In Room Engagement Ideas

This page provides some ideas of things that can be done on a individual basis in someone's room.  These ideas work for those in isolation or those who do not like to interact in group opportunities.  They are broken down into the categories of activities to help the user find purposeful engagement for the individual based upon their generalized interests.  


PHYSICAL & RECREATIONAL ACTIVITES

  • Exercise
  • Provide exercise CDs or download classes of You Tube (to include chair Yoga and Chair Chi)
  • One Resource: Laughter Yoga with Celeste Green via Zoom every Tuesday from 1 – 1:20 pm EDT. To register for the 4/28 session, go to: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tZApfuyoqT8oL-zzszhtUyHfVA2hm-uJDw?fbclid=IwAR2dXsgIl74kUdia_F6mXYQzyRhKcb7E8uHscrQCQrhw8d7wbfgi_-rA1OI
  • Room-to-room daily stretching
  • Hallway kick ball – seat reach resident at their doorway. Have the resident’s kick the ball down the hallway encouraging them to use leg-eye coordination.
  • Golf – bring people outside on a one-to-one basis and make a putting green in a grassy area or get a putt return game that can be played on a one-to-one basis in the individual’s room.
  • Bowling
    • To make the lane, use pool noodles or two 2”/4” pieces of wood that line the “bowling lane” which can start in the individual’s room, but extend into the hallway. Design the length of the bowling alley based upon the available space.
    • Use a small rubber ball or a 16-inch softball that can be gripped by most. Wrap the ball with plastic wrap to cover the ball completely. After each use remove the plastic wrap, cleanse the ball with disinfectant and re-wrap the ball for the next person to use. Make sure you clean your hands in between as well.
    • If you do not have bowling pins, use 10 water bottles as the pins. You can paint the water bottles black so that they look like bowling pins, if you desire.
    • You need to make sure that the weight of the bottle and the pins are of the right weight so that the game is challenging but not impossible to strike the pins down.
    • Have each person play all their frames before moving on to the next person.
    • Use a score board to that it is visual for all to see the scores as the game progresses.
  • Mini Bean bag/Corn hole/Candy Toss
    • Use fun size M & M candy packets as the “bags” or other bagged candy so that each person can keep their candy when the game is done.
    • Use a bucket as the target
    • Depending on the skill and ability of the people playing, alter the distance to the target so that there is a level of success but also a challenge.
    • Use a score board to that it is visual for all to see the scores as the game progresses.
  • Bingo
    • Copy your bingo cards so that each person’s cared can be throw away at the end of the game.
    • Use candy as the markers or card board chips that can also be tossed
    • Either call the numbers in the hallway using a microphone or use your overhead PA system. Make sure that there is enough staff outside the rooms in the hallway to hear people when they yell “Bingo”
  • Table Games: either encourage room mates to play together or plan for staff to spend some time with the resident in his/her room so that the person can play it fully. If staff are needing to play with the individual, I suggest making the game a quicker game so that more people can be seen on a one-to-one. Some ideas:
    • Checkers
    • Connect Four
    • Chinese Checkers
    • Jenga
    • Guess Who
    • Othello
    • Yahtzee (use two sets of dice so that each person has their own dice. Clean in dishwasher once game is over.
  • Wacky bowling
    • Stack solo cups into a pyramid
    • Partially fill water and air into a small beach ball using one ball for each person playing. The water will make the ball move in different directions and some of the residents find it funny to watch the ball.
    • after the game is over, clean the beach balls in a dishwasher
    • Have the person either roll or throw the ball at the stacked solo cups
    • Use a score board to that it is visual for all to see the scores as the game progresses.
  • Horse Racing
    • Equipment:
    • 6 “horses” - Use a 6 plungers and foam board; each plunger will make one horse; make the horse’s head out of the foam board and place a number on the neck area.
    • Two different colored dice; large dice are better if you have it
    • Betting sheet – columned sheet with horse numbers across the top and the places for people’s names in each row. Next to each person’s name, place the amount they would like to bet under the column of the horse they are betting on.
    • Play money; one-dollar bills only
    • Use the hallway as the “Track”. This works better if the floor is a tiled floor because each square acts as a space for the horses’ movement. Place tape at each end of the track, one strip of tape designates as the finish line, the other as the starting line.
    • Prizes for the winners
  • Procedure:
    • Provide each resident with 10 one-dollar bills
    • Go the hallway and “take the bets” from the residents. All winning odds will be 2:1 (in others words if you win, you get double your money back); Use the betting sheet to track the bets that the residents make
    • After all bets have been made, have the horses enter the starting box; (Line each horse up at the starting line, placing each horse into a tile box)
    • Designate one die as the horse number and the other die as the number of squares the horse will move.
    • Roll the dice. Move the horse with the corresponding number the number of spaces that the dice states. (I.e. dice one has a 6 on it and dice 2 has a 3 on it, means horse number 6 moves 3 spaces)
    • Whichever horse crosses the finish line first, wins.
    • Pay the winners using the 2:1 ratio
    • Take bets for the next game.
    • Residents can either use the play money to buy prizes at the end or you can auction items off and the residents bid using their play money.

