While much of in-home elder care revolves around assisting clients with hygiene, meal preparation and medication reminders, home care agencies can provide an additional service by encouraging caregivers to spend downtime engaging with seniors in mentally stimulating (and fun!) activities.
1. Playing Cards: As simple as it sounds, playing card games such as bridge, pinochle or a friendly round of poker can be wonderful brain exercise and entertainment for caregivers and senior clients alike. Basic strategy and math concepts help keep the brain sharp, while the playing time also offers a chance for personal connections. Consider talking to client families about scheduling game time as a task in your homecare software or homecare system to increase companionship time and equip caregivers with a deck of large print playing cards.
2. Bocce Ball: Seniors who are physically capable of walking and simple exercise may find pleasure in a round of bocce ball. This simple game can be set up in any small yard and game sets are available for as little as $15 at most recreation stores. As seniors and caregivers throw the lightweight balls, seniors will be getting in some light exercise and time outdoors for a quick mood booster. Ask caregivers to note this time in your homecare software or homecare system to gauge the level of client activity.
3. Word Games: Old fashioned word games like Scrabble, Boggle or a crossword puzzle are a stellar way to keep the mind sharp. Caregivers can assist clients with crossword puzzles while they also complete some light housekeeping, or challenge seniors to a shift-long game of Scrabble to keep the interaction going off and on. Remind caregivers to note a senior’s desire to interact, or not, in your homecare software. This may also be a good indicator as to changes in the client’s mood.
4.Technology-based Games: iPads and laptops offer access to thousands of apps ranging from memory builders to simple strategy games. While some seniors are resistant to technology, others find it refreshing to learn how to use a new device. Consider arming your caregivers with a tablet that acts as both a portal for your homecare software or homecare system, as well as offers access to senior-friendly game apps. Ask us here at ClearCare how we can help!
5. Art: Art is often used as a form of therapy for seniors, especially those with communication difficulties due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Consider offering seniors a drawing tablet and set of washable paints. Ask them to paint whatever they like, or offer a topic suggestion. The finished product isn’t what matters, but rather that the client relaxed and enjoyed themselves while they painted.
Engaging seniors in games and other activities, both in the home and outside can offer a simple mood booster and additional companionship while homecare providers are on duty. Share these activities with family caregivers via your homecare software or homecare system and share additional activities you’ve found effective by leaving a comment!