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Resident Activities
Purpose of Resident Activities in Nursing Homes

The Activities that Residents Need

Gerontologists believe that activities for residents living in nursing homes have a need to increase their function, physical movement, elevate the mood, decrease adverse events like falls and readmission.

When activities, planned and implemented, gain measured results, significant improvements occur. There were decreases in the number of residential falls and increased health results. Experts believe that nursing home residents with severe cognitive impairment can safely be engaged in physical and functional activities when planned out and designed for physical and mental capabilities.

The second purpose of resident activities is to find out what their interests are in order to help them stay engaged. When the family gets involved in the resident's life in the nursing homes, the nursing staff gains increased insight into what the person enjoys doing and if activities involve their interests, the resident will gladly participate. Both parties involved, win.

End result: A resident who's gained physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being; specifically fitting his capabilities.

Resident Activities

Resident Activities
Resident Activities

In the F-Tag 248, written by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services states "the facility must provide an ongoing program of activities designed to meet the interests and the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident."

Explanation of "F248" (or "FTag 248"): A federal regulation that governs resident activities in nursing homes, assisted living sites, and other long-term care facilities.

Understanding F248 is extremely important to all activity professionals. If one fails to comply with the regulations completely, the activity director and the facility must cite and publish the deficiencies and fines.

In essence, CMS suggests that the FTag 248 begin during resident and family interviews. That's the best time for the resident to get involved in personal choices regarding personal activities, and whether the facility is able to provide assistance according to the resident's needs.

The purpose is to engage the resident in their preferred lifestyle and activities on a routine basis.

It refers to the person-centered care philosophy, as seen on the Activity Program Management for Professionals website.

"Each resident has a personal identity and history that involves more than just their medical illnesses or functional impairments. Activities should address the specific needs, interests, culture, and background of the individual for whom they apply."

How F-Tag 248 Relates to Families and Loved Ones

If you're a family member or friend of a loved one moving to a nursing home facility, get involved in the assessment and the care planning session. Your role will help develop his lifestyle and participation there.

During the initial interviews, speak up and let admissions know every preference your loved one wants in areas like what time he awakens and what time he goes to sleep. This helps the facility honor his preferences which add to his dignity as a human being.

Other preferences to consider are timing and how often he bathes, and what method he prefers; shower, bath, or in-bed bathing.

As the family member, CMS suggests that you pay close attention in the staff interviews. Is your loved one aware of the right to make his own choices and whether the facility has actively sought information from him or you, the family, regarding his preferences and whether or not the nursing home staff shares this information with the caregivers working with him?

It's what the resident wants not what is convenient for the facility.

More Tips During Assessment and Admission

Care planning
Care planning

As you and the loved one learns about the nursing home facility, the assessment is the time for the facility to learn about you and the resident.

Remember to stay involved in the care plan and let your loved one's wishes be known and understood.

Admissions interviews your loved one to gain historical information. This social history will help them build activities for him.

Get involved with the staff. They're your link to your loved one during his stay (long or short).

As time passes, stay involved with the personal caregivers and come up with other activities that your loved one is showing interest in. (Under the new regulations, an activity does not have to involve a group of residents.) Many activities take place in a resident's room or on the patio.

Activity directors pay close attention to the photos and other objects in a residents room to access interests. Help the director to understand why those objects are important to your loved one.

Remind the activities director to "personally" get to know your loved one and to ask him about his life and what he's done and see what he'd like to do or try today.

How Activities Change

Activities in nursing homes happen at all times, even simultaneously. They no longer require a planned schedule. They're performed by other staff members like family members, volunteers, and visitors, not just the activities team.

Things to do:

  • Church Services
  • Lifelong learning
  • Coffee social
  • Wii Games
  • Book club
  • Movie night
  • Happy hour
  • Crafts
  • Baking
  • Activity blanket
  • Collage
  • Chair Yoga and Zumba
  • Playing pool
  • Dancing
  • Folding laundry
  • Doing dishes
  • Setting the table
  • Ironing
  • Make mealtimes social.
  • Plan the menu
  • Share recipes
  • Plant a garden
  • do yard work
  • Story-time events
  • Read to the resident
  • Give neck and shoulder massage

Social Living in Nursing Homes

Your loved one's willingness to participate fully in activities and social events starts with family input and encouragement. Only you thoroughly know and understand what he cares to do. Help support him develop new interests, hobbies, and skills.

The more social and active a resident is, the better quality of life he'll experience.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.