Creating Connection During COVID-19 – Activity Ideas for Senior Living Communities

By Courtney Rahm, Specialist, Strategic Programs, Intalere 

Activities that stimulate the mind, encourage socialization and give residents something to look forward to are vital to enhancing quality of life.  With the restrictions to visiting and physical distancing brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, senior living communities are even further challenged to keep residents active and engaged.  

Below are several suggestions we have complied that can help bring structure, engagement and brighten the days of residents and staff alike. These ideas may certainly be adapted to meet the unique needs of your residents and adhere to social distancing rules in your communities.  

  • Enjoy music  Whether listening to music or creating music, music is a powerful way to connect. Organize a sing-along time. Residents can also enjoy Free Live Opera Audio Streams
  • Take a virtual field trip  Visit places like the San Diego Zoo, a museum through Travel and Leisure’s 12 Famous Museums Virtual Tours, or virtually visit one of five National Parks through Google Arts + Culture. 
  • Broadcast spiritual services and other activities.   
  • Connect with nature  Go for walks outside. Provide your residents with small flowerpots to paint and plant seeds for the springtime. Plant a community garden. 
  • Stay active  Check out Silver Sneakers On-demand Exercise videos or Wii Sports. 
  • Start a virtual book club  Check out popular book suggestions for seniors here. Residents may also enjoy listening to these free audiobooks
  • Lead a group Meditation practice – Or other mindfulness activities
  • Share gratitude  Invite residents to write down one thing they are grateful for and post on a wall in a common area for all to see. 
  • Invite residents to take time to record and share life-stories with loved ones – Residents can virtually record a personal history interview with their families.  
  • Focus on the positive – Ask each resident and staff member to write down their favorite quote or saying that helps them feel positive. Post in a common area for all to see. 
  • Get creative – Host a painting activity (such as a Bob Ross tutorial video) or other craft activity. 
  • Have a Talent Show – pandemic style – Invite residents and staff to sign up for a virtual talent show where participants can show-off a skill, musical talent, or piece of artwork. Record two-minute clips individually and then compile into a video for all to watch. 
  • Go caroling…in April  Surprise your residents with a cheery song to lift their spirits. 
  • Help residents navigate technology to video chat with loved ones.  
  • Write a daily conversation starter question on a whiteboard in the dining area –  Encourage storytelling and sharing. 
  • Think about Hallway Hangout activities  Hallway Bingo. Hallway line-dancing. Hallway story sharing.   
  • Play “Heart Tag”  Cover a resident’s door with hearts and nice notes, then invite them to “tag” someone else, until all the resident’s doors are covered. 
  • Teach a skill – Invite residents to teach one another around topics that interest them. 
  • Have a coloring contest – Hang pictures to create your own Art Gallery for viewing. Give awards for different categories. You can also download free coloring pages from Crayola here
  • Have a poetry night  Invite residents to write a poem and share it. 
  • Organize a pen pal program – Write letter of encouragement to friends, family members, fellow residents and others in the community. 
  • Play a “Who Am I?” Guessing Game  Interview three residents and staff members each week and find out an interesting fact about them. Share the interesting facts and let them guess who it is! You can do the same idea with baby photos. 
  • Think of service opportunities  Residents could offer virtual tutoring sessions for children or make cards for members in their community. 
  • Deliver a flower to each resident to brighten their day.  

In unique and challenging times such as these, it is especially important to continue and grow our commitment to empathetic, loving care that connects. While some of the ideas listed above may seem small, they illustrate your dedication to providing a dynamic, compassionate response to the ever-changing needs of residents and their families.  

We Can Help 

Check out this summary of general COVID-19 resources for Senior Living and Long-Term Care organizations. Intalere provides a number of resources that can assist in the areas of supply chain, nutrition and operations as well as many other areas of your long-term care organization. Please reach out to us to see how we can help. Contact Customer Service at 877-711-5600 or customerservice@intalere.com or your Intalere representative. 

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