COVID-19 is inspiring caregivers to get even more creative in how they provide person-centered engagement activities and exercise care plans for seniors. In a matter of weeks, the rapid expansion of the novel coronavirus has changed so much about our daily lives, and caregivers in nursing facilities, memory care and rehabilitation centers are rising to the challenge. We know you have a lot on your plate, so here are a few ideas to help during this particularly trying time.
What activities could residents engage in during COVID-19 while still following CDC guidelines?
Virtual Tours & Activities
One thing that’s on our side is technology. Some zoos and museums have created virtual tours that can be accessed remotely. Check your local cultural hotspots online to see what they might have available on their websites and social platforms.
There are also full virtual engagement systems available to facilitate meaningful experiences and connections, such as the It’s Never 2 Late system. This computerized system connects seniors with what interests them and creates personalized experiences. IN2L has 4,000 content items that support the core dimensions of wellness. Each resident can create a personalized My Page profile where their favorite content applications are stored as well as photos and videos from their family. Their personal page also connects to email and video call capabilities via Skype. These systems are portable and can be disinfected from room to room.
Sometimes going low-tech is the fastest way to foster camaraderie. Invite residents to sit or stand at their doorway while a caregiver leads them in song. This creative social distancing approach can work for other activities like bingo, too.
Connect with Online Games & Apps
Help residents connect with fellow residents or family who can’t currently visit via easy-to-use game apps. Some options include AARP’s online offering of senior-friendly games, the classic Scrabble-inspired app Words with Friends 2, and other social connection platforms, such as Stich or the dementia-specific, interactive storybook app Grey Matters. Apps like Skype and Google Meet can also help residents connect with tech-savvy loved ones via video calls.
In-Room Therapy & Exercise
Bring the therapy to residents in their rooms with mobile systems such as Jintronix, which can capture data of various activities, exercises and assessments. In-room restorative care can be delivered with this system as well. For instance, the therapist can prescribe a custom exercise routine based on the individual’s agility, endurance and strength capability. The CNA can then log into the system and pull up the prescribed exercises and help support the resident with verbal cues. The motion sensor on the system will capture each movement so the therapist can see exactly what happened during the session down to the degree of flexion.
Easily portable therapy items, such as exercise bands, dumbbells and cuff weights, are easy to take into resident rooms, and you can mitigate how often you need to disinfect by having a few extra sets on hand.
Coloring Sheets & Puzzles
The tactile experience of getting creative or solving a puzzle on paper can be very calming and therapeutic. Some residents may want to start with a blank page and colored pencils, while others may want a coloring page to get them started. Others may enjoy the fun challenge of solving a crossword puzzle or word search. Download our free spring-themed activity packet featuring a coloring page, word search and crossword puzzle for your residents today! It’s easy to print, and you can hang finished artwork on windows to share joy with visitors who can’t come inside.
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