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Patricia 11th Feb 2016

Posted on the Forum

I am wondering if anyone has some ideas relative to breaking the ice and getting to know
one's participants.I am beginning a job as an activities coordinator in a large day program
for the frail elderly in an urban area and want to start off on the right foot! Any words of
wisdom or suggestions would be most welcome.
Solange 20th Feb 2016
Hi Patricia, you are quite right in your concerns, Planning and Programming depends on how well you know your clients. It is very important to know clients past their conditions and charts; lack of knowledge hinders connection and bonding. I would start with an informal visit to their room. If possible talk to one of the client’s relative to find out some information not related to illness. If that is not possible an informal visit of half an hour or so to find out among other things:

  • What country or what part of town he/she comes from
  • How many children/grandchildren
  • What sporting team they support
  • What do they like (or don’t like) about the facility
  • What colours they prefer
  • What is his/her biggest concern at the moment
  • If there are photos in the room, enquire who they are of

To make it as normal as possible tell the client something about you; it will encourage he/she to talk and helps to build trust. Best wishes
Josephine 21st Feb 2016
Hi Patricia - are you able to host a High Tea with the purpose of Getting to Know You. You will find clients will be looking to get to know you as well - you can let people know some of the subject matter that Solange has highlighted - this will assist others to then talk about themselves - nothing like a good cuppa & cake to start the conversations flowing. I have done this with new Lifestyle assistants and this has worked quite well. See if you can get old tablecloths to put on the table too - get the whole atmosphere going. And if you have photos of your family / pets etc you can copy and hand around.
Patricia 21st Feb 2016
Thanks all!
I am already getting to know and love my participants after one week,
and I SO APPRECIATE these very helpful suggestions!
Thanks again.

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