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Did you know that more than 70% of nursing home residents in the United States are female? So it’s easy to understand why a majority of activities often focus on the interests of women.
I’ve heard from several of you that it’s challenging to find activities that are enjoyable and meaningful for men. That’s why I’m hoping we can all put our heads together and share creative ideas.
Of course, interests may vary depending on factors such as age, occupational background, and the diagnoses of your residents. That’s why our first source for ideas should be the residents themselves.
Today I’m sharing 30 activities that we’ve found to be of interest to men. Please add yours in the comment section!
- Invite high school or college students to come in and teach residents about computers.
- Provide opportunities for scout troops to earn badges by working with residents at the nursing home. Check out this list of boy scout badge requirements and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless.
- Teach magic tricks that residents can do when their grandchildren visit. Check out this fun DVD that shows all the basic tricks.
- Go on community outings: car shows, parades, sporting events, museums, farm machinery stores, cafes, fishing trips.
- Drive remote control cars.
- Design paper airplanes and host a flying competition. Here’s the ultimate book on how to create and fly paper airplanes.
- Invite a pastor to lead a men’s Bible study.
- Set up games to promote exercise, socialization, and fun: ring toss, mini basketball, balloon volleyball, horseshoes, darts (with rubber tips), lawn bowling, or bean bag toss.
- Offer men’s exercise classes using light weights. You can often find students with exercise-related majors (physical therapy, exercise science, etc.) who will come in and set up these classes as a school project
- Organize a special men’s dinner and encourage residents to plan the menu. Past favorites at our nursing home include wild game, grilled burgers, and brats, and a fish fry.
- Do science experiments. Check out this kids’ science kit that’s also fun for adults.
- Play men’s themed trivia games.
- Encourage maintenance staff to allow residents to go along when they’re doing interesting projects. Residents can help or supervise.
- Organize a weekly men’s group and talk about topics of interest to the men (sports, current events, politics, history, etc.) Serve coffee and pie.
- Arrange visits from therapy dogs.
- Provide men’s themed jigsaw puzzles. I recommend buying a mat to store unfinished puzzles between uses, so someone’s hard work doesn’t get messed up.
- Offer a variety of gardening opportunities: spring planting, weeding, watering, fall clean-up, and leaf raking.
- Set up a model railroad. Check out this amazing display at a senior living community in Pennsylvania.
- Provide nerf guns for target practice. Set up stuffed animals or pictures of animals as targets.
- Invite guests to come in and talk about occupations of interest to your residents. Possibilities include a car mechanic, farmer, member of the military, local sports figure, or fire fighter.
- Recruit volunteers to help residents with genealogy research and creating family trees. This book is a great place to start.
- Invite students to come in and help residents record stories from their lives.
- Get a group together to watch sports on TV. Serve no-alcohol beer and pretzels or popcorn.
- Be sure to have magazines (sports, hunting, fishing, cars) and books available that are of interest to men.
- Hold tournaments with small prizes: checkers, bridge, dominoes, etc.
- Ask residents to sort and count the money from the facility vending machines.
- Offer painting projects (bird houses, fishing lures, model cars, etc.)
- Install a mini-golf putting green. Check out this highly rated green designed by golf pro Shaun Webb.
- Offer a spa day: shoulder & hand massages, foot soaks, cologne, etc. (Our case manager did this recently, and I was surprised by how many of the male residents participated!)
- Set up tailgating in the parking lot, then go inside to watch the big game.
What did I miss? Please share your suggestions in the comment section.