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Activity Professionals enhance nursing home patients’ quality of life

Published on Jan 23, 2019

“The quality of life is determined by its activities,” said the Greek philosopher Aristotle who lived from 384-322 B.C. This quote has never been truer than when it comes to our seniors living in skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers across the United States.     

This week is National Activity Professionals Week, which recognizes the important role Activity Professionals play in the overall health and quality of life for nursing home patients.  

Activity Professionals in geriatric settings help support the clinical initiatives for patients in a long-term care setting. Their holistic and person-directed approach to caring for their patients is the heart, soul and fun of many nursing homes.

More than Bingo

Although Bingo games are still one of the most popular pastimes in skilled nursing centers, today’s nursing home patients do more than play Bingo. It is the role of Activity Professionals to design, implement and evaluate Activity programs that engage residents on a variety of skill and cognitive levels.

The number of opportunities for residents to participate in some activity is numerous both inside the center and out in the community. Traditional activities in the facility can include daily activities such as adult coloring books, reading the daily news, wheelchair yoga, and other physical games residents of all capabilities can participate in to aid rehabilitation and cogitative abilities.

Technology also enhanced the number of activities nursing home patients can do as part of their stay at a skilled nursing center. In 2007, the introduction of the Nintendo Wii console grew to be popular for seniors as it gave them the opportunity to participate in virtual sports they might not have been able to do again outside the center. Research studies showed that older adults playing on the Wii had higher self-esteem and better mental well-being than their peers.

Activity Professionals play a crucial role in helping plan and implement special events at the center. Several centers have annual pig roasts, carnivals and proms for their residents. Activities will host these and arrange ice cream trucks to come to the center, local musicians to perform and dinner parties. They help make special events for residents who may have a wedding anniversary or other reasons to celebrate a joyous day.   

Activity Professionals also take residents out to community activities such as fairs and festivals, parades and other celebrations. In addition, they help plan fishing trips and other activities to engage the residents in things they may have once loved doing or have never done before.

Activity Professionals contribute to the clinical care of patients

The role of Activity Professionals also extends into the clinical care for patients. Activity Professionals can aide in helping with fall reduction programs, as well as talking with residents through some of their care plans that may be hard for them to understand.

In getting to know the residents on a more personal level, Activity Professionals can also provide Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and other clinical providers with topics of interest to the resident, favorite hobbies or preferences so they can better connect with them.

Learn more about the profession at