July19 , 2024

    The Importance of Activities and Socialization in Nursing Homes

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    Studies show seniors who avoid social activities face a higher risk of dementia, depression, and heart disease. Fortunately, a well-organized and diverse range of social events are available in nursing homes.

    However, some residents may only attend these events occasionally. How can a facility ensure its activities are continuously available to all residents?

    Socialization

    Socialization is essential for all of us, but it’s especially vital for seniors. It helps reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, which can adversely affect a person’s overall health. Moreover, it promotes salubrious practices, such as upholding a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity.

    Loneliness is a prevalent problem for seniors, especially those who live alone. It’s usually caused by a combination of factors, such as loss of friends and family members, hearing loss, and even living in an unfamiliar environment like a nursing home.

    Many studies found that social interventions can improve residents’ mental and physical health. That is why ensuring your loved ones participate in activities and socialize as much as possible is essential. It can significantly affect their quality of life. Moreover, it can boost their self-esteem and confidence, motivating them to care for their body. This way, they can avoid the onset of more severe health conditions.

    Physical Activity

    When seniors socialize with others, it boosts their self-esteem and helps them feel they are contributing. It can motivate them to take care of themselves physically and eat enough.

    In addition, physical activity improves balance and range of motion. It is essential for senior health and can help prevent chronic conditions such as osteoporosis.

    Nursing home residents can participate in group physical activities such as walking, yoga, and chair exercises. These can also be fun and can encourage friendships among the participants.

    Creative and cognitive activities can also promote mental stimulation. These can be especially helpful for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s by reducing anxiety, confusion, and sundowning episodes.

    Engaging in enjoyable, meaningful, and ongoing activities is essential for long-term care residents to enjoy their life. It is a mandatory requirement per the regulations and guidelines set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Allen, 2011).To provide engaging activities, nursing homes in Florida need various social, creative, and physical events that meet the needs of their populations.

    Mental Health

    Many nursing home residents have mental health issues, which can cause them to be depressed, anxious, or even psychotic. You must contact your loved ones while they live in a nursing home and check on them often to ensure they receive proper mental care.

    A recent study found that nursing home residents enjoyed a variety of hobbies and activities before institutionalization, but only some of these are available to them at their current facilities. The researchers recommend that facilities expand the availability of various, sufficient, and ongoing activities geared toward the residents’ interests.

    While medications can help manage mental health problems in nursing homes, a trained healthcare professional must carefully monitor the use of these drugs. The nursing home staff members should also be able to recognize and respond to changes in behavior that may indicate an underlying problem.

    Nutrition

    Since the coronavirus pandemic began, many residents in long-term care facilities have withdrawn from social outlets and have reduced caloric intake. It may be due to feelings of isolation and a lack of options for dining. Nursing homes must offer more dietary choices and assist residents unable to eat independently. Additionally, older adults may develop problems such as dementia that lead to loss of appetite or dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Interdisciplinary teams must utilize an evidence-based approach to tackle nutritional intake issues and aim to enhance overall health outcomes. A resident who requires a physician/provider order for specific interventions can be referred to an internal program, such as a progressive self-feeding program, instead of being referred to a healthcare practitioner outside the nursing home. This step allows the interdisciplinary team to initiate a more coordinated and supportive approach. Moreover, it demonstrates that many of these approaches do not require the involvement of a provider.