Spending meaningful quality time with your client can leave both of you feeling good about your time together. Adding a couple of special activities to the day doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can choose short, fun activities that also support your senior’s cognitive and physical health. Here are some 15-minute activities to try together:
Conversation—A directed conversation goes a long way toward increasing quality of life. Choose a topic that you think will interest the senior in your care. Start a conversation by relaying your experiences. Then ask open-ended questions. For example, if your senior enjoys history of their generation, talk about a show you saw on about particular event. Encourage your senior to tell you more about it and ask them to describe what it was like to experience that period. Be curious and ask for details and clarification. It might be slow going, but take your time, listen closely, and exhibit genuine interest. In fifteen minutes, you will have strengthened your senior’s communication, verbal, and memory skills, plus provided an opportunity for them to feel valued and respected.
Sketching—You don’t have to be an artist to sketch. Grab two pencils and two pieces of paper. Play a game: Look at the same object and sketch it. Then have fun comparing the sketches. Or use a photo as inspiration. Not artistically inclined? Try doodling. It’s a great way to enhance small motor skills and muscles. If arthritis is an issue, opt for large, simple objects to draw, bigger pieces of paper, and easy-to-hold tools.
Reciting—Songs, poems, stories … these are all great things to recite. As we get older, word recall can become difficult. For some people, it becomes so difficult that they stop talking for fear of embarrassment. Reciting brings words back into everyday vocabulary and serves as an easy mechanism to help seniors remember phrases and ideas that can later be worked into conversation. Don’t worry if your senior can’t remember all the words. Start with something easy and help them fill in the blanks when needed.