Nursing Home Activities: Get Outdoors!
The other day, I was passing our beautiful patio entrance, when I noted several of our residents returning from a trip to the movies and a shopping spree at Target.
The smiles on their faces and their shopping bags in hand literally warmed my heart!
As caregivers, we sometimes take for granted the fact that we are able to drive to and from work each day and spend time at home with family and maintain our daily lives outside of the facility.
Similarly, nursing home residents, even in the very best of facilities with the most beautiful amenities and spacious common areas, should not be made to spend every waking moment indoors.
In order for nursing home residents to thrive, they must be able to enjoy recreational activities and events outdoors, in all seasons and especially in the summertime when the weather is nice.
In fact, research published in the Journal of Aging Health demonstrates conclusively that spending time outside on a regular basis helps older people stay healthy and age more gracefully. Participants who spent time outdoors everyday at age 70 had fewer issues of aching bones or sleep apnea than those who were cooped up inside all day.
In addition, outdoor activities that involve social interaction between groups of seniors, has shown to help dementia and stroke sufferers improve their social skills while increasing their functional levels.
It is for the aforementioned reasons that our Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers incorporate beautiful and sprawling outdoor spaces with pristine landscaping and waterfalls for our patients and families to enjoy.
The challenge during this time of year as we enter into the winter season is to find a way to get our residents outside without compromising their health due to the inclement weather.
A proper nursing facility should prepare for this season well in advance by having their recreation department schedule a host of activities involving day trips to restaurants, shopping malls and even “movie nights” at the local theatre.
Many nursing homes will have their own buses or vans to accommodate their transportation needs. Alternatives for those nursing homes who do not maintain their own buses is to hire buses to transport their residents.
A happy and smiling resident is a healthy resident.
As caregivers, our primary mandate and responsibility is to maintain the health and wellbeing of our residents!
Taking them outdoors for fun and cheer goes a long way towards accomplishing this goal!