If you have a parent or loved one that lives in an assisted living facility, you know that it is the best thing for them, but it can become hard to stay connected. Visiting frequently, going on outings, doing fun activities and celebrating with them on big occasions shows your elderly loved ones how much you care and love spending time with them.

Many people are concerned about what to do with their older family members and what types of activities are appropriate. The truth is that your visit will be the real highlight and spending time with their loved ones will always be meaningful. It can be difficult to find the right activities, so here is a list of 10 fun things to do with people living in nursing homes or assisted living residences.

  1. Stay connected with family and keep up with visits
    Visiting your loved ones in care communities is so important for maintaining their relationships. Staying connected with family reminds our parents and grandparents that we love them and will not forget about them. You could also bring family members with you when you are visiting, especially children and teens who may be unable or nervous to visit on their own.Bringing shared activities to do with younger family members, such as puzzles, art projects or games, will help the generations bond in a fun and engaging way. The children could also bring their own things to share with their grandparents and elderly family. Photos and videos of family trips, sports matches and school events help them experience things that are becoming harder to be directly involved in.As much as possible, include your family members living in care communities in family events, celebrations and news. If they cannot attend in person, make sure you discuss the event, show them footage of celebrations and keep them up to date on the latest family gossip. Parents and grandparents in care communities love to be part of the action as much they can.
  1. Listen to music together
    Music is often referred to as a universal language. Music feeds the soul, boosts your mood and increases happiness, especially when shared with people you care about. When visiting your loved ones, bring a speaker system or connect to theirs and play a beautiful, curated playlist. Introduce them to new music that you love and revisit all of their old favourites, together.
  1. Tell stories over old photos and videos
    Looking over old photos and videos is a fantastic and fulfilling way to spend time with your older loved ones. This gives them an opportunity to share stories, reminisce over past adventures and celebrate their incredible lives. As mentioned before, the same goes for new photos and videos of their family, friends and loved ones, which gives them an opportunity to keep up with everybody.
  1. Bring along a family pet
    If your loved one is an animal lover, they would probably be ecstatic to see a beloved family pet or meet a new furry friend. Petting and interacting with cats and dogs is an incredibly therapeutic activity for those living in care facilities. Research has shown that playing with animals can reduce stress, blood pressure, anxiety and heart rate in elderly people.
  1. Enjoy a meal together
    Eating together is one of the most wonderful social activities we do with our families. Consider taking your elderly family member to their favourite restaurant or bringing a prepared picnic to share in the garden. If they are physically unable to leave their residence, you could share in their favourite snacks or enjoy a meal in the community dining room.
  1. Get out for some fresh air
    Physical or mental disability can make some activities more difficult than others. In addition, it can have a negative impact on your loved one’s motivation and willingness to exercise or get some fresh air. Rather than staying in their room, try taking them outside for a leisurely walk and help them move around with their walking aids or pushing their wheelchair, if needed.
  1. Take your loved one on a short outing
    For people living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, being taken on a short outing can be a real treat, total reprieve and fun activity. If their health permits, they are almost certain to have favourite places and people they would love to visit. Something as simple as a walk in the park or cup of coffee with family could make their week.
  1. Treat them with a massage or manicure
    The therapeutic effects of massages, manicures and other body treatments are fun and underindulged. You could pamper your loved one with a good body or hand massage, a brief pedicure or hair care. If you feel incapable or unsure of what to do, you could hire professional masseurs or beauticians to do a house call during your visit.
  1. Read out loud for them
    Much like music, revisiting favourite stories or hearing new ones through literature is a wonderful way to spend some time with a loved one. This could be an ongoing activity where you read a few chapters on each visit. Although their own ability to read may be impaired, reading to – or with – your loved ones will give them and you a chance to connect over fascinating stories.
  1. Watch a TV show or movie together
    Spending time together watching an old favourite film or discovering new TV series can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones. You could consider signing them up for a Netflix account or bring along a laptop on your next visit. You could watch a few episodes each visit or find a new movie to enjoy every other visit. This is a great way to enjoy each other’s company and explore new stories together.

Making the decision of where your loved ones are going to live as they retire and get older is one of the most important lifestyle choices for their comfort, happiness and wellbeing. If you are considering where your loved one is going to call home in this next chapter of their lives – consider one of Manor Retirement’s beautiful and bustling communities.