‘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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How ‘shooting hoops’ has become a favourite activity at Woodland Villa

A recently acquired Pop-A-Shot has been a safe and fun way to engage residents during the pandemic

A new basketball-themed activity at Woodland Villa is proving to be engaging for both residents and staff members at the Long Sault, Ont. long-term care home.

Woodland Villa recently acquired a Pop-A-Shot basketball game that has been getting lots of use since it arrived at the home two and a half months ago, says Lisa Doran, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

The Pop-A-Shot combines old-fashioned basketball with an arcade game.

The game features two side-by-side basketball hoops and a backboard that’s surrounded by netting for safety. Players toss basketballs towards the hoops, and an electronic scoreboard tallies the baskets scored.

The game is set up in the activity area. Lisa says residents will often go to the Pop-A-Shot, pick up a basketball and start playing.

Staff members, when they have some down time, are also taking residents over and shooting hoops with them.

“(The Pop-A-Shot) is going over very well – both the residents and the staff love it; you can hear people using it all the time,” Lisa tells The OMNIway.

“They have competitions with each other, and even the staff will have competitions with each other.”

With safety restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is no large-group programming in long-term care homes. Since the Pop-A-Shot basketball game is a two-player activity, it’s the perfect tool for engaging residents in something they enjoy while adhering to important safety protocols, Lisa says.

Asked if she would recommend the Pop-A-Shot to other long-term care homes, Lisa doesn’t hesitate in her response.

“Definitely, it’s been great,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Woodland Villa resident Denis Gauvin takes aim with a basketball at the home’s recently acquired Pop-A-Shot.