Activities in Skilled Nursing Facilities include Bingo….and More!

When people think of life in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), or a nursing home as most people know them as, they picture what has often been presented in television and advertising. Those images often present SNFs as depressing places with residents not engaging with one another, employees that do not care about them, and an endless game of Bingo.

Yes, our residents love Bingo! However, contrary to those negative presentations, SNFs are full of creative and fun activities that keep residents engaged with one another, employees, and community outings.

“It is more than bingo. Activities allow us the opportunity to experience life with one another. We live, laugh, cry, and reminisce about days gone by,” said Dawn Burks, Director of Community Life for Kissito Healthcare: Brian Center Alleghany. “We play, pray, sing, cook, love, and lose sometimes. The beauty of it all is that we do it together. It is more than bingo, its family.”

Below are just a few ways SNF residents can stay active and connected during their short-stay rehabilitation or long-term care treatment.

Many SNFs have raised garden beds so residents can easily spend mornings and afternoons working in gardens. These gardens often range from flowers to help decorate the center to growing some tasty vegetables everyone in the center can enjoy.

Additionally, gardening can have some specific benefits for seniors or those dealing with memory issues. Gardening has been known to help relieve stress, increase serotonin, helps boost the immune system, help improve hand and eye coordination, and improves some sensory awareness.

Creating Art:
Residents can do a variety of crafts, painting, or creating other art to decorate their rooms or show off hidden talents. Activity leaders and employees often are the planners and organizers of residents creating art, but it is important for other SNF employees to participate and be engaged to get to know their residents better.

American singer, pianist and composer Billy Joel stated, “no matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” From playing records and music that residents listened to while growing up, or inviting local musicians into the center, there are multiple ways to use music to connect with our residents.

Additionally, there are music therapies resident can engage with during their stay at a SNF. Receptive therapies involve listening to music, and active therapies involve residents participating and helping to create music. One example of an active musical activity is a drum circle, in which each resident may have their own drum and are drumming to a beat along with other residents.

Music can also reach individuals with memory issues on a subliminal level, bringing back connections to their past.

Church and Spiritual Gatherings:
SNFs have ample opportunities for residents to stay connected with others who share their beliefs, their local church leaders, and others from their religious communities, so their spiritual needs are met in addition to their clinical and social needs.

These are just a few ways that Activity Department in SNFs goes beyond the game of Bingo to help residents with their social and therapy goals by engaging their minds and bodies. However, if anyone thinks Bingo can be rescheduled then…thank again!

Author: Brandon S. Totten
Digital Media Coordinator, Kissito Healthcare