People with limited mobility, whether due to illness or frailty, often face feelings of isolation and boredom.
In long-term care facilities, residents with limited mobility may have a range of conditions, including mild dementia and more severe health issues. They often do not leave their beds unless staff assist them into a wheelchair or a comfortable chair.
To address these challenges and enhance their well-being, it is crucial to provide residents with meaningful and engaging activities that can significantly improve their quality of life.
One of the most precious gifts you can offer is your undivided attention. Let them know that they are loved and valued, and that they have not been forgotten. If you find yourself short on time, find volunteers who can help you in this meaningful endeavor.
Here are some one-on-one activity ideas that can help you maximize the time you spend with residents. Tailor these activities to suit the individual preferences and needs of each resident.
1. Learn Some Words in a New Language:
Learning a few words from different languages can be a fun and engaging way to connect with non-English speaking residents. Simple phrases like "good morning" or "hello" can brighten their day and foster a sense of inclusion.
2. Enjoy Brain Games:
Provide books with riddles, quizzes, word searches, Sudoku, and arithmetic logic puzzles. Solving puzzles together not only stimulates the mind but also creates a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.
Related: Collection of Riddles
3. Write a Letter or Read a Poem:
Encourage residents to write cards or letters to friends and family, or read poems aloud to them. This activity promotes emotional expression and reminiscence, fostering meaningful conversations.
Related: Poetry to Share
4. Visit the Garden:
Ensure that individuals with limited mobility have opportunities to spend time outdoors, even in shaded areas. Exposure to natural light and fresh air can improve their well-being and circadian rhythms.
Related: Outdoor Activities
5. Provide a Bird Companion:
For those who enjoy solitary activities, consider introducing a feisty budgie as a companion. This can provide comfort and a source of distraction in their own room, with assistance from staff or volunteers for care.
6. Entertain with Old-Time Movies & TV Shows:
Offer a selection of magazines, books, and DVDs based on residents' preferences. Watching movies or TV shows and discussing them afterward is a wonderful way to engage and connect.
7. Offer Comfort Gifts:
Consider providing comforting items such as warm socks, satin pillows, tote bags, or sensory blankets. These thoughtful gifts can enhance their comfort and sensory stimulation.
Related: How to Make TwiddleMuffs
8. Provide a Relaxing Massage:
Consult with senior health staff before giving massages to bed-bound residents. Using essential oils for hand or foot massages can provide comfort and relief while facilitating conversations.
Related: Aromatherapy for the Elderly
9. Indulge in Delicious Food:
Discover residents' favorite foods and offer them as a special treat. If you have a diverse group, engage relatives in group cooking sessions to prepare dishes from their countries of origin.
Related: Cooking Activities
10. Get Active with Upper Body Exercises:
Engage in upper body exercises through activities like balloon games or singing songs with actions. This helps residents maintain physical function and adds a fun element.
Related: Activities Incorporating Exercise
11. Become a Beauty Therapist for the Ladies:
Offer pampering sessions by moisturizing their faces, combing their hair, doing their nails, and applying lipstick if desired. This act of care can boost self-esteem and well-being.
Related: Beauty Therapy Activity
12. Make Paper Airplanes with the Men:
Spend quality time with male residents by learning to make interesting paper airplanes together. This activity can spark creativity and reminiscence.
Related: Paper Planes Reminiscing Game
13. Stimulate the Senses with Mobiles and Wind Chimes:
Hang mobiles with various themes from the ceiling, allowing residents to enjoy visual stimulation. Changing the mobiles weekly can keep their environment fresh and engaging.
Related: Sensory Stimulation with Wind Chimes
14. Play Music:
Music is a powerful mood enhancer. Tune in to their preferred radio station or provide an iPod with a playlist of their favorite songs. Explore music from their culture if they speak a language other than English.
15. Put together some jigsaw puzzles
Large jigsaw puzzles with beautiful images can be a source of entertainment and reminiscence. These puzzles can be placed on the bedside table for easy access.
Remember the best gift you can give a person with limited mobility is your time; just being there to hear them or hold their hand and helping them feel loved, valued, and connected.
We'd love to hear your feedback!
What activities have you found to work well for people confined to bed?