‘Balloon badminton’ praised for engaging residents of all abilities

Resident-favourite activity at Frost Manor fills physical, social and emotional needs

Every time the balloon badminton program is running at Frost Manor, life enrichment co-ordinator Amy Whitehead keeps her office door open because she doesn’t want to miss the heaps of laughter flowing from the activity room.

Balloon badminton is a long-standing program at the Lindsay long-term care home, and it’s an activity that not only brings lots of laughter from residents, it’s also one that residents of all cognitive and physical abilities can enjoy.

Because residents of all abilities can succeed at balloon badminton, the program always has many residents eager to participate, Amy says.

The activity is simple: residents gather in a circle holding oversized racquets that are used to hit balloons and to keep them from touching the ground. A life enrichment aide will stand in the middle of the circle to help keep the balloon in motion.

Many times the residents will count to see how many times they can hit the balloon with their racquets before the balloon drops to the ground.

The activity helps residents maintain hand-eye co-ordination and reflexes. Since balloon badminton is played in groups it promotes social engagement, and the laughter that results meets emotional needs.

“I’m not really sure exactly what it is about this program the residents like so much, other than it is a lot of fun, but they just laugh and laugh and laugh,” Amy tells The OMNIway.

“It’s really nice when this program is going on; I keep my door open because I love to hear them laughing.”

Amy says balloon badminton is a program she would recommend to other long-term care homes looking to engage residents in an enjoyable activity, adding it’s also an affordable program to create.

“It doesn’t cost much and it works well,” she says. “It’s really simple but it’s a feel-good program where everyone leaves smiling and laughing.”

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