Assisted Living residents’ days tend to be routine and, sometimes, downright boring. Talking with a client’s daughter this morning, we brainstormed a few great ideas for family members and caregivers to inject some fun and novelty in your loved one’s week.
- Sending and receiving mail (snail mail using paper, pen and a postage stamp) is the way our aging loved ones communicated with their family and friends. This creative daughter sometimes sends a stamped, self-addressed card along with a card and note to her mom at her assisted living community. So all her mom has to do is write a note, enclose it in the stamped envelope, seal it and give it the front desk receptionist to be mailed. Love this idea! And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, what a perfect time to give this idea a try.
- A fun activity for male and female residents is a walk down memory lane by looking at post cards from her/his hometown. I found lots of Raleigh, NC landmark post cards on Ebay here. Bonus points if you can find a city map from your loved one’s early adult years.
- Bring and watch an old movie with your loved one at their assisted living. Bonus points for bringing popcorn and candy! The important part of this activity is the gift of your time. Who wants to watch a movie alone? I watched The Sound of Music with a dear client last week. We both enjoyed it! You can ask the assisted living activities director or coordinator if you can borrow the movie room during off-peak hours.
- Take your aging mom, grand-mom, aunt, etc., for a hair appointment outside the assisted living facility. All the older ladies in my family went to the “beauty parlor” faithfully for a wash, set, and style. If you can’t take time off from work, usually you can hire an off-duty caregiver or a senior concierge service for 1-2 hours to accompany your loved one for this much-loved outing. Before and after photos are fun to share with your her family and friends.
- Polish some silverware, silver jewelry, and serving ware. Come on, you know you have some tarnished treasures tucked away somewhere that otherwise will never be cleaned! Polishing silver was an important household activity to our elders. Their silver pieces were valuable to them and they took good care of them back in the day. A silver polishing cloth and cream are the only tools required. This is a meaningful activity with a satisfying outcome. If you have time to be a polish partner, it is possible that you will hear a great story about this or that family heirloom.