Some of the activities my patients have enjoyed over the years are non-gambling card games like UNO, do it yourself Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, and the like. The point is to get the folks socializing, and the brain cells perking, but without being too focused on "winning". If you have a musical bent, leading a singalong is fun, and gets people socializing. People also enjoy just discussing current events. For those patients who aren't as outgoing, but need some mental stimulation, I used to go to the dollar store and get cheap word search and puzzle books. A couple of years ago when I was a psych nurse in a jail, sudoku was kinda popular. One thing I've always liked about nursing is that whatever talent or interest you have, you can use it for the benefit of your patients. You'll also find that some of your patients will rise to the occasion to help others out. I just remembered one thing I did with female inmates who were longer term patients--we started a magazine/newsletter with poems, stories, and drawings. I was flabbergasted how eloquent some of the inmates were and they really came out of their shells. One warning--no deep meditation or hypnosis, because certain types of patients can't handle it. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.