Games & activities for nursing homes

Written by stephen andrew baldwin
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Games & activities for nursing homes
A bingo set is a great game to have at the nursing home. (bingo image by claudio from

Most nursing homes have scheduled events and activities for their residents, but often the same activities get repeated. Activities should be designed for the benefit of your senior citizens, and should be aimed at getting them active and involved.

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Bingo works well in nursing homes because it isn't physical and it's fun for most people. It might be beneficial to have some help from the staff to assist with those who are hard of hearing or who can't see well. Having prizes available, even small ones, is a good incentive to get people to participate. Bingo might be a good activity on the weekend when families are likely to be visiting so they can play too. You should also get bingo daubers for those with arthritis.


Gardening is an activity to get residents outside for some vitamin D. Though gardening can be physically strenuous, you can set up small flower beds or window boxes so the activity isn't so taxing. Gardening is also a healthy way to supplement the food budget by growing your own vegetables. If you have the means, you can set up a grow room for tomatoes and peppers and such, where your seniors can go to indulge in an activity they enjoy.

Manicure Party

A spa day is a wonderful way of pampering your residence and bringing a little bit of beauty shop in to the home. Manicures are a fun way to get dolled up and gossip for your female residence. If you don't have the staff to accommodate you could call and ask your local beauty school if they'd be willing to schedule a day to send some of their students to come out on site.


Exercising is a way to increase endorphins, reduce stress, increase lung capacity and blood flow to the brain. It is also a way to alleviate depression. Activities can range from general stretching and light yoga, breathing exercises, to dancing. If possible, do exercises daily, and assist those in wheelchairs with stretches to keep their bodies active.


Music and dance are ways to keep active. Not only can this be a good physical exercise, but familiar music is known to trigger autobiographical memory in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Listening to familiar music, or playing old radio programs, is a wonderful way for residents to reminisce about old past times and share stories.

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