Nursing Home Programs

Nursing Home Programs
By: Wendy Ray

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is tough, but a new study out of Saint Louis University's School of Medicine says special programs in the homes may help. The study found individualized activities and programs make patients feel more at home than group projects do. The Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau is one Heartland nursing home that makes sure there's always something going on for residents.

84-year-old IrmaDell Schlegel has been living in the Lutheran Home for almost three years. "I broke my hip, two of them, a year apart, that's why I'm still here," she says. Even though Schlegel's in a wheelchair, it doesn't mean she's not busy, activities at the home help pass the time. "Well there's so many of them, it really keeps you going if you try to do just part of them," Schlegel says.

Activities Director Traci Hamblin says, "To individualized activities to group activities. We have activities for lower functioning to higher functioning." The list of things do to stays full at the nursing home. Hamblin says it helps with the anxieties some residents may feel when they move into the home. "They have to leave everything familiar to them, so they're anxious, I'm sure a lot of them are fearful," she says.

On the second Tuesday of every month, Lutheran communion is offered to residents. Hamblin says they never push residents to do anything, they let them choose. A study out of Saint Louis University agrees. The study also suggests more isn't always better. Some residents may feel overwhelmed by certain activities a few times every week, one time a week is enough for them to feel fulfilled. Schlegel welcomes the company. "Anytime you can get more acquainted with people around you the better off you are," Schlegel says,

The study done by researchers at Saint Louis University is in the current issue of Geriatrics and Aging.