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14 engaging activities that seniors can enjoy in residential aged care

Making the move into residential aged care? Here are some of the great activities you can expect to be on offer in your new home.

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Accessible gardening

06 March 2024

Stories | Aged Care Homes

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Making the decision to move into residential aged care can be an emotional time. A care home may not be where you or your loved one ever expected to call home, but the new environment often greatly improves wellbeing - and not only by providing quality, round-the-clock care.

Recent studies have shown that engagement in leisure activities around the everyday care routine is an important indicator of quality of life in residential aged care.

Residential aged care homes offer a leisure program full of engaging and meaningful activities, tailored to residents’ interests.

We’ve listed some of the activities you can expect to be on offer below.

Key takeaways:

● Getting involved in physical, mental, and social activities in residential aged care is crucial for your health and wellbeing

● You have a say in what leisure activities are on offer in your aged care home, with programs tailored to residents’ interests

● You can be involved in as many leisure activities as you like.

Social activities in residential aged care

Social activities in residential aged care
Book clubs are a great way to engage with fellow residents and discuss topics that interest you.

Whether you love meeting new people or tend to prefer your own company, building relationships within the care home community is good for your mental health and will help you feel anchored in your new home.

Why not try some of the following activities:

1. Join a book club

Are you a book worm? Joining a book club takes your love of reading to the next level! As well as offering a great opportunity to meet others with similar interests, book clubs spark interesting and engaging conversations around topics that interest you.

2. Bingo

Bingo is always a firm favourite amongst the care home community and brings people together from all walks of life. Work up a friendly competitive spirit and get to know some new faces in your care home.

Most homes will also facilitate dementia-accessible versions of the game, with alternative audio and visual cues.

3. Day trips

Day Trips

Group outings into the community are a highlight activity for many residents.

Whether it be a trip to an art exhibition, a picnic lunch with a view, or a visit to the theatre, day trips are often a regular fixture in the leisure program.

Mentally engaging activities in residential aged care

Keeping your mind active is one of the best ways to prevent or delay cognitive decline in later life. Try some of these activities for a good mental workout:

4. Brain games

Not only do games like memory, sudoku, crosswords, chess, scrabble, and cards alleviate stress and promote better mental health, they also give your brain a good stretch. In fact, studies have shown that brain games such as these can help maintain and even strengthen such areas as memory, reasoning and speed of processing in older adults.

5. Jigsaw puzzles

Spending time doing a jigsaw puzzle also does amazing things for your brain. As well as strengthening your short-term memory and visual-spatial reasoning, jigsaw puzzles are also a great meditative tool that promotes mindfulness and a sense of calm.

6. Get creative

Get creative

If you’ve always enjoyed being creative, there are lots of activities available in residential aged care to pique your interest, including:

● Stitching and quilting groups

● Knitting circles

● Men’s shed activities

● Painting

● Flower pressing

Some care homes will open local markets from time to time, allowing residents to sell their work to the wider community.

7. Join a musical group

If music has always been your thing, you might like to join the community choir if they have one.

Music appreciation groups are a great activity for reminiscing on your ‘golden era’ of music.

Care homes often facilitate instrument sessions for all levels of mobility, too.

Join a musical group

Activities to stay physically active in residential aged care

The benefits of physical exercise in later life cannot be overestimated. Studies have shown that even just a short amount of gentle exercise each day can greatly improve:

● Your muscle strength and mobility

● Your balance, reducing your risk of falls

● Your brain health and cognitive function

● Your mental health

● The quality of your sleep

There are plenty of physical activities on offer in residential aged care, even if you have reduced mobility. Consider some of the following ideas:

8. Accessible gardening

Accessible gardening

Gardening provides great exercise out in the fresh air, as well as engaging your creativity, strategic thinking, and problem solving – all of which are fantastic for your brain health!

Many residential aged care homes offer accessible gardening facilities, with raised garden beds that can be tended from a wheelchair. Ask your Lifestyle Coordinator for more details.

9. Chair aerobics

Chair aerobics

Chair-based exercise classes are lots of fun and an excellent way to keep fit. Each exercise can be modified, meaning that nearly everyone can take part.

These sessions will raise your heart rate, burn calories, and build muscle strength, all of which greatly benefits your health.

10. Dance

Available from standing or in a seated position, dance classes are another excellent way to get your body moving.

Whether you love swing, waltz, jazz, or rock and roll (or anything in between!), learning some new moves can be great fun and gets you chatting with fellow residents and staff.

Cultural and spiritual activities in residential aged care

Residential aged care facilities are home to people from a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.

At BaptistCare, supporting residents’ cultural and spiritual wellbeing is one of our highest priorities.

You might consider getting involved in some of the following activities at your care home:

11. Special cultural events

Special cultural events

Celebrating special events like Mother’s Day, NAIDOC week, Oktoberfest, Lunar New Year, or the Melbourne Cup is often a regular occurrence in residential aged care, with the resident community choosing which dates or cultural celebrations to mark.

The events could be marked by a special meal, dressing up, or even a concert put on by visiting performers! Family members are always welcome to join in the celebrations!

12. Armchair travel

If you enjoy learning about diverse cultures, you might choose to “armchair travel” to a faraway place. This popular activity usually includes watching a short film about your destination and learning about local art, cuisine, and cultural practices. Don’t forget your passport!

13. Movie afternoons

Always a favourite, movie and documentary afternoons are organised regularly throughout the week, often led by the residents’ choice of content.

14. Chaplaincy support

Chaplaincy support

Chaplains are there to support your spiritual wellbeing, in whatever form that takes for you. You don’t have to be religious to receive chaplaincy support, nor do you need to follow the Christian faith.

Chaplains will support you in rediscovering what you love most in life, and can offer a caring, listening ear whenever you need it.

At BaptistCare, our care homes have a dedicated chaplain who will take time to get to know you when you first arrive. They are available to meet with you regularly, in a one-on-one setting, or alongside your family.

Many of our care homes also incorporate a chapel, with optional church services occurring several times per month.

Learn more about chaplaincy support at BaptistCare, here .

Find BaptistCare aged care services near me

If you would like to know more about BaptistCare residential aged care services, why not chat with one of our friendly team – we’d be happy to talk with you about your situation and care needs, and can arrange a tour around your nearest BaptistCare residential aged care home.

Use our simple online search tool to explore BaptistCare Aged Care Home locations across New South Wales and the ACT.

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