If there are frail elderly loved ones in your life, or you are the recreational director of a long-term care centre, you may be wondering what activities are appropriate to do with such individuals. The frail elderly are often wheelchair bound, hard of hearing and have cognitive deficits due to diseases such as Alzheimer's. However, they suffer socially and emotionally if intellectual stimulation is not provided. Luckily, there are a number of simple activities that are sure to please them.
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Makeovers are a fresh activity to do with the frail elderly -- senior women are especially appreciative of them. While you should probably leave haircuts to the professionals, styling a senior's hair isn't out of the question. You can wash it, braid it and even put in cute items like barrettes. Hand and nail care is another activity that older people enjoy. Women like having their fingernails painted, and even older men can relax with a soothing hand massage -- be sure to bring scented lotion.
One of the bright spots in an elderly person's day is mealtimes. Make them fun by having "cooking" activities. In truth, you will be doing most of the cooking (you shouldn't let frail seniors near open flames or sharp knives), but you can make the elders feel they are participating too. Many can combine simple items in mixing bowls, put frozen cookies on trays for the oven and even do some gentle whisking.
Sing-a-longs are another way to get frail seniors to enjoy themselves. Chose music that they may have listened to when they were younger, such as "golden oldies." If the seniors are alert and mentally oriented, ask them which songs or artists they would prefer to hear. For those whose sight still allows them to read, provide written lyrics that they can follow. Encourage the seniors, even those in wheelchairs, to physically participate, either by clapping their hands or waving their arms.
Crafts are enjoyable for the frail elderly, provided they are kept simple. Colouring is an especially good way to get seniors engaged as it doesn't require a great deal of skill. Crayons are probably the best type of colouring implement to provide, as seniors with few mental facilities or poor vision may accidentally use markers on their skin or clothing. Anything with needles, scissors and glue should be avoided, unless staff or family members are on hand to assist and supervise.
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