It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of caring for a loved one who is living in a nursing home. The sheer number of residents and the relentlessness of the work can make it feel like you're stuck in an endless cycle. But it's important to take a step back and remember that your loved one is still a person, with feelings and desires. Here are some ways to help them reconnect with family and restore their human dignity.
1. Get to Know Your Residents to Help Residents Reconnect with Family
One of the best ways to get to know your residents is to ask about their interests and hobbies. This information can help you plan and design activities that will help residents reconnect with their families. For example, if you have a resident who enjoys gardening, you could create a gardening club or set up a garden in the community. If you have a resident who loves to cook, you could create a cooking class or host a potluck dinner. By getting to know your residents, you can create an environment that is tailored to their interests and needs.
2. Plan Group Activities Everyone Can Enjoy
Plan group activities that everyone can enjoy, like picnics, nature walks, or trips to the park
When planning group activities, it is important to keep in mind the needs and preferences of everyone involved. After all, no one wants to be stuck in a situation where they are not having any fun or feeling left out.
One way to ensure that everyone can enjoy your group outings is to focus on activities that are inherently social, like picnics, nature walks, or trips to the park. These types of outings eliminate the need for anyone to be a spectator or take on a particular role in order to get involved. Whether you're sitting around a picnic table enjoying a delicious meal or exploring winding trails in the woods together, your group will be sure to have a great time together. So why not get out there and start planning some fun group activities today?
3. Encourage residents to spend time one-on-one with friends or family members
Friends and family members are an essential part of our lives, providing us with love, support, and companionship. However, in today's busy world, it can be difficult to find time to spend with the people we care about. One way to encourage residents to spend time one-on-one with friends or family members is to provide opportunities for them to do so.
For example, you could create a social room where residents can meet and spend time together. You could also organize group activities that encourage residents to interact with one another. By providing opportunities for socializing, you can help residents stay connected to the people they care about and make lasting memories.
4. Let them take breaks as needed and respect their need for rest
When caring for a person who is aging or in long-term care, it is vital that we acknowledge the need for rest and re-connection. Remaining stuck in the present and struggling to keep up with current events can be deeply exhausting, both mentally and physically.
That is why it is so important to build in time for breaks when possible, even if they are just short moments of downtime to recharge. This might mean providing opportunities for residents to take a walk around the neighborhood, listen to a favorite song or book on tape, or do a relaxing activity like sketching or painting.
Whatever it may be, these small moments of respite can help make all the difference in supporting our loved ones through this difficult journey. At the same time, you also need to remember to show compassion toward yourselves as caregivers. It is vital that you remember to care for your own needs and maintain self-care practices so that you can continue providing the best possible care to those you love.
5. Getting Outside to Help Residents Reconnect
Whenever you're planning an outdoor activity, it's important to keep safety in mind. There are inherent dangers in any activity, but there are also steps you can take to minimize those risks. For example, on hot days it's essential to have plenty of water and sunscreen available. You should also make sure that everyone participating in the activity is capable of doing so. By taking simple precautions, you can help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
6. Have fun – Facilitate a time for relaxation and enjoyment
The most important thing is for residents and their families to have fun and enjoy being together. Everything should be planned and facilitated with that in mind. Anytime is the perfect time for residents and their families to reconnect and have some much-needed downtime. Of course, it's important to be mindful when planning activities and events.
Whatever you do, your goal should be to make sure everyone has fun and enjoys being together. Whether that means setting up activities for residents or leading outdoor games, just remember that the most important thing is for everyone to have a good time.
Ready to Get Started and Help Residents Reconnect?
We hope these tips will help you make the most of your activity planning and help your residents reconnect. If you need some additional help getting started, be sure to check out our 14 Days of Storytelling. These activities are perfect for group events, and they’re sure to get your residents excited about spending time together.