Meaningful and Engaging Assisted Living Activities

There’s never a shortage of assisted living activities for residents of Linden House Assisted Living at Branchlands. From Scrabble to gardening, ice cream socials to creative crafts, there’s something going on seven days a week up to twelve hours a day. In particular, residents love our “Let’s make!” activity series, with opportunities to create, relax, exercise, eat, and celebrate.

Assisted living activities should be meaningful and engaging

Keeping mind and body in motion is important at any age. For independent and assisted-living residents, staying active brightens spirits and fends off social isolation that may come with age-related decline. Stimulating learning opportunities, fun get-togethers, and creative outlets can take many forms. Linden House offers an array of choices at various levels of involvement as not every activity will appeal to every individual. However, each contributes to wellness that comes from engagement in meaningful activity.

“Our tagline ‘Live life to the fullest’ sums up my philosophy,” says Chrystal Plaugher, Memory Care Manager. A certified dementia practitioner, Chrystal came to Linden House because “it was so exciting to be able to build a great program from the ground up and so gratifying that I get to make sure folks are enjoying the day.”

Let’s Make…something useful

Assisted living activity at Linden House, preschoolers visit residents
Shining Star preschoolers visit Linden House Assisted Living residents for arts and crafts.

Ever built a birdhouse? Neither had the arts and crafts group that tackled this fun project. At Branchlands, crafts with Lori is a big hit, and individual interests are the first consideration. Beginning to know-it-all needlers enjoy Knit Wits get-togethers, and flower arrangers get to do what they love best. When the pre-schoolers from Shining Stars come to visit, residents get to play with scissors and paste along with the toddlers. “It takes me back to when my grandchildren were little,” says one Branchlands resident. “We enjoy their company and then have the great joy of saying ‘good-bye’ until they visit again!”

Let’s Make…something delicious

Linden House residents at a cookout
Linden House residents enjoying a cookout in the park.

S’mores anyone? Let’s Make programs are all about having fun. Some residents like to keep busy in the kitchen…without clean-up duties, of course. You can tell when somebody has been baking brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and other goodies by the wonderful aromas wafting down the hall. For instance, savory treats have included pigs-in-a-blanket, dips, and other fun snacks to enjoy and to share.

Let’s Make…motion

Gentle but active assisted living activity, Smovey
Linden House resident practicing Smovey exercise

Other residents work up an appetite (or work off the calories) in Tai Chi classes, led by a certified instructor. This low-impact, relaxing exercise stimulates blood flow and the immune system, improving posture, strength, balance and overall health. Johanna from Charlottesville’s A Place to Breathe studio leads yoga sessions, modified according to an individual’s capabilities.

A recent addition to Linden House workout sessions is the Smovey, a clever innovation first developed in Austria by a tennis instructor diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The Smovey consists of two unassuming ridged plastic tubes filled with small steel balls and outfitted with hand grips. When swung, the tubes vibrate gently, both stimulating and soothing the nervous system. The sensation is particularly effective in relieving muscle rigidity and pain.

Overall, the idea is to keep muscles and joints on the move and spirits high. From water workouts at nearby ACAC to Nia exercises, from morning walks to evening strolls, there’s always something to get the blood pumping.

Let’s make…merry

Linden House resident in Mardi Gras mask
During a Mardi Gras party, residents wore masks and feasted on traditional treats.

Toe-tapping sing-alongs, in-house live performances, afternoon teas, regular happy hours, theme parties—a Hawaiian luau, Octoberfest celebration, Carnival—are all popular, and, of course, every birthday deserves its celebration. “Turning one hundred years old didn’t stop one of our residents from dancing at our ‘Senior Prom’”, says Chrystal. “And she had plenty of partners! We had great fun, even taking senior pictures.”

Chrystal is the brains behind Linden House’s “Let’s make” programs. Above all, the variety and quality of stimulating activities keep people connected, engaged, and having fun. Says Chrystal, “The idea is to create a healthy social and emotional environment where every opportunity to ‘live life to the fullest’ is not just a promise, but a reality.”

Linden House Assisted Living and the Manor House Independent Living residents and their families are welcome to all activities. Join us!

Learn more about independent living activities, assisted living activities, and memory care activities at Branchlands, including past activities calendars.