COGNITIVE STIMULATION/INTELLECTUAL/EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • Trivia
    • Play like “bar trivia”; give each person an answer sheet which is scored in their room at the end of the game.
    • Use your PA system to ask a question every couple of minutes; provide choices for the answers to encourage people to play even if they don’t know the answer. Determine the length between asking the questions based upon the attention span of the people playing)
    • You could also play like Jeopardy, where people pick questions form categories. (use Activity Connections for the Jeopardy game questions)
    • Twenty Questions could be a variant of this where the residents ask questions before they come up with the name of the name of item that is the answer to the questions.
  • Hall Way Hangman – Play like regular hangman, or have the residents go down the hallway having each resident guess a letter.
  • Hallway Spelling bee – go room-to-room having each resident spell a word. If the person gets the word right, they advance to the finals.
  • Encourage people to design their Family Trees – use a template to fill the “leaves in”; this can also be done on a one-to-one with residents and their families when Skyping with each other to help give a guided conversation for them. Resource: www.familytreetemplates.net
  • Show educational films instead of just showing entertaining movies such as PBS Series or travel logs; google travel log videos for resources
  • Hallway Penny Ante Game - Ask questions and then give a penny to the person when the question is true for them.  Decide on some questions such as:
    • If you have been to Alaska take one penny,
    • if you are a twin take 2 pennies,
    • If you have been on a plane take one penny,
    • if you have a watch on give one penny back,
    • if you are wearing shoes with laces put a penny back.
    • Go down the hallway and ask each person the same question. If it is true for them, give them a penny. At the end of the designated time or when you are done with all the questions, whoever has the most pennies wins. Everyone gets to keep their pennies at the end of the game.
  • One-to-one staff to resident discussion topics (realizing that daily visits can become mundane for the resident and the staff, come up with a topic for the day if staff are struggling with what to talk about)
    • Fashion discussions
    • Advice columns with residents giving the advice – screen columns for appropriate conversations
    • Career conversations – what did you do for a living, tell me about that; what was a typical day like, etc.
    • Remember when… First day of school, Day you got married, Your first TV
  • Letter writing – assist residents in writing letters to their loved ones. You can help by introducing a topic that they might want to share with their loved one such as what did we do today, tell me about a child hood memory, etc.
  • Creative Writing - Give a topic and write a story about it; this can either be dictated or hand written. Compile these and make a community book of the resident’s stories.
  • Magazine scavenger Hunt - Give everyone a magazine with a list of items to look for in the magazine. Have the person either tear out the picture or flag the page. Give a prize to all those who found every item or the most items.
  • Order Talking Books for those who have difficulty reading due to cognitive or visual issues so people can get books and magazines that interest them personally. This is free and the audio reading materials include current books as well as magazines such as People, Ebony, Sports Illustrated, etc. https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/TBBS/app_eligibility.html (BTW, each long-term care community is eligible to receive 2 machines for the building to use and this is FREE for everyone!)

RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL

During this time, people may be experiencing anxiety and loneliness. Providing people with the opportunity to connect to their spiritual side can be helpful.
  • Provide with Chicken Soup Series
  • Watch Church Services on TV or the internet
  • Daily Devotional passed out to each person in the community
  • Provide a daily Meditation/quite time – encourage all in the community to be quiet and reflective at this time (including staff).
  • Have residents make Rosaries and then give these to people in the community. Resource: www.olrm.org/how-to-make-a-rosary

SENSORY

  • Sensory Hands
    • Materials:
      • Washcloths
      • aroma therapy lotion
      • music for calming and relaxation
      • a basin of warm water
      • small garbage bags
    • Procedures:
      • play calming music in a private room
      • soak a washcloth in warm water
      • take the washcloth and cover the persons hands for about a minute.
      • Put lotion on the patient’s hands and give them a hand massage. If you are using the aroma therapy lotion, allow them to smell it.
  • Household chores
    • Polish silver
    • Dusting
    • Fold clothes/towels
    • Sort socks
    • Sort tool box
    • Sand a wooden board
    • Bundle/roll coins
    • Peel Potatoes
    • Chuck corn
    • Snap green beans
    • Roll yarn
  • Pudding painting – use pudding to paint
  • Hallway sing-a-long with all staff and residents singing together. Pass out sing-a-log sheets with all the songs in order so that people can follow along easily.
  • Have the residents arrange flowers to keep in their rooms – Ask staff f they have any vases they would like to donate to the Community. Aldi sells floral bouquets for $3.99. ( Ask for an additional discount; you have nothing to lose especially if they are reaching their ability to be sold). Provide the resident with an assortment of flowers and have the resident arrange their own bouquet.
  • Have the resident make a Bird Feeder and then hang it outside their room’s window
    • Materials:
      • String
      • 1/2 of a Stale Bagel
      • 1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter
      • 1 Teaspoon Shortening
      • Bird Seed
      • Scissors
    • Procedures:
      • Cut a piece of string about 24" long. You can adjust this length depending on where you want to hang it.
      • Put one end of the string through the hole in the bagel and tie both ends together to make a large loop to hang up your bird feeder with.
      • Mix together the peanut butter and the shortening. Spread this mixture onto the flat side of the bagel.
      • Pour the bird seed onto a plate.
      • Press the peanut butter/shortening side of the bagel into the bird seed.
  • Plant seeds/taking care of plants
  • Make a Sun Catcher. Use a clear plastic lid from a carry out container for liquid and colorful glass beads/marbles that are used in jars for flowers. Punch a hole in the lid. Put Elmer’s glue onto the plastic lid and arrange the beads/marbles on the lid covering the entire lid except the place where the hole is. Use enough glue so that the beads/marbles will adhere. Set aside and let dry for a couple of days. Once it is dry put ribbon through the hole and hand in the window.
  • Heating Pad Sock/ Cozy
    • Materials
      • Tube or crew socks – fluffy socks work best
      • Rice
      • Cinnamon
      • Zip lock bags
      • String or rubber bands
      • Ribbon
      • Scissors
      • Funnel
    • Procedures:
      • Show each resident what the finished project looks like
      • Provide each resident with their kit to make the project a zip lock bag and a sock; Place enough rice to fill the sock to where you want it into each bag
      • Encourage the resident to place their hands in the bag and allow the rice to flow between their fingers and use their senses
      • What does the rice feel like? Is it hard? Soft?
      • Does it have an aroma?
      • What color is the rice?
      • Does it remind you of anything?
      • Has anyone ever cooked with rice? Any favorite recipes?
      • Pour cinnamon/essential oil into each zip lock bag; discuss:
      • Change in aroma
      • Memories that the smell elicit
      • Offer for people to taste the cinnamon
      • Using the funnel, help each resident to pour the rice into their sock.
      • Tie or use a rubber band to “seal” the sock
      • Tie a ribbon over the tie as a decorative item
      • To heat the cozy, place into the microwave for 30-45 seconds; test the heat to ensure it is not too hot for the elder.
  • Make Ice Cream in a Bag - This no-cook recipe for vanilla ice cream makes about eight half-cup servings.
    • Materials/Ingredients:
      • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
      • 2 cups half-and-half cream
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1 bag crushed ice
      • 4 cups coarse salt
      • For each person you’ll need:
      • 2 pint-size resealable plastic freezer bags
      • 1 gallon-size resealable plastic freezer bag
      • Gloves or towel to protect fingers
    • Procedures:
      • In a pitcher or large measuring cup, stir together the whipping cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla extract until sugar has dissolved.
      • Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into a pint-size plastic bag and seal carefully, squeezing out extra air. Place each sealed bag into a second pint-size bag, again squeezing out extra air. Seal carefully.
      • Fill each gallon-size plastic bag about halfway with ice and add 1/2 cup coarse salt. Place one sealed small bag into the large bag, squeeze out most of the air, and seal the large bag.
      • Wear mittens or thick gloves, or wrap the bag in a towel to protect hands against the extreme cold. Shake and massage the bag for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens into ice cream. Add more salt and ice to the outer bag if ice cream hasn’t formed after 10 minutes of continuous motion.
      • Remove the outer pint-size bag before you open the inner bag so you don’t get any of the salty ice on your ice cream!

