on one room visit / 1:1 interaction are very important part for long term resident living in facilitates. As this help to give resident a social and emotional support that may require when resident does not participate in general activities is lonely or depressed, confused, scared, angry, frustrated weepy, anxious. In this way recreational staff can implement special program or games interested to the resident and given them the opportunity to reminisce and to build on self esteem.

Regards
Morena
Bianca 22nd Dec 2013
In response to Kerry, 1:1 duration or frequency is not prescribed by the accreditation agency. A smile and a quick hello also constitutes 1:1 interaction. If a residents is specifically visited for behaviour intervention (such as identified social isolation) for any number of minutes this ought be recorded as behaviour intervention strategies rather than a 1:1 visit. This way you can evaluate the effectiveness of your intervention when you complete your Resident Of the Day, Evaluation or Review process. Thus demonstrating [for accreditation and client monitoring purposes]continuous improvement and your also ensuring you have identified your Elders corrects needs and addressed them in the appropriate fashion.
Kim 5th Dec 2013
These are terrific ideas.1on1 visits are not always easy to conduct.your suggestions give some great ideas for breaking the ice.I will certainly give them a go.Thank you.
Roslyn 4th Dec 2013
this is such a great tip, so many times i am asked how to talk to people 1-1, and its hard to just come up with the right answer on the spot. I find it very easy to talk to people, but then again i have been in this job as a DT for almost 16 years and neary 20yrs in Aged Care. Newbies could learn a great deal from this. Thanks again.
Kerry 4th Dec 2013
Can you please tell me if 1:1 visits must last at least 15 minute duration for it to be recorded as 1:1. Thanks Kerry
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