Seniors and care homes do their best to brighten up the life of the residents and, once in a while, invite performers to their facilities to present a show. The amusement offered with these shows is a must and is often the distraction people are looking for in their days to keep the boredom away.
Even though those activities are quite well appreciated, the seniors are merely passive observers. Some will sing along, clap hands, even dance, but it is not really engaging nor empowering them.
During their life, the elders did not have the habit to be entertained. Instead, they were taking part in the things they enjoyed doing like singing in a choir or playing an instrument or even cooking dinner for their guests.
For Madeleine, who now has dementia, her long-time passion is singing. When she was younger, she used to sing in a choir. Now living in a long-term care facility, she also has sight loss and she cannot take part in a lot of entertainments that are offered. Once or twice a week, staff members come into her room and take her to see the show presented in her home. Even though she enjoys music very much, she gradually lost interest in those activities. One day, she explained why to her daughter: she would much rather sing herself than stay there, sitting and listening to somebody else doing what she loves.
In order to engage people like Madeleine and to relieve their loneliness, why not suggest activities in which they would be an active participant rather than a passive observer? For example, instead of inviting a Christmas choir, residents could form a choir for the holiday season. They could present a show or just walk in the hallways singing. Seniors and care homes could organize a bakery of Christmas cookies or a Holiday Talent Show.
Try and see the results!