Time Well Spent – 400 Ideas Young and Old Can Do Together $15

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama

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Looking for ideas of things to do when visiting an older adult? The purpose of this book is to provide ideas for meaningful activities to share with the older adult. When family, members, friends, caregivers, and professionals implement these activities, their time with the older adult will be well spent.


If you are a caregiver who is living with or taking care of an older adult who requires assistance with daily activities or if you frequently visit a parent or grandparent, this book will help you.  You will share precious time together while doing enjoyable, simple activities that make use of a person’s strengths and interests.


All of the activities can be modified or simplified to meet each individual’s needs, interests and abilities. Some older adults will be able to complete activities independently, but others require assistance from the caregiver or family member. Spring   Entertainment  Food   FALL puzzle   CHRISTMAS puzzle


Tidbits                                                                                timewellspent_front-small

Conversation Starters


More Ideas

Ideas to Do with Children

Puzzles and Word Games












IDEAS for a Better Visit  $3                       IDEAS_COVER-2-small    

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. 
M.K. Gandhi


Important information on topics ranging from what
to do on a brief visit to communicating with residents
who have communication or hearing difficulties.

Many people are reluctant to visit long term care facilities.
Visitors often struggle with what to say or do during a visit
at a nursing home. Many family members have told us that
visiting can be a challenge and often they are relieved
when it is time to go home.

In addition, it offers conversation starters, gift ideas, and information about visiting with children. It makes an excellent gift for someone who has a loved one being admitted to a long term care facility, for someone volunteers or is taking a job in a setting for older adults. SAMPLE PAGES 1  2  3

The IDEAS Institute, a non-profit research and education organization, has recently developed a booklet to provide visitors to long term care facilities with tips on visiting a friend or family member. The goal in this project is to support successful visiting experiences and to increase resident visitation. The booklet was developed through a grant from The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, which has also funded distribution of IDEAS for a Better Visit to Cleveland area nursing homes.

IDEAS for a Better Visit makes an excellent gift for someone who has a loved one being admitted to a long term care facility, for someone who is taking a job in a setting where they are working with older adults, or a volunteer who spends time visiting older adults.


  • Include a booklet in your admissions packet
  • Use the booklets for discussion starters in your family support groups.
  • Consider having new staff members read the booklet as part of their orientation.
  • Have staff pick a topic for a weekly meeting then encourage them to share some of the techniques they have found to be most effective.

Use the booklets as a marketing tool by purchasing them in bulk and/or have them personalized with your facility information included on the cover.

Please mention Communication Connection
when contacting IDEAS Institute for details at 440-256-1883



Visiting a loved one in a nursing home can mean a lot. How often have you heard a friend or family member express concern about going alone? When older adults have problems with hearing, vision, speech or memory, there may even be more of a reluctance to visit. Ideas Institute created this booklet and here are a few practical tips.


• Do not make the first visit very long and take someone with you.

• Plan a short visit for the first time, less than thirty minutes.

• Call ahead to find out when it would be best to visit.

• If the person has a hearing problem, turn off the TV or radio and close the door to the room.

• When a person is weak and not speaking, show you care by a gentle touch. In some cases, it may be
  helpful to bring along a photo album and share some stories.

• Conversation starters might include sharing stories about children in the family or neighborhood. Try
  talking about an accomplishment or some upcoming plans. Try and keep it more upbeat.

• For a quick visit, assist the person in phoning a friend or sending a card or note. Just stopping by to say
  hello is always appreciated.

• Sometimes a person is confused and has a memory loss. It is difficult when a loved one visits regularly.
  Writing your name on a desk calendar with the time you or others visit and something you did can be a
  helpful strategy, depending on the person’s level of functioning. Those who visit later will have something
  to refer to in their conversations.

• Talk to children or teens about what to expect.

• Watch young children and keep them out of others’ rooms.

• If children are sick or irritable, keep them at home.


One daughter visited her mother almost daily and she decided that she wanted to create a meaningful activity that they could look forward to doing together. She bought a bright bag to carry in some things her mother enjoyed depending on her mood or interests on a particular day. Her mom used to play solitaire so there was the deck of cards. Someone usually had a birthday or needed a get well wish so the bag contained a variety of cards in the bag for any occasion. Her mom loved chocolates so her daughter had some of her favorites packed for both of them. She also had a disposable camera so she could take pictures in case they did something special. Her daughter made sure the best pictures ended up in the album in her mom’s room for others to enjoy when visiting.

                                                               “Lost time is never found again.”
                                                                         Benjamin Franklin