Tidbit of the Week

  • Weekly Tidbit for April 29, 2018: It's Time for Spring Cleaning!

    Spring is officially here, whether Mother Nature knows it or not. That means it’s time for some SPRING CLEANING! This is a great way to get your residents moving and helping out with tasks that are familiar to them. Residents with mild to moderate dementia will likely remember how to perform these lifelong tasks as well, though some cuing from staff can help. Dusting, sweeping, folding clothes and organizing can give residents a sense of purpose and accomplishment too. Make an event of it, with fliers to announce the big clean-up day, and snacks for everyone after their hard work.

    We found a great article from the newsletter of the International Council for Active Aging with some wonderful ideas for “Life Skills Relays”. Click on the link: Functional U Newsletter Jan_Feb 2012.pdf.docx


  • Weekly Tidbit for April 22, 2018: Skip the D and Go For the Ex!

    Last week, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force announced that it is changing its 2012 recommendations and is now recommending against vitamin D supplements for preventing falls in adults over age 65 who are living at home. A review of the research showed insufficient evidence to recommend a supplement. Instead, they recommend....can you guess? Yes, Exercise!

    According to the task force's vice chair, Dr. Alex Krist of Virginia Commonwealth University, "The strongest evidence is for exercise. If you're at risk for falling, you should think about exercise." 

    Even though you are working with residents in assisted living and not those living at home, the message is still a good one--don't rely on pills to do the job of daily exercise, which offers a host of benefits in addition to reducing risk of fall injuries. Exercise reduces heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer.

    For ideas on fun exercises to do with older adults, take a look at last week's tidbit...its on our web page at www.functionfocusedcare.org under the "Tidbits" section or our Facebook Page at Function Focused Care.

    To read a full article about the new recommendation, visit:

  • Weekly Tidbit for April 15, 2018: Get Outside and Play!

    On beautiful weather days like we had this week, consider ways to get your
    residents outside and active! Sitting outside is a start...encourage
    residents to walk or self-propel to get there. Once you're on the patio or
    in the courtyard, see if you can sneak in some activity to help keep
    everyone strong and functional. Sunshine and fresh air can work wonders on
    mood too, and help residents sleep better at night.

    Below are some ideas for fun outdoor activities that many residents will
    likely be familiar with. You might want to invite family members, including
    children and grandchildren, to join in on the games... maybe in the late
    afternoon when people are home from work and school or on weekends as
    regular events. Consider inviting a local preschool or day camp to bring
    children in to "play" together. Kids can be a great motivator to increase
    activity in older adults. 

    Many of these items can usually be purchased inexpensively from stores like
    Five Below or Wal-Mart, and everyone, including those in wheelchairs, can

    * Horseshoes

    * Beanbag toss

    * Ring Toss

    * Croquet

    * Shuffleboard

    * Bad mitten

    * Water balloon toss

    * Lawn bowling

    * Beach ball volleyball

    * Garden club

    * Mini golf

    * Scavenger hunt... have the residents help children find hidden
    treasures like candy or small trinckets outside. 

    Have fun!

  • Weekly Tidbit for April 8, 2018: Peer Persuasion...

    We know you understand the many benefits of physical activity for your residents. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts to encourage them to come to an exercise class or other group activity, some residents will consistently resist with a “no thanks”.

    For many older adults, the idea an “exercise class” is foreign to them and may be intimidating. Instead of inviting them to attend a class or other group activity, try starting the activity with other residents while the more reluctant residents watch. Once they see how much fun their friends are having and realize they don’t need to be experts at the activity to enjoy it, they may be more likely to join in. Having residents invite other residents to participate can also work.

    Check out this 3-minute video that illustrates how you can help get reluctant residents involved in group activities:


  • Weekly Tidbit for April 1, 2018: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

    This is a big week for baseball fans…it’s the beginning of the 2017 baseball season!!

    How can you get your residents involved? Try hosting a game-watching party, with traditional baseball stadium snacks like hot dogs, ice cream and Cracker Jack. Invite residents to decorate baseball pennants to hang in your common area, and get everyone “warmed up” for baseball season with a game of bean bag toss, or hit balloons with foam “bats” (swim noodles cut in half work great for this).

    At the 7th inning stretch, encourage residents to stand up and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” like they do at the stadium. Whenever a home team player gets a hit, ask everyone to stand and cheer, or if they aren’t able to stand, they can wave their pennants or pompoms up high over their heads.

    The goal is to get residents moving and having fun, so remember to encourage them to walk or self-propel to the festivities.

