By Molly Wisniewski United States
Activity Professionals know first-hand just how much fun can be had in care homes and how vital their role is in keeping the residents in their care actively engaged.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate humour into your activities schedule, but it is your attitude and engagement in each of these activities that will bring about the most laughs for the residents.
Laughing together as a community is what will bring the brightest smiles to your activity. Here are five activities that encourage active participation of the whole community.
A comedy show is a large group activity that resident's, staff, and family can enjoy. You will need to do some planning so here is a good place to start:
A month before the event:
To entice staff to participate offer a lunch credit or first row parking spot to the staff member with the funniest jokes. Also, try inviting the Administrator or Director of Nursing, their support will be sure to encourage other staff members to get involved!
For the event:
This activity can be as elaborate as you want it to be, and offers a great opportunity for everyone to get together to have a bit of fun and a good laugh!
A laughing circle is a group of people who come together to laugh with one another. It is a common practice in Yoga groups and is best done during the morning. So, to start the week off on the right foot schedule a laughing circle on a Monday morning.
All you need for this activity is you and the residents. Create a large circle around the activities room and once everyone is in position, start laughing!
You will probably feel very silly at first, but the giggles are contagious and five minutes in you'll most likely have the whole circle in a fit of laughter! This doesn't need to be a long activity and works best as the opening to a Trivia or Exercise group!
Sounds of laughter carry, so don't be surprised when you find other staff members cracking a smile, too!
If you have fun so will the residents as they will be more inclined to belt and dance themselves if they see someone else is already doing it!
Encourage residents and staff to dress up in their funniest outfits or hand out whatever props you have stored in your activities closet. Once they are all dressed to the nines in the silliest fashion, start taking pictures.
At the end of the week, put all the pictures together in a slideshow and invite residents and staff to the activities room to watch!
This is an excellent opportunity to have a good-natured laugh with one another and ends the week on a cheerful note.
There are a number of popular comedy hour shows that the resident's will no doubt know and love.
Watching the classics is great for reminiscing and allows residents to share a bit of their history with the community.
Laughter in long-term care is so important and laughing as a community creates a more welcoming and friendly environment for residents and staff. Staying engaged as you provide each activity is a key in ensuring the residents get a true laugh.
We'd love to hear your feedback!
What laughter activities have you found are effective?