EXPRESSIVE & CREATIVE ARTS

When making in-room craft projects that are standardized and are not free form, provide each person with a picture of the finished project so that they can visualize what they are making.
  • Canvas painting
  • Beading - Pre activity of sorting the beads by color, counting the beads, etc.
  • Collages - pick a theme and look through magazines for pictures that remind you of the theme; you can either tear of cut the pictures out.
  • Terrariums
  • Press flowers and leaves
    • To press in wax paper, let dry for 24 hours, place between 2 pieces of wax paper and press with iron on medium setting for 10 seconds. (staff may want to do the ironing)
    • Press with newspaper between 2 pieces of newspaper and let heavy books. Let sit for 3 days then use for a craft, cards, etc.
  • Make mobiles that can be hung in the resident’s room
  • Make holiday cards to send to families, give to staff, give to hospital units or schools
  • Decorate old baseball cap, (or use painter caps purchased inexpensively at a paint store or hardware store) with beads, ribbons, feathers
  • Decorative magnets – remove the metal from frozen juice cans. Cut a round piece of white paper to fit inside the rimmed edge. Draw or glue items to the lid; glue magnet to the back
  • Window Painting
    • Equipment:
      • poster/tempera paints
      • brushes
      • pattern (you can buy at craft store or enlarge your own)
      • water & rags
      • Wipe off markers
    • Directions:
      • Tape a big pattern of a seasonal, or other, picture behind a window (Indoor or outdoor) Or you can draw or trace one yourself on to the window with wipe off markers.
      • Have the clients "Color in" the pictures with the poster paint. It is very easy to edit or take off with a wet rag or paper towels, even when dry.
      • You may want to go over the outline of the pictures with black when you are done. This hides mistakes, defines the picture, and is easier on the eyes for those with vision problems.
      • Be careful of painting over the markers or a dirty window it can prevent the paint from sticking.
  • Window Painting 2
    • Equipment:
      • Dry Erase markers
      • Tempura Paints, various colors
      • Paint Brushes
      • Stencils or photos to draw
    • Description:
      • Draw or trace on windows with dry erase markers. The scenes on the windows can be a theme (seasons, holidays, big upcoming activity, etc.) or simply writing to be painted (birthdays or holidays to remember).
      • Paint or fill in outlines with tempura paint. Mistakes and paintings come off easily with water and a washcloth

SOCIAL

  • Get on Facebook and look up some of your resident’s past friends that they may have lost contact with and help them get reconnected or help them “snoop” on people that they are curious about!
  • Skype - help families by coming up with theme ideas or them to talk about
  • Encourage families to bring in photo albums for their loved ones
  • Go through facility pictures and give each person pictures that they are in or that are about events that they were a part of and have them make their own photo albums.