12 Fun Activities for Your Next Assisted Living Visit

Visiting a loved one in assisted living can sometimes leave you wondering how to make the most of your time together. While the simple act of being there is meaningful in itself, engaging in enjoyable activities can enhance the experience for both of you.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of ways to bond and create new memories. This post will explore a variety of activities to consider for your next visit, ensuring each moment spent is filled with joy, connection, and togetherness.

12 Ideas for Your Next Visit with a Loved One in Assisted Living

1. Relive Memories with a Photo Album

photo album book of old family picturesPhotographs have the incredible power to transport us back in time, invoking emotions and vivid memories of days gone by. Sharing a photo album can rekindle their memories and provide a platform to learn more about their past.

Before your visit, take some time to gather photos that include significant life events, family gatherings, vacations, or just candid moments. Chat with them about these snapshots and ask about the stories behind them. 

To make it even more interactive, consider turning this into a collaborative project by creating a scrapbook together. This way, each visit can be an opportunity to add more memories and stories.

2. Listen to Music

When you're planning your next visit to an assisted living home, consider the magic that music can bring into your shared moments. Whether it's the rhythmic tapping of feet, a shared hum, or even a dance, music can break barriers and draw you closer.

Curate a playlist that incorporates their favorite tunes, or look for classics from their youth. Exploring different genres from their era can stir feelings of nostalgia and lead to them sharing tales of their youth - from their first dance to their favorite concert. It's not just about listening; it's about reliving and reminiscing. 

3. Bring a Book to Read

Before your next visit, swing by your local library or bookstore and pick out a book that you think you will both like. Maybe it's a tale from their younger days, a light-hearted comedy, or even a gripping mystery – the key is to find something you both will enjoy.

When you're together, you can read aloud to each other, switching chapters or sections, which can make the story more engaging. Or, if you both prefer, read separately and then pause now and then to discuss your thoughts on the plot, characters, or any memories the story might bring up. This gives you both something fun to do, sparks conversation, and helps keep your loved one's mind active. Remember, it's less about the book itself and more about the shared experience and the memories you're creating together.

4. Play Different Card Games That They Would Enjoy

The simple act of shuffling a deck of cards can open up a world of fun and laughter. Depending on your loved one's preference and familiarity, you can introduce them to many card games, ranging from classics like Go Fish and Solitaire to more intricate ones. If they have a favorite from their past, you could rekindle those memories by playing that game.

Playing card games isn't just about the competition; it's about the shared experience, the playful banter, and the memories you create with each dealt hand. So, deal those cards and let the games begin, because, in the end, it's not about who wins but the moments you cherish along the way.

5. Write Letters to Family Members

In today's digital age, the timeless art of handwritten letters holds a unique charm. Writing letters with your loved one strengthens your bond and provides a delightful way for them to reconnect with family and friends, near or far. It's a heartwarming gesture that conveys thoughtfulness and love.

Whether it's writing to distant relatives, old friends, or even neighbors who aren't able to visit frequently, a handwritten letter can bridge the gap and bring warmth to their day.

6. Enjoy a Meal Together

One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to spend time with your loved one in assisted living is by having a meal together. You don't have to get fancy – just think of foods you both like. Maybe you can cook up something simple at home and bring it over, or if you're short on time, pick up some takeout from a favorite local spot.

Sharing food is always a good way to chat and catch up. Whether you eat in their room or a common area, it's the company that counts. You'll get to talk, laugh, and share stories, all while enjoying some tasty grub. It's a relaxed and fun way to make each visit special.

7. Go For a Walk 

older couple walking together with walker in the parkConsider suggesting a short walk when you visit your loved one in assisted living. It doesn't have to be far or fast – just a casual stroll around the property or nearby neighborhood.

If they're feeling up for a bit more, you could find a nearby park or a quiet trail. But always keep their comfort in mind and make sure they're not overexerting themselves. A walk is not just about the exercise but also the chance to chat, breathe in some fresh air, and spot a few familiar sights or friendly faces. It's a laid-back way to spend quality time and enjoy each other's company. Plus, getting some sunshine and moving around can lift both your spirits!

8. Enjoy a Beauty Session

It's always nice to feel good about how you look, and doing a little hair and nail touch-up can be a fun way to spend time together. Many assisted living facilities have on-site salons, but if your loved one prefers staying in their room or wants something simpler, you can bring some basic tools and products with you.

You don't need a full-blown spa day. Just brushing and styling their hair or doing a quick manicure can make a big difference. Chat while you work, share some laughs, and swap beauty tips. It's all about the time spent together and helping your loved one feel refreshed and pampered in a low-key, relaxed way. Plus, it's an excellent opportunity to chat and catch up while doing something enjoyable.

9. Watch a Classic Movie Together

Sharing the experience of watching a classic movie with your loved one in assisted living can be nostalgic and heartwarming.

Choose a film that stirs emotions, evokes memories, or simply entertains. Diving into these stories provides an opportunity to connect, reminisce, and share reactions. A classic film can be the perfect backdrop for laughter, shared opinions, and perhaps even introducing them to a cherished movie they haven't seen before.

10. Bring Other People With You

Visiting your loved one in assisted living can be even more fun when it's a group activity. Think about bringing along another family member, a close friend, or even a neighbor next time you go. It mixes things up and gives your loved one a chance to interact with different people.

Remember, it's not always easy for them to get out and socialize, so having a few familiar faces come by can be a real treat. Plus, it can be great for everyone: stories get shared, laughter multiplies, and the visit feels more like a mini-gathering or reunion. Just make sure not to overwhelm them with too many guests at once. It's all about making the visit enjoyable and memorable for everyone.

11. Dive into Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are a fun, hands-on way to spend time with your loved one in assisted living. You don't need to be a pro or have fancy supplies. Just grab some basic craft materials like colored paper, markers, glue, and maybe some beads or buttons.

Together, you can work on simple projects like making greeting cards, decorating picture frames, or even just doodling and drawing. It's a relaxed way to chat and bond while doing something creative. Plus, they'll have a handmade item to remember the day by. And who knows? You might discover a hidden talent or just enjoy the fun of making something together. Either way, arts and crafts are easy activities everyone can enjoy.

12. Bring a Pet

The sheer presence of a pet, with its warmth and unconditional affection, can be a source of immeasurable joy and comfort. If the assisted living facility permits, consider bringing in a familiar pet. In cases where pets were a significant part of their life, these visits can evoke fond memories and stories. If bringing a pet isn't feasible, there are organizations that specialize in bringing therapy animals to facilities like these. These animals, trained specifically for interactions with seniors, offer unique emotional and therapeutic support. And for those times when live pet visits aren't an option, gifting them an interactive or robotic pet toy can be an alternative. These toys, designed to mimic real pet behaviors, provide a sense of companionship without the associated care, adding a touch of comfort to their day.

In the end, it's not always about what you do but the quality of the time you spend together. Every activity is a chance to connect, reminisce, and create new memories with your loved one in assisted living. So, as you plan for your next visit, keep these activities in mind and remember to be present, making the most of every moment. After all, it's the love, laughter, and togetherness that truly matter.