Bringing the loners out

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Bringing the loners out

Posted on September 14, 2009

We were demonstrating our product to residents of a nearby facility last week and they were very excited; but one of them just sat in her corner and didn’t seem to care much about what was going on.
After asking her what she thought about all this, she simply replied: “I am 94 years old, I have traveled everywhere I wanted to go, seen many many things and don’t really care for more anymore. I just like being in my room”
The activity director mentioned the fact that she was more of a “loner” type.
All communities have their queen bee, their active social clubs and their loners – one of the challenges of Activities in general.

An individual who has been a on the lonely side of things all their life might not have a desire to spend time socializing all of a sudden and may simply want to be left alone. Every person is unique and every situation is different.
The National Center for Health Statistics from 1997 show us that more than 50% of nursing home residents have no close relatives. The likelihood of severe isolation increases with age as the increased likelihood of living alone account for much of this increase.

But communities have a duty of providing personalized activities and life enrichment experiences to all residents and make sure that they are all getting some kind of stimulation.

The easiest way to provide this is to gather information from their move in questionnaires, other internal reports and their family. Then, the best way to reach them is through unscheduled and spontaneous activities where they won’t have the feeling of being “obliged” in any ways – this is was sometimes sparks some negative reactions. To go even further, personalized activities that can be enjoyed alone might be what works the best at first. Many examples can be found on

At the end of the day, one must realize that sometimes it is very hard to bring someone out – one must respect that some people want to remain that way. In some cases it might be just impossible are due to things like aphasia. Justin Zarb from the activity director blog recently put together a great piece together on this here.