Common Activities for the Elderly in Nursing Homes

Common Activities For The Elderly In Nursing Homes

Knowing what activities the facility offers will give you peace of mind and a better understanding of their daily lives, whether you or a loved one is transitioning into a nursing home or assisted living facility.

If you are wondering what fun activities you can find in nursing homes or assisted living communities, this article will give you a glimpse of various engaging activities for seniors and how important they are for the well-being of your older loved ones.

This article will provide a glimpse of a variety of interesting activities for seniors and how crucial they are for the well-being of your elderly loved ones if you’re wondering what enjoyable activities you can discover in nursing homes or assisted living communities.

The Importance Of Nursing Home Activities To Residents

The social, physical, and spiritual well-being of individuals living in long-term care homes is enhanced through nursing home activities, providing psychological benefits to residents.

According to studies, leisure activities in nursing homes helps to:

  • Reduce feeling agitated, depressed, and anxious
  • Foster independence and dignity
  • Reduce loneliness
  • Establish a framework and a sense of normalcy

They are also essential to providing longer-term care facilities like nursing homes with more person-centered care. Activities in nursing homes can help people remember the pastimes they previously loved.

The Benefits Of Nursing Home Activities

  • Social Support: Additionally, by participating in these activities, residents can develop strong bonds with their peers, deep friendships, and a network of support within the nursing home. Although some residents might have visiting relatives, others might not, resulting in depression and loneliness. As a result, participating actively in the nursing home community enhances residents’ psychological and social well-being and lessens their loneliness and melancholy symptoms.
  • A Sense of Structure and Routine: Residents are less likely to experience confusion, tension, or anxiety when they have a daily schedule because it gives them a sense of dependability. Seniors benefit from routines because they increase their sense of security and safety.
  • Improved Sleep Schedules: Insomnia, cognitive decline, the danger of falling, daytime exhaustion, and the degradation of physical and mental health are all reduced, according to studies, when daily routines are maintained. 
  • Better Quality of Life: According to studies, participation in social and recreational activities affects the standard of living in nursing homes. Particularly when they engage in an activity that calls upon previously acquired abilities from their working days, nursing home residents benefit from a variety of activity programs because it offers them a sense of independence, dignity, and purpose. 

4 Types of Nursing Home Activities 

1. Social Activities

Nursing facilities must encourage social activities that encourage residents to form friendships, as was previously indicated. Residents gain from this because they feel less alone and are more engaged in the neighborhood. Residents will also get better sleep and manage their physical health better while slowing cognitive deterioration.

Popular social activities include the following:

  • Birthday parties
  • Coffee shop chats
  • Ice cream social gatherings
  • Church services
  • Resident book clubs
  • Holidays and festive celebrations

2. Physical Activities

Maintaining physical mobility is crucial for elders to be healthy and robust. Fall risk will be decreased, blood pressure will be controlled, and mental and cognitive abilities will be enhanced.

Seniors with restricted mobility can engage in the following physical activities:

  • Light stretching or exercising
  • Gardening
  • Walking
  • Chair yoga

3. Creative Activities

Creative activities are the best way for residents to hone their motor skills and stimulate their minds. They are especially helpful for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients because they lessen agitation, anxiety, disorientation, and rage symptoms.

Several well-liked artistic pursuits include:

  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Paper crafting
  • Decorating baked goods
  • Ceramics and pottery painting

4. Cognitive Activities

Nursing facilities must make an effort to plan more mentally engaging activities that will enhance cognitive function and help residents maintain more independence. Residents’ memory retrieval improves the more cognitively active their thoughts are, which increases their participation in cognitive activities.

The activities program at a nursing home must stimulate residents’ bodies and minds.

The best mental activities for seniors include:

  • playing board games and trivia
  • solving crosswords, sudoku, and word search problems
  • instrument playing
  • acquiring knowledge on how to use smartphones and tablets

The Rules for Activity Programs

Activity programs in long-term care facilities are regulated by the federal regulations codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The regulation on activity programs in nursing homes states that the “facility should provide, based on the comprehensive assessment and care plan and the preferences of each resident, an ongoing program to support residents in their choice of activities, both facility-sponsored group and individual activities and independent activities, designed to meet the interests of and support the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident, encouraging both independence and interaction in the community.”

The facility aims to determine each resident’s requirements and interests before involving them in a continuous program of activities catered to their preferences.

Additionally, the program should enhance each resident’s maximum feasible degree of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Although assisted living activities are not as strictly controlled, many facilities adhere to nursing home regulations.


It is not unknown that a lack of social interaction and stimulation for seniors can lead to harmful care outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. Hence, activities for the elderly in nursing homes have to be prioritized and encouraged.

When looking for an ideal nursing home, it’s best to consider what activities they offer to the residents and how they keep them engaged to ensure that you or your loved ones get the stimulation and activities necessary to improve their well-being.