Numerous activities can help boost cognitive function, a study found.

Residents who regularly participate in a variety of activities are more likely to thrive in a skilled nursing setting than residents whose activities are limited, a recent study shows.

A research team from the Umeå University in Sweden surveyed staff from 172 nursing homes that housed a total of more than 4,800 residents. 

The staff members rated residents’ cognitive and functional status, activity engagement and overall quality of life, or level of thriving.

The survey’s results showed that the most common activities among residents were physical touch, such as receiving hugs, talking with friends and family, receiving visitors and speaking with staff about things unrelated to their care. Among the least common activities: going to the movies, participating in educational programs, doing chores and eating out at restaurants.

The study showed a link between activity participation and success that remained when residents’ level of thriving was adjusted for gender, age and other health factors. Nearly 25% of variation in thriving among residents could be attributed to the opportunities they had to engage in activities such as hobbies, exercise, going outside or taking part in celebrations.

The study’s authors noted that their findings support previous research that documents the benefits of activities in skilled nursing facilities.