    Go Team and Happy Easter and Passover!


  • Weekly Tidbit for March 25, 2018: Add Some Exercise to Easter Fun!

    Easter is next Sunday, and we’ve got a few fun ideas for activities that you can do with residents and their families this holiday.

    Try hosting a “grown-up” Easter egg hunt! Fill eggs with things your residents might like, such as chocolates and other candy, nail polish, fun costume jewelry, chapstick, small lotions, etc. and hide them. Invite residents and family members to search the common areas for the little treasures.

    How about an Egg Toss game? Get some plastic eggs and have people take turns tossing them into an Easter basket from several feet away. The person who gets the most eggs in the basket wins a prize!

    Finally, your residents will likely remember the classic movie, Easter Parade starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. Play the songs from this movie (Easter Bonnet, Steppin’ Out With My Baby, I Love a Piano and more!) and encourage your residents to dance together.

    Here’s one to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYac9O3GYTM

  • Weekly Tidbit for March 18, 2018: Pedal Your Way through Paradise

    Some of the assisted living communities we’re working with have been looking for easy, affordable ways to help get their residents get more exercise. We’ve suggested getting stationary peddlers like the one below from Amazon.com:


    These are portable and safe, and residents can use them while watching television or visiting with friends.

    Nadine, a nurse at Brighton Gardens in Maryland, has a great idea for how to get people pedaling while making it fun and relaxing! Go to YouTube on a computer, tablet, or using a Smart TV and play “virtual bike rides” while pedaling. These make you feel like you are biking through a forest, near a beach, or even through Paris! Check out some of the free videos on YouTube using the link below:


    Post pictures of your peddlers on our FFC Facebook page. We'd love to see them!

  • Weekly Tidbit for March 11, 2018: St. Patrick's Day Fun!

    St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! Since the weather outside isn’t quite “spring-like” yet, consider having an indoor parade to celebrate the wearin’ of the green! Residents who are ambulatory can walk down the halls, play instruments or sing to Irish music (it’s hard to sit still when Irish music is playing), and those in wheelchairs can play instruments, throw confetti or hold signs.

    Here’s a classic Irish song, “Whiskey In the Jar”, to start the party:


    Spotify has a station called "Foot stomping Celtic music" if you're interested in upbeat meal time songs with an Irish theme. Have residents clap hands, stomp and march to the music while waiting for their corned beef! Other music apps like Amazon Music have St. Patrick’s Day playlists too.

    Also, we found this fun video online from Britain’s Got Talent that might inspire you to have a talent show of your own…include staff too! You can even partner staff with residents to come up with their acts.  


    Once you watch the video, this other suggestion will make more sense…consider inviting local teens or “tweens” over for an afternoon. Teach your residents the words to a current pop song, and have them put on a show for the kids. The kids will get a kick out of it, and it can be a great bonding experience. Maybe they can then teach the kids a song or two from their generation, and perhaps a dance move as well.

    Have a great week!


  • Weekly Tidbit for March 4, 2018: Brain Exercise + Body Exercise = Function

    Studies have suggested that more frequent mental stimulation in old age leads to better cognitive functioning. Since we already know that regular exercise helps maintain physical function, why not combine mental stimulation with exercise and enjoy two crucial benefits from one great activity?

    Incorporating movement into more cognitive-focused activities can be fun and offers some variety for residents. For instance, we know lots of residents like to play games like Yahtzee and BINGO. These provide mental stimulation, but what about having residents get up and dance for a minute when they get a BINGO or Yahtzee (before they get the prize 😉)

    An activity like line dancing works too. Try teaching a simple line dance to residents (you can find directions/videos for some steps online! See links below). This requires residents to use their minds as well as their bodies.

    Links to line dancing videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KybCXH-b_CM



  • Weekly Tidbit for February 25, 2018: Walk to Wellness...and a Fun Destination this Spring!

    One of the assisted living facilities in our study has a lot of people who can walk, but don’t (sound familiar?). They have come up with a creative way to try to change that!

    Staff is posting signs down one of their longer hallways so residents will have “markers” of how far they are walking to get in shape for spring. They decided it would be fun to walk to a destination like Ocean City, so their signs along the way have pictures of landmarks/cities that they would go through to get to Ocean City. Not only can this get people walking, they can do it with friends and talk about the places they are “visiting” and fond memories of them.

    What landmarks would be fun to include in your “destination walk” based on your location? Please send us your pictures so we can share them too, and let us know how it goes.