11 Things To Do While Visiting Long-Term Care This Spring!

Winter is winding down and we are anxiously awaiting summer weather and the sun, and warmth it brings. During the summertime my grandmother Marilyn is often able to sit outside with family during visits, enjoying the warm weather, and gardens and fountains that are at her long-term care home. However, during the winter and spring months when the weather is not as nice we often struggle to find engaging activities to do during our visits. If you can relate then keep reading our 11 things to do while visiting long-term care this spring below. 
Rachel playing the ukulele for Marilyn

1. Music

Marilyn's granddaughters playing music and spending time with her
Music is an activity everyone can participate in! Whether you are listening to music on an iPod or radio, bringing in instruments to play or heading down to a feature musician night, there are many ways to engage with music in long-term care. 

2. Buy a plant

Having a plant in your room is statistically proven to improve happiness, so we make sure there is always something living in my grandmother's room. Every visit you can make a point to water and care for the plant, and discuss how it's growing. Some long-term care homes plant vegetable gardens in the spring, so getting a head start on some vegetables can also be a great way to contribute to your long-term care home's community. 

3. Reading

Rachel reading a book to Marilyn
We are pretty fond of reading over here at Marlena Books. Whether you're reading to your family member or friend, or they are reading independently, reading is a great way to get lost in another world for a while. For more information about our books click here.

4. Games

Raymond enjoying some board games
If you're looking for a quick laugh games are a great way to keep cognitively active and have some fun. Our family loves bingo, but tic-tac-toe, and card games are other great options. 

5. Therapy animals

Marilyn petting a pig while it gently rests on her lap
Many long-term care homes have therapy animals visit routinely to give their residents a little extra love. Check with the recreation department at your long-term care home to see if and when therapy animals are visiting. 

6. Schedule a day trip

The family taking Marilyn out for icecream
Taking your family member or friend for a special outing is a surefire way to beat the winter blues. My family routinely takes Marilyn out for family events, special dinners, or just for a change in scenery. 

7. Walk indoors

Raymond and Marilyn walking together in a long term care hallway
With the unpredictable late winter and early spring weather it is often difficult to go for walks outside. However, walking inside can be just as rewarding! Take some time to familiarize yourself with your loved one's long term care home, taking in the artwork on the walls and learning about upcoming events.  

8. Adult colouring

Adult colouring is all the rage right now. Bring in an adult colouring book and some coloured pencils and you will be guaranteed to have a wonderful visit with a nice piece of art to display at the end. 

9. Dance

Raymond and Marilyn grooving to the beat
Everyone has a little groove inside of them! Pick a catchy song and bust out your best moves; not only is it great exercise but it's also sure to come with a few laughs. 

10. Craft

Crafts are always a fun way to stay seasonal. My family has been able to find wreaths to hang on my grandmother's door for practically every season and holiday, and it's very rewarding to create something together. We're loving this spring craft on the Mary Douglass blog. 

11. Look at old photos

Marilyn as a young girl with some flowers in her hands
Bringing in old photos of family, friends, pets and familiar landscapes can be a great way to reminisce. This is one of my favourite old photos of my grandmother, Marilyn as a young girl.  
Most importantly, enjoy your time together! Do you have other ways you like to spend your visits? Let us know in the comments.