By Molly Wisniewski United States
Developing an activities calendar that is age-appropriate for residents is so important. Singing nursery rhymes and coloring can be popular activities for older adults but we must ensure that these types of activities are conducted in dignified and age-appropriate ways.
Here are examples of how you can adapt activities that are often considered 'childish' to ensure they are age-appropriate.
Many older adults will enjoy singing nursery rhymes from their childhood. Even people living with dementia can often recall the lines of songs from their youth.
Popular nursery rhymes include:
When using nursery rhymes in an activity, make sure that any CD or Video you use to accompany the activity is age-appropriate. Avoid anything that is specifically targeted to babies and small children.
Related: Nursery Rhyme Game
Coloring can be a relaxing activity for residents, including those living with dementia. However, coloring with crayons and using kids color-in pages or traditional coloring books can be inappropriate for older adults.
Instead, seek coloring pages that have been specifically designed for older adults.
Try these printable and age appropriate coloring pages on Golden Carers:
Read more on the benefits of coloring and find even more printable pages here:
The Benefits of Coloring-in for the Elderly
Doll therapy can be a very successful intervention for older adults living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. To comfort a baby doll can bring a great deal of joy and rekindle memories of the past.
Doll Therapy Dos to Don'ts:
Visitors, staff, and even other residents may question why the resident is holding a baby doll. It is helpful to be able to explain to them the benefits of nurturing a doll and the appropriateness of this intervention for the person in question.
Related: Doll Therapy & Dementia
These days it can be challenging to find family-friendly TV shows or movies that are suitable to watch with the residents. Because of this, it may seem appropriate to put on cartoons or 'kids' movies for the residents to watch.
Watching cartoons is appropriate when:
At other times, it is better to choose age-appropriate movies and shows from yesteryear. Try these popular movies and TV shows:
Age-appropriateness should be considered for every activity on our calendars. This ultimately needs to assessed on a case by case basis and will depend on how and why the activity is conducted.
The most important thing is to ensure that the residents are engaged and enjoying the activity.
Watching cartoons, coloring in children's coloring books, and even children's puzzles are inappropriate options to provide residents.
As professionals, we should always be mindful of the age-appropriateness of activities and search for versions of childhood favorites that are suitable for older adults.