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Quality of Life

Resident Council

The Resident Council, a body elected by the residents of the New Hampshire Veterans Home from among the population, has been instrumental in advocating on behalf of residents and in pushing for meaningful changes affecting the overall quality of life at the Home.

The purpose of the New Hampshire Veterans Home Resident Council is:

  • To suggest improvements and help the administration provide better programs, surroundings, and services;
  • To give residents a greater participation in affairs within the facility;
  • To promote friendship and understanding among residents; and
  • To provide and receive necessary information for the benefit of all residents.

Resident Council meetings take place on the third Thursday of each month starting at 2:00 p.m. Although the officers plan an agenda, it is flexible and the residents are always invited to express their opinions on any subject. The officers of the Resident Council include President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Chaplain, and Sergeant at Arms. The Officers are nominated and elected by their peers for two-year terms. Resident Council Officers work with our Social Work staff to implement as many recommendations as possible.

Residents are also represented on various decision-making committees, including the Board of Managers, Safety Committee, Art Committee, and others.

Recreation Therapy Programs

Toss is right on target.
A toss that's right on target.

We have a very well-organized and staffed Recreation Therapy program founded on the belief that recreation therapy should be individualized to each person. We get to know our residents and try to learn what really interests them andhelp them use their leisure time in ways that enhance their health, independence, and well-being.

We offer many small and large group activities, scheduled throughout the day, in the evening, and on weekends. Residents have told us "if someone is bored here, it's their own fault because there is so much to do!"

Recreation Therapy Programs at NHVH

At NHVH we work diligently to create positive, meaningful programs for all of our residents-at every stage of life–whether they are ambulatory and cognitively aware or in the end stages of dementia. We know we can reach people where they are, and we make a difference in their quality of life. We don't always see a smile-maybe it's a connection that lasts just a split second, but it's there.

Compassionate Touch

Compassionate Touch is therapeutic one-on-one focused attention and comfort touch. It provides residents with comfort care to soothe physical discomfort, provide reassurance, and help relieve anxiety and depression. Compassionate Touch and regular one-on-one visits provide a means of establishing trust and connection and increases an overall sense of well-being.

Pain Management, Relaxation, and Stress Management

Through the use of music, the "Snoezelen" Projector, and Fiber Optic Light Sprays, individuals are offered a wealth of multi-sensory options providing tactile, auditory, and visual feedback. Clear images with low ambient light conditions project scenes that provide comfort and peace. Combined with aroma therapy (when appropriate) these will decrease anxiety and sedative dependence and teach relaxation techniques. Guided imagery is also provided to assist individuals in relaxation techniques to help cope with everyday challenges.

Pet and Equine Therapy

Volunteers bring in their therapy dogs to visit the veterans in both the recreation areas and their own rooms. The dogs stir amazing responses in the veterans when they receive the unconditional love and acceptance from these animals.

Minihorses come to visit residents.
Minihorses come to visit residents

The Recreation Therapy department offers Equine Therapy outings for residents to go into the community and visit with horses. During these outings residents may groom, pet, feed, and spend time with horses and a miniature pony, all taking place on wheelchair-accessible terrain.


We support individuals in their creative expression. We have a Writers Group that meets every week; an art studio group that meets regularly. We have helped individual residents learn digital photography and edit a book-length manuscript. We publish "Veterans' Voices", a magazine that features art, writing, and photography by residents. We have created two art galleries that feature the work of our residents.


Research has provided much evidence of the positive value of music in nursing home enviornments. Even in the most advanced stages of dementia, the parts of the brain that respond to music are the very last to go. At the New Hampshire Veterans Home we provide many regular opportunities for residents to enjoy all sorts of music. Professional entertainers play here regularly, and seasonal dances always bring out the best in both residents and staff, with many doing some dancing right in their wheelchairs.

Community Outings

Community outings are a key component of Recreation Therapy at the New Hampshire Veterans Home. The residents enjoy trips renging from a short jaunt down the road for shopping at Walmart, visits to local attractions and picnic areas, spending a day in a waterfront cottage at Weirs Beach, a Fisher Cats baseball game in Manchester or even the annual outing to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston.

We also provide special "in house" events: holiday season theme parties, intergenerational sing-a-longs and much more. Family involvement is encouraged.

Memory Lane

Recounting "days gone by" is another form of Recreation Therapy. Gatherings just to "shoot the breeze" are valuable tools for stimulating group discussion and creating a sense of community.


Fishing in the pond
Fishing in the pond

Fishing at the NHVH Pond

The NHVH pond is stocked with trout annually, and besides being a tranquil place to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon, it can often generate a lot of fun and excitement for our residents.

Table and Floor Games

Table and floor games increase and maintain physical wellness; they boost morale and enhance community spirit. The programs include volleyball, mini-golf and bowling, Twister (all available in adapted formats to better suit individuals in wheelchairs), "traditional horseshoes and more.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Regular exercise and physical activity can improve mood, combat stress, help manage weight, strengthen the heart and lungs, promote better sleep, improve circulation, and more. Tai Chi movement and stretching exercises are offered for residents several times each week and they can participate in other low impact, simple exercise programs. When the weather permits, residents who are able can take walks around the Home's sprawling hilltop campus.


Many of our residents were homeowners who had their own flower or vegetable gardens, so NHVH provices opportunities for gardening, planting crops in our wheelchair-accessible raised bed outdoor gardens, and harvesting the vegetables to bring to the table.

Sensory Stimulation

Sensory programming is especially important in the Life Enhancement Dementia Unit (LEDU).

When patients with severe or advanced dementia are not involved in an activity, they may sit around the periphery of a room staring into space. It's very difficult for them to initiate interaction. The goal of a sensory stimulation program is to promote interaction.

Using props, sensory stimulation improves functioning and "connectedness" with the world. That connectedness may be as simple as reaching for a cookie, leaning toward a person who is speaking, smiling, or making eye contact with another person. Occasionally we might see a more dramatic result, such as someone who has been mute beginning to speak in the group.

Our LEDU Recreation Therapy staff create multi-sensory theme presentations. One example might be train travel, which is very familiar to the veterans of World War II. A big photo of a steam locomotive or a caboose can be combined with a scale model of a train that people can touch, and then sound effects from a real train are added.


New Hampshire Veterans Home
139 Winter Street  |  Tilton, NH 03276-5415  |  
(p) 603-527-4400  |  (f) 603-286-4242