8 Summer Activities for Nursing Facility Residents

Activities for Nursing Facility Residents

For most people, summer is synonymous with fun-filled days and exciting nights, especially in a tourist haven like San Diego. But squeezing the most out of summer can be challenging for nursing facility residents, whether they are receiving short-term or long-term care. Meaningful activities are crucial to preserving a high quality of life, and nursing facility activities that reach beyond the basics (bingo, crafts, board games, etc.) have the best chance of providing the emotional and social support that are necessary supplements to rehabilitative medical care.

Because some nursing facility residents might have limited physical or cognitive abilities, the most effective—and fun—group activities are structured such that all residents are included, whether they participate or just observe. For some examples, here are 8 great nursing facility activities for summer:

1. “Drive-in” movie

For nursing facility residents of a certain age, drive-in theaters are reminiscent of summer fun, first dates, and even first kisses. Nursing facilities can recreate the experience on a warm summer night with lawn chairs instead of cars, a white sheet hung on an outdoor wall in place of a movie screen, and a rented projector. As for the movie, black-and-white classics are always a great choice, but newer films that residents might have missed in the theaters are a wonderful option as well.

2. Garden party

Beautiful summer weather means the perfect opportunity for an old-fashioned garden party. Nursing facility staff members can set up tables with decorative coverings and vases with flowers, and offer fancy sweets, savory snacks, and refreshing ice-cold beverages. Activities may include dancing, flower-arranging competitions, or decorating straw hats with flowers, ribbons, feathers, and beads.

3. Kite flying

If you think kites are for kids, you must not be aware of the many adult kite-flying competitions that take place across the world. Kite flying is fun and peaceful, and kites are inexpensive and widely available at most discount stores and drugstores. All that’s required to fly them is a wide-open space and a little wind. Whether residents are participating or observing, the rainbow of beautiful flying colors can transport them back to the lazy summer days of childhood.

4. Hawaiian luau

A trip to the beach might not be feasible for nursing facility residents, so why not bring the beach to them? Residents can wear leis, dance to music by Don Ho, and feast on traditional Hawaiian luau food like roast pork, teriyaki chicken, and fruit kebabs. Other fun activities include setting up plastic kiddie pools full of damp sand and offering a variety of sand castle molds, or bringing in a professional hula dancer to teach residents some moves.

5. Karaoke

There’s no such thing as bad singing if it comes from the heart, and karaoke nights are a great way to allow residents to let loose and show off their personality. Song choices should span decades to include everyone’s preferences; songs by Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Carole King are popular favorites. Activity directors can set up the event as a free-for-all, or structure it more like an “American Idol” type of competition, which is a blast for participants and observers alike.

6. Prom night

Although high school proms typically take place in late spring, warm summer nights are perfect for an outdoor dance under the stars. Some local thrift stores may be willing to donate gowns and suits to the nursing facility, and local salons may offer the services of a few stylists to provide prom-worthy hair and makeup. To complete the theme, set up a prom photo area with a sparkly backdrop and print out copies for residents to keep.

7. Ice cream social

Ice cream socials might be a bit old fashioned, but who doesn’t love ice cream in the summer? Nursing facilities can offer a variety of ice cream flavors, as well as low fat, sugar-free, lactose-free and vegan options to accommodate residents’ nutritional requirements. And don’t forget all the toppings: hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, cherries, sprinkles, peanuts, mini marshmallows, and anything else that would make a delicious sundae. 

8. Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are a great physical and cognitive activity for nursing facility residents, and they tend to bring out the competitive spirit in most players. Scavenger hunts involve teams with instructions and a list of clues, which send them racing to find the same or different items before the other teams do. Prizes can be awarded to the winners, and residents who aren’t able to participate in the actual hunt can help devise the clues.

Rehabilitative care for optimal health and quality of life

If you are looking for a nursing facility in San Diego, Bella Vista Health Center offers short and long-term rehabilitative care with programs designed to empower our residents to reach their maximum potential. Our 5-Star Skilled Nursing Facility in Lemon Grove features a wide range of amenities, including fun activities, nutritious meals, and convenient concierge services. 
At Bella Vista Health Center, we take a holistic approach to wellness that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. To learn more about our facility and rehabilitation programs, give us a call at (619) 644-1000 or fill out our form to schedule a tour.