Activity Care Plans for the Elderly: Samples and Ideas for In-Home Caregivers

Caregivers have enormous amounts of responsibility when caring for an aging adult on a daily basis. But these responsibilities eventually boil down to two important issues: how to fill the day, and how to fill the day productively and meaningfully. Time, and the weight of it, balances with the responsibility to better the life of your charge. Whether you are a professional caregiver or a family member helping an older loved one, the issues are the same.

Activity Care Plans for the ElderlyCaregivers have enormous amounts of responsibility when caring for an aging adult on a daily basis. But these responsibilities eventually boil down to two important issues: how to fill the day, and how to fill the day productively and meaningfully. Time, and the weight of it, balances with the responsibility to better the life of your charge. Whether you are a professional caregiver or a family member helping an older loved one, the issues are the same.
Most professional caregivers are familiar with care plans. If a patient has a specific issue, they will have a plan to tend to it (though as we discussed, sometimes care plans can be tragically bereft). The non-professional might not know the name, but they know that if there is Condition X there needs to be Solution Y.
But activity care plans for the elderly are slightly different. They are goal-oriented when it comes to therapy and care needs, but revolve around keeping the older adult physically and mentally active. We’ll see how this works through a few examples.

How to Create an Activity Care Plan for the Elderly

When creating a care plan, there are several things you need to outline first. We’ll use an example of Queenie, who has just returned from the hospital and a short stint in the nursing home following a mild stroke. She has been released home but will need help from both her family and the professional caregiver who is with her during the day.
There are three initial steps caregivers should take in establishing an in-home activity care plan:

  • Identify the problem(s): This isn’t, “What do we do today?” although that is a part of it, of course. This is: “What issues need to be addressed?” That incorporates any physical, cognitive, or emotional impairments and issues. This will help you move toward the next step. For our example, Queenie has had speech problems since the stroke and has difficulty walking. She’s at risk for falls. These are both problems and obstacles in her attempt to live an independent life.
  • Identify the goal(s): The goal has to come before the plan of action. For Queenie, there are two main goals: be able to communicate without much difficulty and be able to walk unassisted both inside of her house and outside.
  • Identify the plan of action: The plan of action is exactly what it sounds like. It’s figuring out how to structure your activities around therapy, but more than that, finding ways to combine fun and care, so that the days and weeks move toward an end-goal without being regimented around work.

So what would this look like? Here’s an example.
(Note: This example isn’t medically-vetted. If your loved one or client has these conditions, check with doctors, physical therapists, and any other professional working with the aging adult to come up with a workable and effective home care plan. Everyone is different. This is merely an example routine).

Monday:

  • 8:30-9:30 Physical therapy (with instructor)
  • 10:00-11:00 Speech pathology (with professional)
  • 11:30-2 Lunch, rest (nap, TV)
  • 2:00-2:30 Speech pathology exercises (at home)
  • 3:00-? Walk around the neighborhood with caregiver

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

  • 8:30-9:30 Physical therapy (with instructor)
  • 10:00-11:00 Speech pathology (with professional)
  • 11:30-2 Lunch, rest (nap, TV)
  • 2:00-2:30 Speech pathology exercises (at home)
  • 3:00-? Walk around the neighborhood with caregiver

Thursday

Friday

  • Free day—activities such as hiking, yoga, volunteer work, as health and mood allow.

The Lesson in Planning

As you see, these activities are all centered around wellness, but they aren’t strict and methodical. There are times for fun conversation, plenty of breaks, and they allow for enjoyable activities that create socialization opportunities while pursuing wellness.
And that’s what it comes down to. Therapy and care are not ends unto themselves. They are a path toward living a life that is as healthy and full of adventure as it can be. That’s why activity care plans for the elderly are so important for at-home caregivers, professional, and otherwise.
They can help move toward a goal while keeping the days and the weeks moving. Never think of these as killing time. They are creating a better life and creating a path toward more independence. In that way, activity care plans are creating time.  
At Institute on Aging, we offer programs and services aimed at helping older adults age in place. We also offer resources and training for professional and family caregivers who assist aging adults in reaching their goals. Contact us today to learn more.

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