Domestic activities of daily living, also known as IADLs, are often the first to go when seniors lose their ability to complete them. Monitoring these can help families and senior care communities prepare to provide needed support.
In assisted living, residents wake up and get ready for the day. Depending on their abilities, they take a daily walk or head to the dining room for a healthy breakfast. A short morning walk can help your aging loved one stay active, boost their mood and feel connected to their community. Playing music together is another fun and therapeutic activity appropriate for most seniors. Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living communities provide transportation for various off-campus activities, including concerts (like those in local parks) and plays/musicals. Some communities also offer a range of mental exercises, from bingo to word games and puzzles. Seniors who need a higher level of medical care—whether for rehabilitation or chronic health issues—move into skilled nursing facilities, sometimes called nursing homes or extended care facilities. Medicare and Medicaid license these to provide a high level of care, typically focusing on short-term recovery or long-term nursing needs. Their care is overseen by nurses and aides full-time.
Many enjoyable assisted-living activities can take place in the afternoon. For example, some seniors enjoy chatting with friends and family while playing cards or trivia. Others might find comfort in reading a favorite novel or taking in the beauty of photos from far-off destinations in coffee table travel books. Having a library of books on hand is easy for most assisted living facilities to provide, as well as a weekly trip to the local library or a book club. Some seniors would love to get out of the building and go on an excursion, like visiting their favorite restaurants, shopping, or strolling in a museum or park. Some communities offer seasonal tours for their residents and transport services to get them to and from these events. Other fun activities include yoga, stretching with large elastic bands, gardening, or working on a craft project like sewing or ceramics.
Many people who live in assisted living enjoy socializing with their friends, and family members are welcome to join them. Many communities host special events for holidays, like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, to help seniors bond with each other and make new connections. Social activities may also include making ice cream or frosting cookies, decorating Easter eggs, or baking bread as ways for residents to interact while working with their hands. Having fun is also the goal of group games, such as bingo or a trivia contest. Concerts from local children’s choirs or college choral groups are inspiring, while karaoke sessions can be fun.
Often, a resident’s ability to perform IADLs or instrumental activities of daily living will help determine the amount of caregiving assistance they receive. These include personal care, such as bathing and eating; toileting, including use of the restroom, dressing, and grooming; ambulation or mobility, including being able to get out of bed and move from one place to another; and cognitive functioning, such as memory, attention, and concentration. Caregivers can help residents develop a consistent nighttime routine that helps them feel a sense of stability and security. This may include a regular time for bathing, turning off digital technology, listening to music or reading, and getting dressed in pajamas before they turn out the light. A light snack before bed can also be beneficial. Still, residents should be encouraged to only go to sleep when they feel sleepy (vs. fatigued) to avoid conditioned arousal that perpetuates insomnia. Also, to promote a good night’s rest, they should practice sleep hygiene by only using their beds for sleeping and not watching television or reading.